As part of the festival’s celebration of Bristol writers, we look back at some classic BBC productions of the 1960s and 1970s. At this time, Bristol had some of the leading television and theatre writers working in the city and found that the BBC – especially in the series The Wednesday Play – were keen to explore social issues and attitudes and bring them to the attention of a popular audience. Our three films reflect this. Together they show a Bristol that in many cases no longer exists. Guests involved in the productions will introduce the films.
FILM: Drums Along the Avon (75m): Produced by Tony Garnett and written by Charles Wood, this was directed by James MacTaggart (the Edinburgh film and television festival hosts an annual lecture in his name). It features Leonard Rossiter and the TV debut of Norman Beaton. First broadcast in 1967. The character played by Rossiter, appalled by the racism of his wife and friends, impersonates an Asian man. Described by the British Film Institute as ‘a playfully satirical tale of racial integration in Bristol’.
FILM: The Gorge (75m): Produced by Tony Garnett and written by Peter Nichols and broadcast as The Wednesday Play in September 1968. A teenage boy accompanies his ghastly family from Bristol on a bank-holiday day out to local beauty spot and tourist trap, the Cheddar Gorge. They take suburban living with them, to his disgust.
FILM: The Bristol Entertainment (75m): Produced and directed by Michael Croucher and written by John Hale, with Colin Rose as film director, this story of Bristol looks at maritime history, slavery, the aerospace industry, architecture, myths and legends, the city and its arts and more. First broadcast 23 December 1972.
The programme will run as follows: 13.00 General Introduction; 13.05 Introduction to Drums Along the Avon; 13.10 Film starts; 14.20 Interval; 14.30 Introduction to The Gorge; 14.35 Film starts; 15.45 Interval; 16.05 Discussion; 16.30 Colin Rose introduces The Bristol Entertainment; 16.35 Film starts.
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