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TV at the BFI in July

Time for our monthly round-up of forthcoming TV at the BFI. The big, if you can call it that, season is a retrospective of David Rose’s work. Rose was a drama-director producer at the Beeb, responsible for Z Cars amongst other things; he also helped to found Film Four.

  • 5 July, 2pm: Licking Hitler + Match of The Day – two episode of Play for Today, one directed by David Hale about WW2 propaganda, the other directed by Stephen Frears looking at a family wedding.
  • 5 July, 4.15pm: David Rose – My Journey Together. David Rose talks about some key productions.

The other TV event, other than a Dennis Potter play, Angels Are So Few (sort of the flipside of Brimstone and Treacle), being added to the Mediatheque, is a conversation with Hazel Adair, who created Britain’s first ever soap, Sixpenny Corner, as well as Compact and Crossroads.

  • 11 July, 6.10pm: A screening of an episode of Compact followed by an interview with Hazel Adair.

Not much this month, but if you’re a big TV history buff, I’m sure you’ll be dropping by.

Members’ priority postal booking opens 26 May
Members’ online and phone booking opens 2 June
Public booking opens 6 June

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June at the BFI

It’s monthly round-up time for tele at the BFI. Here are the highlights of June’s schedule. Members’ postal booking starts 28 April; members’ online and phone booking opens 5 May; public booking opens 9 May.

Tony Hancock season: The Rebel (1st/4th), The Punch and Judy Man (23rd/30th), The Tony Hancock Show (2nd/28th), three episodes of Hancock’s Half Hour (13th), The Government Inspector + Face to Face (14th/26th), three episodes of Hancock, including The Blood Donor and The Radio Ham (18th)

13th: David Simon in conversation. Includes the first episode of The Wire, season five. 

17th: Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais in conversation. Preceded by episodes of Porridge, Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.

25th: Michael Palin and Terry Jones introduce three recently recovered episodes of The Complete and Utter History of Britain 

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BFI weirdness – Robin Redbreast and Murrain

As usual, it’s time for our monthly (assuming there’s anything on) look at what’s coming up at the BFI that’s TV-related – you might as well join if you want to know all the film stuff, too.

The principal season this month is devoted to the weird world of NF Simpson. Never heard of him, but there’s three plays on the 14th, A Resounding Tinkle on the 9th and 20th and an episode of Crown Court on 28 May, so you can get fully acquainted with him if you want.

However, on the 2nd May, there’s something a tad more promising as far as I’m concerned: Robin Redbreast, which was a Play for Today in which a divorcee retreats to a remote house in the country and finds herself in The Wicker Man territory; but better still is Murrain, by Nigel Kneale of Quatermass fame (how have I never heard of this?):

When a mysterious virus plagues local pigs and a family goes sick, panicking farmers blame a frail old woman – the ‘witch’ who lives up the lane. An idealistic young doctor tries to dispel the rumours.

That’s me convinced. As always, you can can start booking online and at the box office if you’re a member from 7 April, while everyone else can book in person, by telephone and online from 11 April.

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GF Newman’s Law and Order at the BFI

Just been looking through my BFI catalogue for April. There’s the usual dearth of decent TV stuff, but on April 12th, they’re showing four episodes of GF Newman’s classic Law and Order from 1978.

Not to be confused with the long-running US show from Dick Wolf, Law and Order was the first British drama series to take a serious look at our legal system, police brutality and corruption. Newman, of course, was the guy who turned up at the Z-Cars writers’ meeting, suggested that one of the detectives should take a bribe and was told that “maybe he was on the wrong show”.

The BFI is screening all four episodes of the show, each of which looked at a different aspect of the legal system (The Detective’s Tale, The Villain’s Tale, The Brief’s Tale, The Prisoner’s Tale), starting at 2pm, with an introduction by GF Newman himself.

But there’s also good news: the show’s about to be released on DVD, and there’s a follow-up series on the way. I hasten you all to watch it if you can. Good luck finding the DVD on Amazon when it’s released – it’s going to be somewhat swamped by the US shows, by the looks of it….