What TV’s on at the BFI in February 2020? Including The Faceless Ones and Flesh and Blood

The Faceless Ones

2020’s here, TMINE has just returned but the BFI is already thinking about February. Maybe it wants Valentine’s Day to come round quickly?

There’s not a huge amount on, mind, but there are some good talks at least:

  • A talk about Fellow Traveller
  • A talk about Of Mud & Flame: The Penda’s Fen Source Book
  • A talk about Playing Gay in the Golden Age of British TV
  • A preview of ITV’s Flesh and Blood + Q&A
  • Two discussions of Ready Steady Go!
  • A showing of the animated version of Doctor Who: The Faceless Ones + Q&A with Anneke Wills

All the deets after the jump.


Monday 3 February

11:00 NFT1

Seniors’ Free Talk: Fellow Traveller + intro
BBC 1990. Dir Phillip Saville. With Imogen Stubbs, Ron Silver, Hart Bochner. 97min.

Director Elia Kazan was one of those who ‘named names’ during the hearings of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1952. To tie in with our Kazan season, we screen this TV drama about the personal implications of the black list that was drawn up by the HUAC, and its detrimental effect on the careers of actors, writers and directors in the US and those exiled in the UK.

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

18:30 BFI Reuben Library

New Writings: Of Mud & Flame: The Penda’s Fen Source Book
TRT 80min

Editors Matthew Harle and James Machin join BFI curator William Fowler to talk about Of Mud & Flame (Strange Attractor, 2019), their new book on David Rudkin’s cult 1974 TV film Penda’s Fen. Harle and Machin will discuss the book’s conception during an academic conference, their discussions with Rudkin, and how they tracked down cast members and commissioned creative writing and essays from scholars, authors, and artists.

Tickets £6.50

Monday 17 February

18:30 BFI Reuben Library

New Writings: Playing Gay in the Golden Age of British TV
TRT 80min

In what promises to be an engaging and enlightening talk, Stephen Bourne will look at how gay men were portrayed in British TV drama and comedy from the 1930s to 80s. This is the subject of his latest book, which Russell T Davies describes as a ‘masterpiece’ in his foreword. Bourne’s talk will feature a wide range of gay men including Douglas Byng, Peter Wyngarde, Tony Warren and Drew Griffiths.

Tickets £6.50

Wednesday 19 February

18:15 NFT1

TV Preview: Flesh and Blood + Q&A with actors Imelda Staunton and Francesca Annis, director Louise Hooper, writer Sarah Williams and producers Kate Bartlett and Letitia Knight
ITV 2020. Dir Louise Hooper. With Imelda Staunton, Francesca Annis, Russell Tovey, Stephen Rea. Ep1 45min

Three adult siblings, Helen, Jake and Natalie, are thrown into disarray when their recently widowed mother Vivien declares she’s in love with a new man. Then there’s Mary, who has lived next door to Vivien for 40 years and has an unhealthily attachment to her family’s unfolding drama…

Flesh and Blood proves that we never really know what’s going on behind closed doors as years of secrets, rivalries and betrayals come to light. Join us for a preview of ITV’s major new family drama, and hear from the talents behind it.

Saturday 15 February

13:00 NFT1

Ready Steady Go! The Weekend Starts Here! Session 1 + discussion
TRT 100min

Ready Steady Go! was the essential pop show of the 1960s. It featured many of the top artists of the day and created a successful format for presenting modern music on TV. Sadly, as with much 1960s TV, much of the series hasn’t survived, but with a new documentary, a definitive book on the show and a few DVD releases, this is the perfect time to look back on one of the most exciting moments of British 60s TV. Join us for a screening of an episode as originally broadcast, followed by a panel discussion on the impact of the show and its legacy.

Joint ticket available with session 2: £18, concs £15 (Members pay £2 less)

15:10 NFT1

Ready Steady Go! The Weekend Starts Here! Session 2 + discussion
TRT 100min

Ready Steady Go! had a Friday-night slot (in most regions), which meant that its war cry of ‘the weekend starts here’ had particular relevance, and it was unmissable viewing for pop fans. Some of those fans, and a few who appeared on the show, will join us for this special event to share their memories, accompanied by a bespoke collection of clips of surviving material.

Saturday 29 February

12:00 NFT1

DVD Preview: Doctor Who: The Faceless Ones (animated) + Q&A with actor Anneke Wills
UK 1967. Dir Gerry Mill. With the voices of Patrick Troughton, Anneke Wills, Frazer Hines, Michael Craze. 6x 25min. Courtesy of BBC Studios

The Doctor and his companions land on a runway at Gatwick airport and find themselves under threat from aliens who need to take on human identities in order to survive. Although the majority of this story was believed to have been lost, by combining a complete audio recording and a new animation, it’s possible to invite you to sit back and watch The Faceless Ones over 50 years since it was first broadcast.

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

Doctor Who: The Faceless Ones will be released by BBC Studios on Blu-ray and DVD in early 2020

Booking times

Patrons and champions’ priority booking: Monday 6 January from 11.30am
Members’ priority booking opens: Tuesday 7 January from 11.30am
Public booking opens: Tuesday 14 January 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.


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.

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