Sir Michael Parkinson presents Billy Liar
When: Fri 26 Apr 2013, 18.00-20.00
Where: Conference Centre, British Library
Price: £7.50 / £5 concessions
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the screen adaptation of Billy Liar (95 mins, Cert 12), the British Library and Studiocanal present an exclusive London screening of the digitally restored DVD introduced by close friend of Keith Waterhouse, Sir Michael Parkinson. Waterhouse (1929 – 2009) was a British novelist, newspaper columnist, playwright and screenplay writer. His archive was donated to the British Library last year and in May the Library will publish two of his books, one of them previously unpublished.
Tom Courtenay delivers a star-making turn as William Terrence Fisher (Billy Liar) in one of the most memorable and universally acclaimed films of the 60s. Running from an unsympathetic working-class family, a pair of demanding fiancées and an insecure job at an undertaker's, Billy escapes, Walter Mitty-like, into a world of fantasy where he can realise his dream ambitions. As work and family pressures build to new intolerable levels Liz ,an early, charismatic turn from Julie Christie, enters his drab life and offers Billy the one real chance he’ll ever get to leave the past behind.
Scripted by Keith Waterhouse from his own novel, and sensitively directed by John Schlesinger (Midnight Cowboy), Billy Liar is one of the few comedies of the British ‘New Wave’, marrying visual and verbal wit with a rather poignant rumination on the futility of dreams.
Sir Michael Parkinson began his career as a journalist on local papers and ended up as a features writer for the Daily Express and Manchester Guardian. His first foray into television came when he joined Granada Television before moving to the BBC to join the 24 Hours team. His talk show Parkinson was launched in 1971 and ran until 1982. In 1996 Michael launched a Sunday morning show on Radio 2, which ran for 12 years. He has won numerous awards, and in 1998 was separately honoured for his work in journalism, radio and television. The same year saw a new series of Parkinson start on BBC 1 lasting until 2003 and winning many awards including a BAFTA in 1999. In 2003, he successfully transferred Parkinson to ITV until his retirement from the show in 2007. Parkinson was voted in the top 10 in a British Film Institute poll of the Best Television Programmes of all time. He was awarded a CBE in June 2000 and a knighthood for services to broadcasting in the 2008 New Year’s honours list.
Studiocanal will release a 50th anniversary edition of Billy Liar on fully restored DVD and BluRay on 6 May 2013 with extras including interviews with Tom Courtenay, Helen Fraser and Richard Ayoade and a look through the Keith Waterhouse archive with British Library curator Zoe Wilcox.