What TV’s on at the BFI in October/November 2019

Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones

We’re at that slightly odd time of the year when the BFI decides to have a major film festival or something, so there’s not enough happening for a regular programme for two months.

Yes, it’s October/November 2019, folks.

That means there’s pretty slim pickings TV-wise for the next month or two, but what there is is pretty good:

  • A preview of the forthcoming His Dark Materials at the BFI IMAX, with intro by Dafne Keen and Ruth Wilson
  • A preview of the forthcoming War of the Worlds (with unnamed special guests)
  • A complete screening of Rock Follies, complete with Q&A with Rula Lenska, Charlotte Cornwell, Howard Schuman and Andy Mackay
  • A free celebration of Game of Thrones (with unnamed special guests)
  • A showing of a restored and extended version of Doctor Who story The Curse of Fenric, with Q&A with Sophie Aldred and Andrew Cartmell
  • A talk on the rebirth of the TV musical, including a screening of Our Gay Wedding: The Musical

That’s not bad, is it?

Full details after the jump.


Tuesday 15 October

18:15 BFI IMAX

TV Preview: His Dark Materials + intro by actors Dafne Keen and Ruth Wilson (more tba)
BBC-Bad Wolf-New Line Cinema-HBO-2019. Dirs Tom Hooper, Otto Bathurst, Jamie Childs, Dawn Shadforth, Euros Lyn. With Dafne Keen, James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson, Lin-Manuel Miranda. 60min

The His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman has been published in more than 40 languages and sold close to 18 million copies worldwide – its mix of magic and theology proving a hit with both children and adults. For one of the year’s most anticipated television events, an extraordinary cast and creative team has been assembled to bring Pullman’s compelling parallel world to life. Be sure to join us for a preview of this remarkable fantasy adventure.

For final guest confirmations check bfi.org.uk
Tickets £15, concs £12 (Members pay £2 less)

Sunday 27 October

12:00 NFT3

Rock Follies (Complete Screening) + Q&A with actors Rula Lenska and Charlotte Cornwell, writer Howard Schuman and composer Andy Mackay
UK 1976. Dirs Jon Scoffield, Brian Farnham. With Julie Covington, Rula Lenska, Charlotte Cornwell, Emlyn Price, Billy Murray. 6 x 52min (+ discussion and intervals)

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see what many regard as the most groundbreaking made-for-TV musical alongside a reunion of some of the original creative team and cast. ‘Energy, power, bread and liberation’ – this was the promise made to all-female rock band The Little Ladies, who experience highs and lows as the ruthlessness of the music industry threatens their dreams.

The musical numbers take us into the heart of the group and, like all great musicals, highlight the bitter disconnect between fantasy and reality. This is where glam rock meets feminism, and with huge contemporary resonance for the #MeToo movement, Rock Follies’ power remains undimmed. MP

Tickets £18, concs £15 (Members pay £2 less)
For full schedule of screenings and discussion please visit bfi.org.uk

Tuesday 5 November

18:15 NFT1

TV Preview: The War of the Worlds + Q&A
Mammoth Screen-BBC One 2019. Dir Craig Viveiros. With Eleanor Tomlinson, Rafe Spall, Robert Carlyle, Rupert Graves. Ep1 60min

This thrilling three-part series, written by Peter Harness (Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Doctor Who), offers a series of firsts: this is the first British television adaptation of HG Wells’ classic novel, and the first version to be set in London and the home counties during the Edwardian period. The War of the Worlds follows George (Spall) and his partner Amy (Tomlinson) as they attempt to defy society and start a life together. When they are caught up in the escalating terror of an alien invasion, they have to fight for their lives against an enemy beyond their comprehension…

See bfi.org.uk for updates on special guests

Monday 18 November

18:15 NFT1

Game of Thrones: A Celebration
TRT 95min

To celebrate the final season of Game of Thrones earlier this year, HBO is partnering with the BFI to showcase a global retrospective of one of the biggest shows on the planet. The evening will consist of never-before-seen special features and an in-depth panel discussion with both on and off-screen talent.

Tickets are free from the BFI box office on the day of the event, but you can make a voluntary donation of £12.50 (no concs, Members pay £2 less) to assist with covering costs and to reserve your seat in advance

Check bfi.org.uk for guest confirmations

Game of Thrones: The Complete Collection will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on Mon 2 Dec

Saturday 23 November

12:00 NFT1

Doctor Who: The Curse of Fenric (Special Edition) + Q&A with actor Sophie Aldred and script editor Andrew Cartmel
UK 1989. Dir Nicholas Mallett. With Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred, Dinsdale Landen. 104min. PG. Courtesy of BBC Studios

When the Doctor and Ace arrive at a secret military base during WWII, they discover that a centuries-old Viking curse is bringing terror to its inhabitants. As hideous vampires rise and Russian commandoes begin to close in, they are confronted not only with a mystery from the distant past, but also a terrifying vision of mankind’s future… This restored and extended version of the seventh Doctor’s penultimate story is presented as a feature-length story.

Tickets £15, concs £12 (Members pay £2 less)

Doctor Who: The Collection – Season 26 is released on Blu-ray later this year

Tuesday 26 November

18:15 NFT3

The Rebirth of the TV Musical + Q&A with actors Benjamin Till and Julian Ovenden, composer Nathan Taylor and director Coky Giedroyc (work permitting)
90min (+ brief interval before screening)

Glee, Galavant and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – these are just some of the inventive US TV series to use the musical form. Meanwhile, the musical live TV ‘event’ has seen some nine live specifically made-for-TV musicals in the US, and our own flawlessly produced The Sound of Music Live (ITV 2015). TV has breathed new life in to the musical form and reinvented it for the digital generation – as discussed by our star-studded panel and richly illustrated by clips.

+ Our Gay Wedding: The Musical
Ch4 2014. Dirs Tim van Someren, Ellen Hobson, Louise Hooper, Claire Lewis. With Stephen Fry, Benjamin Till, Nathan Taylor, Alan Cumming, Boy George. 47min

The discussion will be followed by a complete screening of the Prix Italia and Rose d’Or-winning musical event of 2014, the incredibly moving and prescient Our Gay Wedding: the Musical, transmitted to celebrate the legalisation of gay marriage

Booking times

Patrons and champions’ priority booking: Monday 16 September from 11.30am
Members’ priority booking opens: Tuesday 17 September from 11.30am
Public booking opens: Tuesday 24 September 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.