What TV’s on at the BFI in May 2018? Including a Spike Milligan day, The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Clangers, Poldark and Joan Bakewell

The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Every month, TMINE lets you know what TV the BFI will be presenting at the South Bank in London

It’s slightly slim pickings in May for TV at the BFI, but I’ve combed through the programme and found a few delights. There’s a whole day dedicated to Spike Milligan, with three different sessions featuring both his films (short and long) and TV shows. The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has been up-rezzed for Blu-Ray and the first three enhanced episodes will be getting an airing, together with a Q&A with various people ‘associated with the show’. There’s also a couple of previews of the new series of Clangers and Poldark (yes, Aidan Turner will be there), and Joan Bakewell will also be talking about the May 1968 uprising in France. As you do.

Full details, including the new ticket prices, after the jump.


Wednesday 2 May

18:15 NFT3
TV Preview: Joan Bakewell on May 1968 + Q&A with Dame Joan Bakewell
BBC-Storyvault TV 2018. Produced by Anne Elletson. 60min

In 1968 Joan Bakewell was presenting the BBC’s Late Night Line-Up, interviewing some of the cultural figures at the forefront of major change, from Marcel Duchamp to Václav Havel. In this engaging film, Bakewell focuses on the protests in France that nearly toppled Charles de Gaulle’s government in a year that saw the younger generation challenge authoritarian ideas across the world.

20:15 NFT1
TV Preview: Poldark + Q&A with actor Aidan Turner, writer Debbie Horsfield and exec producer Karen Thrussell
Mammoth Screen-BBC 2018. Dir Joss Agnew. With Aidan Turner, Eleanor Tomlinson. Series 4, Ep 1 60min

Adapted by Debbie Horsfield from the novels by Winston Graham, the fourth series of Poldark stars Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark and Eleanor Tomlinson as his wife Demelza. It’s now 1796: Ross must defend Cornwall from an empowered George Warleggan (Jack Farthing), and risk everything he holds dear by embarking on a political journey that takes him to the nation’s capital. Join us to celebrate the return of this massively successful series.
Tickets limited to two per booker

Monday 7 May

12:00 NFT3
Let’s Go Crazy
UK 1951. Dir Alan Cullimore. 33min

This musical featurette combined variety acts with comedy sketches written on the spot by Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan, both on the cusp of fame. It’s rough and ready, but not without a certain low-budget, anarchic charm.

+ Show Called Fred
ITV 1956. Dir Richard Lester. With Peter Sellers, Graham Stark. 30min

Milligan’s groundbreaking, anarchic sketch show attempted to create a visual style to match the audio chaos of The Goon Show.

+ The Running, Jumping and Standing Still Film
UK 1960. Dir Richard Lester. With Peter Sellers. 12min

Shot using Peter Sellers’ own 16mm camera, this film was not intended as a commercial proposition, but following festival success in 1959 it was picked up for distribution by British Lion. It was even nominated for an Academy Award as best short live-action film.

+ Telegoons: The Hastings Flyer
BBC 1963. Dir Tony Young 15min

A puppet version of The Goon Show.

+ Extracts. 30min
15:00 NFT3
Postman’s Knock
UK 1962. Dir Robert Lynn. With Spike Milligan, Barbara Shelley, John Wood. 88min

Milligan is a country postman brought to the big city in this star vehicle written especially for him in an attempt to find a feature film subject worthy of his talents.

+ Spike Milligan: A Series of Unrelated Events at Current Market Value
BBC 1961. Dir GB Lupino. With Graham Stark. 30min

A rare early 1960s sketch show.

+ Milligan at Large
UK 1963. 20min

Milligan takes a typically idiosyncratic look at the business of pop.

18:00 NFT3
The Great McGonagall
UK 1975. Dir Joseph McGrath. With Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers, Julia Foster. 95min

Milligan (with support from Sellers as Queen Victoria) tells the story of Scotland’s legendary ‘bad’ poet William McGonagall.

+ Muses with Milligan
BBC 1965. Dir John Furness. 16min

The only surviving episode of Milligan’s series combining his three great loves – jazz, poetry and comedy.

+ Milligan in Spring BBC 1973. Dir Ian McNaughton. 30min

More jazz, poetry and comedy, this time on the seasonal theme of ‘Spring.’

Sunday 13 May

12:00 NFT1
Clangers + Q&A
UK 2018. Courtesy of CBeebies and Coolabi. TRT c.60min. Suitable for all ages

Mother, Major, Tiny, Small, Granny Clanger and their friends old and new will soon be appearing in a new season of Clangers on CBeebies, once again narrated by Michael Palin. We’re delighted to present a special preview of the BAFTA-winning pre-school show. There will be special guests and fun family activities, including the Clangers’ much-loved kindness tree, on which children can make their very own kindness wish.

Wednesday 23 May

18:20 NFT1
DVD Launch: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy + Q&A
BBC 1981. Dir Alan JW Bell. With Simon Jones, David Dixon, Sandra Dickinson. TRT c.130min

Arthur Dent and his alien associate Ford Prefect escape the destruction of earth by travelling in space. This classic TV show based on the hugely entertaining work by Douglas Adams has been digitally restored and upscaled for HD and we’ll be screening the first three episodes alongside an opportunity to meet some of the people associated with the show. BBC Worldwide will be releasing the classic TV show on DVD and Blu-ray.
All tickets are £28.50 (Members pay £2 less, no concs). This price includes a copy of the Blu-ray, which will available to collect after the screening. Please note that other formats are not available with this offer. Visit bfi.org.uk for updates on special guests

Booking times

Patrons and champions’ priority booking: April 2 from 11.30am
Members’ priority booking opens: April 3 from 11.30am
Public booking opens: April 10 from 11.30am


Members: £9.50
Member concs: £7.20
Non-members: £11.50
Non-member concs: £9.20
Under 16s: £6

Reduced prices for weekday matinees. Concessionary prices are available to senior citizens, students, unwaged and disability visitors. Proof of eligibility may be required.

As always, visit the BFI web site for more details.