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Monday, 13 May 2013

Tony Garnett = first retrospective of TV producer = May-June 2013 and in conversation on 4 June. @ BFI SouthBank

Tony Garnett.
Courtesy of BFI
The first ever retrospective of the controversial producer of TV dramas including Cardiac Arrest, The Spongers, Law and Order and This Life. In a career that has spanned over 50 years, Tony Garnett remains at the heart of all that is best and most controversial about British television drama. To quote former BBC Director General Mark Thompson: “He is “simply the best television drama creator and producer there has been.” For the first time this intensely private man has agreed to a full review of his remarkable career and throughout May and June BFI Southbank will embark upon the most complete retrospective of his work to date. The season will also offer audiences a rare chance to hear/see Tony Garnett In Conversation on Tuesday 4 June. He will discuss his remarkable career onstage with writer and broadcaster Mark Lawson.
The issues that his work has raised over the years are now even more pertinent, and this is precisely why Garnett has chosen this moment to speak out about his work: "It gives me no pleasure that these films are now even more contemporary than when first shown. It fills me with shame. Society is retreating; painfully achieved gains in dignity and mutual support are swept away; everything and everyone are commodified and our humanity is reduced. Misery and despair are ignored by shiny wealth. But there is no alternative. We must renew our fight for humanity. We are truly all in this together". Garnett’s work is always fervently political and never fails to ask difficult questions of the government and the state; he asserts that trying to get these kinds of dramas made today would be simply impossible. Focusing on Garnett’s rarely seen works rather than the more frequently screened (such as Kes and Cathy Come Home), Part One of the season deals largely with radical plays of the 60s and 70s which were made with collaborators such as Ken Loach, David Mercer, Mike Leigh, Jim Allen and Roland Joffé.
With the fortunes of the single drama on the decline, and a sharp move to the right following the election of Margaret Thatcher, Garnett decided to spend a decade working in the US. On Garnett’s return to the UK in the late eighties he established World Productions through which he produced a highly successful run of programmes using what he describes as the “Trojan horse” method of production. He reinvented the medical drama and the police procedural respectively, removing the soap elements and adding layers of depth and his trademark gritty realism.
Screenings taking place in the season:

The Gangster Show: The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui. BBC 1972. Dir Jack Gold. With Nicol Williamson, Sam Wanamaker, Peter Frye. 105min. Thu 16 May 18:20 NFT2

Days of Hope: 1926 (The General Strike). BBC 1975. Dir Ken Loach. With Paul Copley, Pamela Brighton, Nikolas Simmonds. 133min. Thu 23 May 18:00 NFT2

The Spongers Play for Today. BBC 1978. Dir Roland Joffé. With Christine Hargreaves, Bernard Hill, Peter Kerrigan. 90min Fri 31 May 18:20 NFT2

Law & Order–A Detectives Tale BBC 1978. Director Leslie Blair. With Derek Martin, Alan Ford, Roy
Stone. 80min + Between the Lines –Some Must Watch BBC 1993. Director Roy Battersby. With Neil Pearson, Francesca Annis, Michael Pennington. 50min. Sun 2 June 16:00 NFT2

Tony Garnett In Conversation with Mark Lawson & Q&A
Notoriously reticent to receive any accolades, the BFI is proud to present the most complete screening of Tony Garnett’s work to date and finally to be able to highlight the significance of his extraordinary achievements. When he got a BAFTA award, he didn't turn up to receive it. He went to the football at Aston Villa instead! A fact that speaks volumes about the man and his values. Illustrated with clips from his films, don’t miss this opportunity to hear one of the most important and influential television and film producers providing his controversial views on the state of the industry and the strong beliefs that have always guided his work. Tue 4 June 18:30 NFT1

Blooming Youth BBC 1973. Play for Today. Director Leslie Blair. With Philip Jackson, Colin Higgins, Peter Kinley. 70min + This Life BBC 1996. Director Sam Miller. With Jack Davenport, Amita Dhiri, Daniela Nardini, Andrew Lincoln, Jason Hughes. Thu 6 June 20:30 NFT3

Prostitute Kestrel Films. 1980. Director Tony Garnett. With Eleanor Forsythe, Kate Crutchley, Kim Lockett. 97min  Fri 14June 20:40 NFT2

Cardiac Arrest BBC 1994. Director David Hayman. With Helen Baxendale, Andrew Lancel, Ahsen Bahatti. 28min + The Cops BBC 1998. Director Harry Bradbeer. With Katy Cavanagh, Rob Dixon, John Henshaw. 50min  Wed 19 June 18:20 NFT2

Handgun Kestrel Films. 1982. Director Tony Garnett. With Karen Young, Clayton Day, Suzie Humphreys. 97min Sat 22 June 20:40 NFT2

Beautiful Thing Channel Four/World Productions. 1996. Director Hettie Macdonald. With Glen Berry, Linda Henry, Scott Neal, Ben Daniels Thu 27 June 18:20 NFT2

Hostile Waters BBC/HBO/World Productions. 1997. Director David Drury. With Rutger Hauer, Martin Sheen, Max Von Sydow, Colm Feore. 90min. Sat 29 June 18:10 NFT3

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