What TV’s on at the BFI in July? Including This Way Up, The Orchid House and 90s TV

This Way Up

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

It’s a slightly eclectic and odd selection of TV shows at the BFI this July. How do they pick ’em? Well, there’s actually a session going behind the scenes at the BFI that explains their TV selections, so you best ask them then.

This month, though, the main feature is a nostalgic look at 90s TV. I say ‘TV’, but it’s mostly Screen One and Screen Two showings so borderline movies; however, there is a session dedicated to 90s kids TV shows, featuring some of the cast and creators, to look forward to.

On top of that, there’s a preview of Channel 4’s This Way Up, possibly including a Q&A with Aisling Bea and Sharon Horgan; and a day long showing of Channel 4’s adaptation of Phyllis Shand Allfrey’s The Orchid House.

Full details after the jump.


Wednesday 2 July

18:15 NFT1
TV Preview: This Way Up + Q&A with Aisling Bea and Sharon Horgan (work permitting)

Channel 4 2019. Dir Alex Winckler. With Aisling Bea, Sharon Horgan, Tobias Menzies, Indira Varma Aasif Mandvi. Eps 1 & 2, 54min

Comedian, writer and actor Aisling Bea pens and stars in This Way Up, a pin-sharp and poignant new six-part comedy series about the social, mental and personal obstacles that people face in their own pursuit of happiness. Bea plays Aine, a woman trying to pull her life back together after a ‘teeny little nervous breakdown’, as her fretful sister Shona (Catastrophe’s Sharon Horgan) worries not only about her sibling, but also about her own life choices. Join us for a preview of the first two episodes and hear from cast and crew.

Please check bfi.org.uk for guest updates

Monday 8 July

11:00-16:15 NFT3
Seniors’ Free Full-day Screening: The Orchid House
Channel Four 1991. Dir Horace Ové. With Madge Sinclair, Diana Quick, Lennie James, Leonie Forbes, Nigel Terry. 240min (plus intervals)

A magnificent four-part adaptation of Phyllis Shand Allfrey’s novel set in colonial Dominica. The tale is narrated by Lally who reflects on a life spent as a nurse caring for the mother and three young sisters of a household of a formerly wealthy colonial family, while their mother awaits the return of her husband from World War One.

Free for over-60s (booking by phone or in person only), otherwise normal matinee price

Tuesday 9 July

20:40 NFT3 (also Monday 29 July 18:10 NFT2)
Screen Two: My Sister-Wife
BBC 1992. Dir Lesley Manning. With Meera Syal, Shaheen Khan, Paul Bhattacharjee. 87min

Meera Syal was studying English and Drama at Manchester University when her stage play One of Us came to the attention of the BBC. Syal was commissioned to write her first TV script and delivered this tale about the competing affections of a Pakistani man’s two wives, which lead to a series of attempts by each to annihilate the other. The drama heralded the arrival of a major new talent with a distinctive and fresh Asian-British voice.

Monday 22 July

18:20 NFT3
Screen One: Meat
BBC 1994. Dir John Madden. With Johnny Lee Miller, John Simm, Sarah Jane Potts. 84min

When Play for Today ended in 1984, Screen One and Screen Two provided a new home for political and social dramas, now shot on film rather than taped in the studio. With Meat, Danny Boyle’s script takes a gritty look at love among the underclass. Myra is a teen prostitute and Charlie is a recently released young offender; together they begin an affair ‘amid the sleaze of London street-life’. And Myra’s jealous pimp is not amused.

+ Screen Two: Zinky Boys Go Underground
BBC 1994. Dir Paul Tickell. With Dmitri Shevchenko, Olga Rodina, Natasha Bain. 25min

This thriller provides a chilling insight into the damaged psyche of Russian soldiers returning home from Afghanistan. Andrei is the drug-crazed leader of the ‘Zinky Boys’, who make a living on the black market in the underground railway, where a serial killer is on the loose…

Thursday 25 July

18:20 NFT3
Behind the Scenes at the BFI
TRT 90min

This unique event brings together BFI curators, programmers and policy makers to give you a glimpse into how we work. This time we’ll look at the importance of TV within the BFI: how we put together our TV programme (including the recent BFI & Radio Times Television Festival); and how the BFI National Archive looks after – and digitally restores – vast quantities of old TV shows. It’s a chance to discover how the BFI, despite its name, ensures that TV is an essential part of its work.

Tickets: £6

Sunday 28 July

15:00 NFT1
90s Kids’ Shows
TRT 120min

Come and join us for a lavishly illustrated panel discussion with creators and casts of some of the best-remembered and most-loved children’s TV shows of the 1990s. In this nostalgic trip, we’ll feature clips from shows such as: Five Children and It, The Poddington Peas, Live & Kicking, Mike & Angelo, The Queen’s Nose, Julia Jekyll and Harriet Hyde, Maid Marian and her Merry Men, Bodger & Badger, The Really Wild Show, Press Gang, Dark Season and Zzzap!

Booking times

Patrons and champions’ priority booking: Monday 3 June from 11.30am
Members’ priority booking opens: Tuesday 4 June from 11.30am
Public booking opens: Tuesday 11 June from 11.30am


Members: £10.50
Member concs: £8.20
Non-members: £12.50
Non-member concs: £10.20
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.