BFI events

The BFI and Radio Times TV festival is back in May

And here’s the press release.

The press release

The BFI & RADIO TIMES TELEVISION FESTIVAL, the biggest, most exciting public television festival in the UK, featuring the very best TV shows and a star-studded line up, is returning to BFI Southbank and BFI IMAX from Friday 20 May to Sunday 22 May 2022

Over the course of three jam-packed days, the BFI & RADIO TIMES TELEVISION FESTIVAL will preview some of the most hotly anticipated shows of the year, including the BBC’s new adaptation of Sally Rooney’s award-winning novel CONVERSATION WITH FRIENDS and the first chance for members of the public, worldwide, to see Sir David Attenborough’s groundbreaking series for AppleTV+ PREHISTORIC PLANET. Executive produced by actor and filmmaker Jon Favreau and legendary natural history producer Mike Gunton, PREHISTORIC PLANET uses cutting-edge science, world class natural history filming and the very latest CGI to transport audience back 66 million years to the last great dinosaur era. 

The Festival will also reunite the cast and crew from some of the biggest dramas of the last year; including Russell T Davies’ masterly IT’S A SIN, which has just picked up an extraordinary 11 BAFTA nominations, Channel 5’s charming new take the classic on ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL, the BBC’s epic adaptation of Philip Pullman’s HIS DARK MATERIALS, starring Ruth Wilson, and the beloved long-running BBC One drama series CALL THE MIDWIFE

There will be sessions dedicated to some of the best comedy series of the past year, including Stephen Merchant introducing a preview screening from the second series of his BBC hit comedy thriller THE OUTLAWS, which is returning soon, Matt Berry and Arthur Mathews will discuss their hilarious comic creation Stephen Toast, who recently returned to screens in TOAST OF TINSELTOWN, and Rose Matafeo will appear to talk about her pitch-perfect millennial romcom STARSTRUCK, which just aired its second season. 

Family favourite MALORY TOWERS, returning for a third season this year, will also be previewed, while the Festival’s much-loved sessions that draw on rarely-seen material from the BFI National Archive, this year celebrates a bona-fide musical superstar, with PRINCE: PURPLE PASSION AND POMP

In addition to the stars appearing live on stage to talk about their hit shows, there will be directors, producers and writers giving audiences the inside track and an exclusive look behind the scenes of some of televisions biggest shows. Names to look out for include: 

  • IT’S A SIN – writer and executive producer Russell T Davies, executive producer Nicola Shindler, actors Omari Douglas and Callum Scott Howells
  • CONVERSATIONS WITH FRIENDS – actors Alison Oliver and Joe Alwyn, director Lenny Abrahamson, executive producer Emma Norton and series producer Catherine Magee
  • STARSTRUCK – creator and star Rose Matafeo, actor Emma Sidi and writer and actor Nic Sampson
  • CALL THE MIDWIFE – creator and writer Heidi Thomas, executive producer Pippa Harris and key cast members (TBC)
  • THE OUTLAWS – creator and star Stephen Merchant, co-stars Eleanor Tomlinson (TBC), Gamba ColeClare PerkinsDarren Boyd and Jessica Gunning
  • TOAST OF TINSELTOWN – writer and star Matt Berry, writer Arthur Mathews, director Michael Cumming, actors Doon Mackichan and Harry Peacock
  • ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL – actors Nicholas RalphCallum WoodhouseRachelShenton and Anna Madeley, executive producer Melissa Gallant
  • MALORY TOWERS – actors Ella BrightDanya GriverSienna Arif-Knights and Beth Bradfield

More than 20 sessions will take place throughout the weekend, with around half of them being announced today, and the remaining events announced on 26 April. Co-programmed by the BFI and Radio Times, the festival draws on the expertise of both organisations, for a broad range of audiences from telly addicts and boxset-bingeing aficionados, to those who love to discover archive gems and people who love nothing more than coming together to watch the latest prime-time entertainment. 

US TV

What have you been watching? Including Boba Fett and Cobra Kai

It’s “What have you been watching?”, your chance to recommend to fellow TMINE readers anything you’ve been watching this week

I’ve not actually been watching much TV this week, I’m afraid. New shows have arrived but, honestly, I didn’t fancy them. Apart from maybe Pivoting (US: Fox), but that was only on last night, so I’ve not had time to watch it.

I did watch the latest episodes of The Book of Bobba Fett and Cobra Kai. The former (episode two) shows us there’s going to be a dual narrative in these episodes, with us seeing how Boba Fett got to be bad ass on Tatooine, learning to do his thing and respect the ways of the Tuskan raiders (yes, I’ve probably spelt half of those words wrongly. Sorry Star Wars fans), in the past while the present day narrative sees him trying to establish his new criminal empire and take over from Jabba the Hut as the new ‘daimyo’. It was fine. Quite fun to watch, but nothing too special, mainly because two stories seem to have only half the impact.

Meanwhile, it was more of the same in Cobra Kai as we’re only up to about episode six or seven. Lovely Wife isn’t enjoying this season at all, after loving the previous seasons, so has told me I can watch the rest of it by myself ‘if I want’. But I don’t really want, so I might hold off until she’s ready. I see her point: there’s a lot more nastiness and bullying in this season compared to the previous seasons, which makes it a bit less fun to watch. But we’ll see.

That’s it, though. So here’s what I could have watched if I’d wanted to and why I didn’t bother.

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Boba Fett and Cobra Kai”
International TV

What have you been watching? Including Squid Game, Cobra Kai, Hawkeye, The Mezzotint and The Book of Boba Fett

It’s “What have you been watching?”, your chance to recommend to fellow TMINE readers anything you’ve been watching this week

Hello, everyone, and welcome to 2022 – 2021 again but done right, we can all hope. How was your Christmas break? Hope you managed to get one and didn’t get the dreaded lurgy (or one of the other minor lurgies that were doing the rounds).

You’ll be glad to hear – since you’re here – that TMINE actually had the chance to watch some new TV shows over Christmas. Some of them were even good.

There was only one regular still on the TMINE viewing list: Hawkeye (Disney+). The final episode of that was fun, but somewhat lightweight. Its highlight was a tear-jerking confrontation between (spoiler alert) Yelena Belova (Black Widow’s grieving sister) and Hawkeye. However, the script didn’t exactly let both barrels blast on that, and it didn’t feel like we were getting Jeremy Renner, the Oscar-nominated actor, so much as Jeremy Renner, the bit-part player from an episode of Angel, so the emotion largely came from (spoiler alert) Florence Pugh and all the good work that other entries in the MCU had already done.

What also should have been a highlight of the episode – the return of (spoiler alert) Vincent D’Onofrio reprising his Netflix Defenders role of Wilson Fisk – largely got ruined through poor characterisation, right down to that atrocious shirt. I’m wondering if he’s a parallel universe version, rather than the one we’ve seen elsewhere. But maybe it’s down to a problem that’s intrinsic to both comic book crossovers and the MCU that stems from one of their supposed strengths: the ability to have different tones and genres in different shows and movies. If you stick something from a grittier genre into something more comedic and family oriented, something’s got to change, and more often than not, it’s the grittier thing. That can work, but here, it largely undid more or less all the good work that Daredevil et al in terms of characterisation and plausibility – despite some excellent acting from the star in question.

Overall, though, while not ultimately as good on average as WandaVision, it had almost as many highs, was more consistent and more fun, and was still a lovely Christmas treat for us all to unwrap. Plus it did give us this brilliant double-act.

After the jump, though, let’s talk about those new shows. Squid Game (Netflix) technically isn’t a new show, since it’s been around for a while – to the extent that we actually tried it a few weeks ago but gave up. However, we felt we should give it a second chance, given how popular it is, and we made it all the way through to the end.

Properly new were BBC Four’s latest Ghost Story for Christmas, The Mezzotint, and Disney+’s latest entry in the Star Wars firmament, The Book of Boba Fett. And although we’ve only got halfway through it, let’s talk a bit about season four of Cobra Kai (Netflix) as well. See you in a mo!

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Squid Game, Cobra Kai, Hawkeye, The Mezzotint and The Book of Boba Fett”
Ultraviolet
US TV

Things you definitely should never watch: the US version of Ultraviolet

The Channel 4 show Ultraviolet is a classic TV show. A slightly forgotten classic that’s now a horrifying 23 years old, but a classic. As I’ve explained elsewhere.

Minute for minute (sorry, Buffy, you had some wonderful episodes, but you had a lot – perhaps even whole seasons – that definitely weren’t wonderful), I doubt there’s ever been a better modern horror show (or at least modern vampire show) than Ultraviolet.

You can take my word for that, or you can just go and watch it on All 4.

What you absolutely should not do is watch the US pilot episode. It might have Idris Elba reprising his role from the UK show and Mädchen Amick from Twin Peaks et al. But that’s never going to be enough to make it any good.

See?

1000 Years A Slave
Streaming TV

What have you been watching? Including 1,000 Years a Slave

It’s “What have you been watching?”, your chance to recommend to fellow TMINE readers anything you’ve been watching this week

This week’s WHYBW is mostly going to be about what you’ve been watching, since I’ve not been able to watch that much. I’ve tried to watch a lot.

I started watching the new season of Narcos: Mexico. However, my appetite for joyless violence and misery has all but gone, thanks to lockdowns, and it was pretty clear that without the benefit of proper real-world history and engrossing performances, the show’s dedication to Spanish-language violence and unpleasantness wasn’t going to be anywhere near enough to make me want to watch umpteen episodes.

The drug trade is nasty. There’s a historical reason for it being that way. I’ve followed about as much of that history as I need to.

Narcos: Mexico isn’t the only returning show. Dexter is back for a reason I can’t even begin to fathom, other than “cash”. Dexter: New Blood is on Sky Atlantic, but I never even made it to the end of Dexter, it had plummeted off the stupid cliff so many seasons previously, so I’m not going to tune in again to watch as it hits the ground at the bottom nearly a decade later.

Okay, so the trailer isn’t that bad and I do like the idea of Jennifer Carpenter being the new voice of his ‘conscience’. But I don’t want to see Dexter meeting his grown-up son. Wouldn’t he be 10 or something anyway?

In fact the only new show I did watch was the thoroughly depressing but hugely important and impressive 1,000 Years A Slave on Channel 5. It’s not TMINE fare, being a documentary, but if you ever want to astonish yourself about how little you know about the slave trade and just how astonishingly evil it was – obviously it was evil, it was the slave trade, but however bad you think it was, multiply that by a factor of at least 1,000 – watch this.

Perhaps the most pointed part of it is that it feels like one aspect of it is deliberately a flipside of the BBC’s happy white Who Do You Think You Are?, mirroring its style in pretty much every regard. We get to see a whole bunch of Britain’s finest and best Black actors (David Harewood, Hugh Quarshie, et al) getting to retrace their ancestors’ footsteps, all the way back to Africa or the Caribbean… where they were murdered, abducted, etc, as slaves. Of course, we all remember what happened with Ben Affleck’s episode in the US, so who knows if that’s also being subtly referenced.

Just amazing and utterly devastating.

Here’s episode 1. Wisely, the comments have been switched off on it on YouTube

The regulars

Locke & Key – season two (Netflix)

I managed to watch three more episodes of Locke and Key before I gave up. It just got too much about who’s dating who and who’s annoyed at who’s dating who, while simultaneously being about melting people and having them attacked by giant spiders. There’s also far more than is tolerable throughout these episodes about a student horror movie, which even gets a full cinematic screening.

Maybe I’m just too old for a show that did at least have some adult interest in previous seasons. There’s still a little here – I’m enjoying Aaron (not Shawn) Ashmore’s character a lot, although I’m also horrified to discover that Jimmy Olsen from Smallville is now 42, as well as the intrigue among the adults. But too much of it is subordinate to the children’s storyline and I don’t care about the annoying brats. There’s also almost zero of female Dodge, who – let’s face it – was the main interesting thing about season 1.

I might pick it back up again, given how little TV there suddenly is again, but it doesn’t feel like I want to at the moment.

But what have you been watching?