BBC Four has announced a new weekly slot dedicated to exclusive screenings of classic dramas, including Our Friends In the North, Buddha of Suburbia and Boys From The Blackstuff.
The new Wednesday night slot will become the home of selection of dramas from the BBC archives as the broadcaster celebrates its 100th year. This includes a selection from the BFI’s list of 100 landmark BBC TV programmes:
The BFI’s 100 BBC Television Gamechangers was compiled by the Institute’s expert team of television curators, archivists, and programmers. It highlights the BBC TV programmes that have had a “transformative impact on television and society over the last century of broadcasting.”
BBC Four’s new drama slot starts on Wednesday 25th May at 10pm.
Featured classic dramas
- 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. The BFI describes it as a “highly significant state of the Nation piece that puts a whole era into perspective”.
- Buddha of Suburbia (1993); Hanif Kureishi’s landmark coming of age drama set in South London in the 1970s.
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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.
- A Man from the Sun (1956) An early television exploration of the difficulties faced by West Indian immigrants in Britain. The BFI recognised it for its use of “drama documentary to tackle social issues, a tradition which continues today.”
James Stirling, BBC 100 Executive Editor, says:
“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.”
The new classic drama slot is part of BBC Four’s transformation into a dedicated archive channel.