BBC Films launch weekend announced for BBC Two

A special weekend starting on Saturday 17 July will see BBC Two broadcast the UK TV premieres of The Damned United, Eastern Promises and Is Anybody There? This marks the official launch of BBC Two as the new principal home for BBC Films, the award-winning feature filmmaking arm of the BBC.

The Damned United tells the story of Brian Clough’s legendary stint as manager of Leeds United, starring Michael Sheen as the eponymous Clough, Timothy Spall as Peter Taylor, and Colm Meaney as arch-rival, Don Revie.

Is Anybody There? is Michael Caine’s moving portrayal of retired magician Clarence in a bitter-sweet tale of an unusual friendship.

Finally David Cronenburg’s highly acclaimed thriller Eastern Promises is a tale from the dark underworld of London’s Russian mafia, starring Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts.

Also accompanying The Damned United is the frank documentary Brian Clough: From Front to Back.

This Autumn, as part of an education moment on BBC Two, BBC Films will showcase Notes On A Scandal starring Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett, and Alan Bennett’s critically acclaimed The History Boys.

Earlier this year, as part of the BBC’s Strategy Review, it was announced that BBC Two would become the principal home for BBC Films. This is part of a drive to bring more quality drama to the channel, with the BBC Strategy Review proposing a £25m investment in BBC Two from 2012 to boost the channel’s distinctiveness.

Janice Hadlow, Controller, BBC Two, said: “BBC Two is committed to showing more quality fiction on the channel, and we’re delighted that BBC Films will be part of this. It’s wonderful that licence fee payers will be able to see these films for free following their theatrical releases.”

Christine Langan, Creative Director, BBC Films, said: “Establishing a permanent home for BBC Films on BBC Two will enable us to create exciting film moments for our audiences throughout the year, reinforcing our commitment to bring original and distinctive British films to the British public.”

BBC Films produces around eight films a year working in partnership with major international and UK distributors.

Today also sees the launch of the BBC Films Showreel on bbc.co.uk/bbcfilms, presenting a selection of highlights from recent and forthcoming films.

The films premiering on BBC Two on July 17/18 are as follows:

The Damned United

Taking over from his hated rival, Don Revie, Clough is determined to destroy the soul of his new club. Revie’s Leeds were peerless, cynical, inspired. No one loathed them more than Clough. The feeling was mutual. Clough is alone, haunted and sleepless throughout his brief and painful stint as manager of Leeds United. The compulsive, flawed and tragic figure he cuts takes on Shakespearian dimensions and presents us with a football manager’s guide to heaven and hell. Starring Michael Sheen, Jim Broadbent, Timothy Spall. Directed by Tom Hooper and the screenplay is by Peter Morgan from the novel The Damned United by David Peace.

Also accompanying the film is Brian Clough: From Front to Back, a frank documentary telling the story of an unforgettable career, including heady days with Derby County, unprecedented European success with Nottingham Forest and his notorious 44-day tenure as Leeds United boss. Martin O’Neill and Sir Michael Parkinson are among those who remember the man they called ‘Cloughie’.

Is Anybody There?

Edward hates living in the old people’s home run by his parents. His only interest is a morbid obsession with ghosts, death and the afterlife. Until, that is, the arrival of reluctant new resident, Clarence – a retired magician with a liberating streak of anarchy. Together this delightful odd couple overcome their personal drawbacks, and learn that you are never too old, or too young, to grow up. Starring Michael Caine, Anne-Marie Duff, David Morrissey, Bill Milner, Leslie Phillips, Elisabeth Spriggs. Director John Crowley and screenplay by Peter Harness.

Eastern Promises

A midwife sets out to discover the truth behind the murder of a young prostitute and finds herself snared in the deadly world of the Russian mafia. Starring Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts, Vincent Cassel and Armin Mueller-Stahl Directed by David Cronenberg and the screen play is by Steve Knight.

 

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