I hear (a little late, apparently we’re already in “week 2”) that the BBC is showing a bevy of classic British films this summer, including some that very rarely have a TV outing. Not actually having a TV myself, I have nearly all of these on DVD or DVD-r already. But what a fine selection the BBC and the Film Council have chosen with films such as: Powell & Pressburger’s I Know Where I’m Going, and A Canterbury Tale (hopefully the quality print that was used for the U.S. DVD); Lean’s Brief Encounter (also on re-release at selected cinemas, apparently); Forsyth’s Gregory’s Girl; a BFI-restored print of the awesome Withnail and I; The Leather Boys (Rita Tushingham! A ‘slow starter’, but it builds tremendously); John Mills’ Sky West and Crooked and Tiger Bay; and Oliver’s potent Henry V. Sadly, they miss out what for me is the all-time classic British film, which is Lean’s This Happy Breed. The only others I might have added are Powell & Pressburger’s Colonel Blimp and Gone to Earth, Jarman’s The Tempest and Angelic Conversation; Sally Potter’s Orlando; Penda’s Fen; A Taste of Honey; Prick Up Your Ears; Mike Leigh’s Life Is Sweet, and Will Hay’s Oh, Mr Porter! (still laugh-out-loud funny, after all these years).

Predictably, the Guardian-reading classes seethe and whine about showing these “retrograde, inward-looking, cliche-driven” films, are worried about teenage viewers “whispering confusedly among themselves” while viewing the films, and actually suggest “we could toss Brief Encounter in the burn-bag”. There’s a nice little spot on the Opernplatz in Berlin that might do nicely; I believe it’s been used for bonfires before.