TV - BFI Gamechangers

BBC Four will show a selection of programmes from the BFIs BBC Television 100 Gamechangers list - alongside other gems from the BBC’s rich archive - in a new regular Wednesday night slot...

Press Release

BBC Four has announced a new weekly slot dedicated to exclusive screenings of classic dramas, including a handpicked selection from the BFIs list of 100 landmark BBC TV programmes that “changed the face of television.”

The BFI’s 100 BBC Television Gamechangers was compiled by the Institute’s expert team of television curators, archivists, and programmers and highlights the BBC TV programmes that have had a “transformative impact on television and society over the last century of broadcasting.”

Starting on May 25th, an array of classic dramas will be shown every Wednesday at 10pm on BBC Four. The new slot affirms BBC Four’s position as a destination to discover the most distinctive content from the BBC’s rich archive, alongside the channel’s commitment to specialist Arts, performance, history, science, factual and music content, as well as international drama.

The new Wednesday night slot will feature a number of game changing dramas specifically selected for the BBC Four audience, including:

Cast of Our Friends in the North

Our Friends In The North (1996). The drama about four friends, played by Daniel Craig, Christopher Eccleston, Gina McKee and Mark Strong, from Newcastle-upon-Tyne is described as a “highly significant state of the Nation piece that puts a whole era into perspective” by the BFI.

Buddha of Suburbia

Buddha of Suburbia (1993); Hanif Kureishi's landmark coming of age drama set in South London in the 1970s.

Girls from Oranges are Not the Only Fruit

Jeanette Winterson’s BAFTA award-winning Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit (1996); a “semi-autobiographical drama remains a moving and innovative portrayal of queer teenage life” says the BFI.

A young Kenneth Branagh with James Ellis

The Billy Plays (1982), part of the BBC’s Play For Today series that ran from 1970-1984. The BFI note that Graham Reid’s acclaimed trilogy of the conflict between a father and son in Belfast showed “a side of life in Northern Ireland that was rarely seen on television.”

Yosser Hughes

Boys From The Blackstuff (1982). The hugely acclaimed series written by playwright Alan Bleasdale follows five unemployed tarmac layers in Bleasdale’s home city of Liverpool.

John Earl and Family around a table

A Man from the Sun (1956) is an early television exploration of the difficulties faced by West Indian immigrants in Britain, which the BFI recognises for its use of “drama documentary to tackle social issues, a tradition which continues today.”

More programmes from the list that will feature in the slot will be announced throughout the year.

James Stirling, BBC 100 Executive Editor, said, “The BFI’s expert team of curators have produced a fascinating list of BBC TV programmes that have transformed broadcasting over the last 100 years, both across the UK and around the world. BBC Four will delve into the BBC’s library of rich content to share a selection of the boundary-pushing and era-defining dramas from the BFI’s list with audiences throughout centenary year with a new Wednesday night slot.”

BFI’s BBC Television 100 Gamechangers list (find the whole list here - Ed)

The BFI says its list of 100 game changing programmes “celebrates the shows that have made and remade genres, shaped social attitudes and transformed television itself, demonstrating that the BBC has been a constant pioneer from its inception to the present day.”

Lisa Kerrigan, BFI Senior Curator of Television, said, “The programmes on our list had gamechanging impacts on television itself, while also highlighting the ways in which BBC TV has changed us as a nation and beyond. The list was developed by contributors from across the BFI, and shaped by a core group of BFI TV curators and programmers, and it reflects the astounding history, variety and achievement of BBC television.”

Top image - Top left to right: The Buddha of Suburbia, Our Friends In The North, The Boys from The Blackstuff. Bottom left to right: A Man from the Sun, Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit and Too Late To Talk To Billy (Image: BFI National Archive and BBC)

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