What TV’s on at the BFI in September/October? Including The Bisexual, Butterfly and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

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

We’re now up to the traditional weird BFI-only month of September/October. This is usually a time when there’s not much on, usually due to one film season or another. However, there’s actually a bumper range of programming. The main highlight is a season of archive shows and plays written by women, including the likes of Fay Weldon, but there are previews as well of the forthcoming The Bisexual and Butterfly, a reshowing of Fable, and May’s postponed event timed to coincide with the launch of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Blu-Ray has finally got itself a new date.

All that after the jump.


Tuesday 4 September

18:15 NFT1
TV Preview: The Bisexual + Q&A with creator and star Desiree Akhavan, co-writer Cecilia Frugiuele, actors Maxine Peake and Brian Gleeson Hootenanny 2018. Dir Desiree Akhavan. With Desiree Akhavan, Maxine Peake, Brian Gleeson, Eva Birthistle. Eps 1 & 2 60min

Ahead of this autumn’s BFI blockbuster season celebrating Comedy Genius we’re delighted to present The Bisexual. Fresh from winning the Grand Jury prize at Sundance, Desiree Akhavan (The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Appropriate Behaviour) co-writes, directs and stars in this new six-part comedy drama for Channel 4 and Hulu.

BAFTA-nominated Maxine Peake and Brian Gleeson also star in this painfully funny series that explores the differences between dating men and women from the perspective of Leila – who finds herself, for the first time, doing both…

Friday 7 September

18:20 NFT2
Seven Faces of Woman: Choice + panel discussion
ITV 1974. Dir Christopher Hodson. With Diana Fairfax, Pinkie Johnstone, Gillian Bailey. 50min

When a married woman decides to leave her husband for a much younger man she incurs the wrath of her family. But is this her only chance of happiness? A beautifully acted, intelligent, adult drama from Andrea Newman, writer of A Bouquet of Barbed Wire, who joins our panel.

Please visit bfi.org.uk for updates on other panellists

Wednesday 12 September

18:20 NFT3
ITV Playhouse: A Splinter of Ice
1972. Dir Derek Bennett. With Judy Loe, Ian Hendry, Zena Walker, Annette Crosbie. 65min

A wonderful cast does justice to Fay Weldon’s absorbing story of infidelity leading to an unwanted pregnancy. Weldon was one of a handful of contemporary female writers who were as prolific as their male counterparts.

+ Then and Now: Over
BBC 1973. Dir Robert Knights. With Barbara Jefford. 30min

A one-woman tour de force from Barbara Jefford, who eloquently delivers Edna O’Brien’s hauntingly poetic prose in a piece that comes across like a dark and dreamy variation of Alan Bennet’s Talking Heads.

Saturday 22 September

12:00 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
Event rescheduled from May

16:00 NFT3
The Wednesday Play: Fable + intro by season programmer David Somerset
BBC 1965. Dir Christopher Morahan. With Thomas Baptiste, Eileen Atkins, Ronald Lacey, Rudolph Walker. 70min

In a resonant reversal of South Africa’s apartheid, writer John Hopkins created a fictional state in a fascist Britain where its leaders are black people, and white people are the underclass. Some of the UK’s finest black actors of the day were given a rare opportunity to appear together, in what was both an invigorating and occasionally traumatic drama. The programme’s original screening, scheduled for 20 January 1965, was postponed ‘to avoid accentuating the colour issue’ during local elections.

Monday 24 September

18:15 NFT3
TV Preview: Butterfly + Q&A with writer Tony Marchant, exec producer Nicola Shindler and actors Anna Friel and Emmett J Scanlan (work permitting)
ITV-Red Production Company 2018. Dir Anthony Byrne. With Anna Friel, Emmett J Scanlan, Callum Booth-Ford, Alison Steadman. Ep1 49min

From award-winning writer Tony Marchant, Butterfly is a heartfelt and sensitive drama about a complex family situation. When Max, their 11-year-old, experiences increasingly distressing feelings around gender, separated parents Vicky and Stephen attempt to work together. But with both parents divided, will Max find the courage to identify as a girl and express herself as Maxine? And will her family be able to accept her for who she really is?

Saturday 29 September

15:00 NFT3
Body Contact + extended intro by season programmer David Somerset plus guests
BBC 1987. Dir Bernard Rose. With Joely Richardson, Timothy Spall, Ricco Ross, Tony Hippolyte. 70min

This extravagant, all-star rock musical is set in a future North London where a taxi driver helps
a beautiful woman who’s on the run from her violent mafia boyfriend. A militant black community led
by Main Man (Hippolyte) rise to their defence, and civil war breaks out. It was withdrawn from its initial transmission date allegedly due to proximity to the Hungerford massacre, but perhaps it also touched deeper anxieties about a restless and divided inner city.

18:20 NFT2
Love Story + panel discussion with Andrea Newman

One of the many themed anthology series that dominated the schedules of its day, ATV’s Love Story (1963-74) had a higher than normal percentage of female writers (16%).

Third Party
ITV 1972. Dir Henri Safran. With John Neville, Angela Thorne. 50min

Bernice Rubens’ story asks if it’s the alternating game of official and secret love that makes Andrew sparkle…

+ Home for the Holidays
ITV 1973. Dir Henri Safran. With Denholm Elliot, Tracey Hyde. 50min

Andrea Newman writes of a relationship between a middle-aged man and a 13-year-old girl, which comes under scrutiny.

Monday 1 October

18:10 NFT2
The Tamer Tamed
BBC 1956. Dir Anthony Pelissier. With Judy Campbell, Robert Urquhart. 45min

Elaine Morgan’s imaginative sequel to The Taming of the Shrew.

+ Play for Today: Still Waters
BBC 1972. Dir James MacTaggart. With Margery Mason, Richard Pearson. 55min

Written by Julia Jones, this tells of how a row can sometimes clear the air.

+ Centre Play: A Kind of Marriage
BBC 1976. Dir Mary Ridge. With Jumoke Debayo, Victoria Clottery. 30min

This Nigeria-set story of a woman’s awakening is written by Buchi Emecheta.

Saturday 6 October

20:40 NFT2
Oranges & Lemons: Brenda
ITV 1973. Dir John Reardon. With Cheryl Hall, June Brown, Leslie Dwyer. 60min

Oranges & Lemons was a series of five plays set in London’s Docklands. In Brenda (the only entry written by a woman) Susan Pleat’s script focuses on a clash between a prodigal daughter and her resentful mother.

+ Rooms: Susan
ITV 1975. Dir John Nelson-Burton. With Jane Wymark, Sylvia Kay, Pauline Yates, Nigel Havers. 2x 25min

Rooms was an afternoon series of individual plays each focusing on a different occupant of the rooms in a lodging house. A third of the series was written by women. In Patricia Hooker’s deceptive, powerful play we meet Susan, a bedsit girl with a dark and damaging secret.

Monday 8 October

20:40 NFT2
Play for Today: The Other Woman
BBC 1976. Dir Michael Simpson. With Jane Lapotaire, Michael Gambon, Lynne Frederick. 71min

Kim (Lapotaire), an uncompromising artist unconcerned with the conventions of polite society, disrupts the lives of Robin (Gambon) and Nikki (Frederick). This controversial, radical drama, written by Watson Gould, was slammed by some for its sexual content, and by others for its lurid portrayal of lesbianism.

+ Late Night Theatre: Family Tree
ITV 1973. Dir Richard Bramall. With Sylvia Kay, Roy Marsden, Emily Richard. 25min

Pam is concerned when her husband’s ex-wife comes to visit. She seems to be both dangerous and romantic…
Is she a threat? Writer Jill Laurimore presents a different view of ‘the other woman.’


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.