Retiring editor and executive producer of BBC Arena after 33 years, following seven as one of the programme’s radical core directors, ANTHONY WALL joins us for the launch of the Autumn cinema season at the Barn Theatre this Friday September 14th to introduce and conduct a Q&A for the last film of the world-famous TV series to be made under his name. Nothing Like A Dame, featuring a conversation that is both poignant and hilarious between four of the greatest dames of theatre of our time was transmitted on BBC2 earlier this year after a limited release in cinemas nationwide.
Throughout Wall’s editorship, Arena has garnered three Bafta awards, three Royal Television Society awards, an Emmy, the Prix Italia and the Special Medallion of the Telluride Film Festival. Voted by leading TV executives in Broadcast as one of the top 50 most influential programmes of all time, many of us will be familiar with ‘the bottle and the tune’, the iconic title sequence accompanied by the hypnotic sounds of Brian Eno’s ‘Another Green World’:
‘It’s amazing it got made at all’ was the response of The New Statesman to the filming of Arena’s Nothing Like a Dame, so unlikely did it seem that a quartet of the most eminent ladies of the theatre would agree to meet together for a weekend of reminiscence in the presence of cameras. Filmed mainly in the garden of the Sussex house bought by Dame Joan Plowright and her husband Lord Olivier when he was artistic director of the Chichester Festival Theatre, the other dames include Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Eileen Atkins. Given a five-star rating by The Guardian, Peter Bradshaw claimed that he ‘laughed pretty much all the way through’, describing the gathering as ‘outrageously camp, with sensational stills and archive footage and a very brisk assessment of the past – utterly unsentimental.’ He put the question, ‘Why is it when female stars of this calibre appear in a fiction together it’s always a horribly twee ordeal – when this shows they can be brutally funny?’
Even if you have seen the film already on TV, why not take the opportunity to watch it again on the big screen this Friday at 7.30? It is a rare treat for Seaford Cinema to have a guest of Anthony Wall’s prestige and it should be fascinating to hear what he has to say about the background and the making of this ‘utterly engrossing, unmissable film’?
‘We are such stuff as dreams are made on…’
Tickets can be purchased online HERE, or from the Tourist Information Centre, Broad Street, Seaford, during office hours.