Summer of British Film on BBC Two

From Gandhi, Four Weddings And A Funeral, to Brief Encounter and Bend It Like Beckham, Britain has been a major player in world cinema for over 100 years and continues to produce award-winning talent.

The Summer Of British Film on BBC Two is a season dedicated to home grown cinema, encompassing all genres from thriller and comedy to the kitchen sink drama.

This unique television event celebrates the rich heritage of British film and has at its centrepiece British Film Forever a seven-part primetime series for BBC Two.

Jessica Hynes (Shaun Of The Dead) guides us through the series examining British film by genre, with highlights from over 200 exclusive interviews from leading actors and directors including Sir Michael Caine, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Kate Winslet, Ewan McGregor, Gurinder Chadha and Richard Curtis.

The series is being made with the support of the British Film Institute and the UK Film Council.

As well as being an enjoyable romp through the greatest films and stars, the series looks at what makes British films unique and what they reveal about British culture.

To complement British Film Forever, BBC Two is dedicating itself to the nation’s finest by screening around 70 British films.

From the premiere of A Cock And Bull Story, through to favourites like Billy Elliot, Gregory’s Girl and From Russia With Love, to classics and rediscoveries, from The 39 Steps, This Sporting Life, Whistle Down The Wind and Witchfinder General.

To celebrate the season, the UK Film Council, in partnership with the BBC, is backing the release of seven of Britain’s greatest films which will play cinemas across the UK on Tuesday’s from 31 July to 11 September.

Playing 136 screens across the UK Film Council’s Lottery funded Digital Screen Network, the season kicks off with the 007 classic Goldfinger on 31 July, followed by David Lean’s Brief Encounter (7 August), John Schlesinger’s Billy Liar (14 August), Laurence Olivier’s Henry V (21 August), Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Man (28 August), Michael Anderson’s The Dam Busters (4 September) and Bruce Robinson’s Withnail And I (11 September).

Bringing a massive increase in film choice for cinema-goers, the Digital Screen Network is a world first initiative created and funded by the UK Film Council.

Arena celebrates the season with a special programme examining the largely forgotten, edgy side of British cinema in the Forties and Fifties.

Dark melodramas, crime films and horror shockers of these years, almost all of which were derided by contemporary critics, reveal a flamboyant, sometimes spectacular, poetic, perverse, and surprisingly sexy cinema.

This is also a cinema of great feeling and emotional complexity, dealing with the difficulties and occasional traumas of women and men as they come to terms with the post-war world.

And it is a cinema that is centrally and compellingly about Britain and the British, about our ideas of whom we were and who we are.

Among the key films featured are the mystical wartime story A Canterbury Tale (1944), the noir classic They Made Me A Fugitive (1947), the bizarre melodrama Madonna Of The Seven Moons (1944), the taut kidnap drama Obsession (1948) and the gritty, edgy Hell Drivers (1957).

People also have the chance to celebrate British cinema by creating their own versions of classic films. Users can submit their films through the BBC Mini Movies group www.youtube.com/group/bbcminimovies with favourites being showcased on the BBC’s website bbc.co.uk/britishfilm.

Other users can rate and comment on the films, and pick up tips on creating their own mini movies, the best of which will feature on BBC Two during the season.

From mid-July the website will also feature exclusive video clips from British Film Forever, background information about the films within the season and comprehensive listings for films shown on TV and in cinemas across the UK.

CBBC began celebrating earlier this summer with CBBC me and my movie, a new children’s film-making project with free online resources and summer events taking place across the country.

Children can enter their home-made films into a special CBBC me and my movie award, in association with BAFTA where short-listed nominees will be invited to attend the prestigious Children’s BAFTA Awards ceremony on 25 November.

Children’s films are available to view online in the CBBC me and my movie gallery.

The Summer Of British Film also includes special editions of The Culture Show, The Money Programme and The Proms – which pays tribute to classic British Film with the themes from The Red Shoes, Laurence Of Arabia and Harry Potter among many others, and is hosted by special guest presenter Richard E Grant, with guest star Lord Richard Attenborough.

About the author

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Three
  • ITV1
  • ITV2
  • 4
  • E4
  • Film4
  • More4
  • Five
  • Fiver
  • Sky1