Jamie Neish: Here’s to 25 great years of BBC Films

Jonathan Pryce. Picture: BBC Films
Jonathan Pryce. Picture: BBC Films
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BBC Films marks its 25th birthday this week with a week-long celebration in which titles from the British production firm’s rich and varied back catalogue screen on BBC Two.

First formalised in 1990, BBC Films, the feature filmmaking arm of the British Broadcasting Corporation, has since invested in more than 250 films, from Billy Elliot and Regeneration (Jonathan Pryce, pictured), right through to Mr Holmes, due for release in the UK next month.

After a turbulent few years, the British film industry appears to be experiencing a mini-boom and that’s as much a result of BBC Films’ continued investment as it is for other financiers, such as Film4 and the BFI.

Philomena, Saving Mr Banks, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, My Week With Marilyn, We Need to Talk About Kevin and even Mrs Browns’ Boys D’Movie are all films backed by BBC Films that have made a noteworthy impression recently.

As is noticeable from the list, there’s no snobbery here. There’s obviously a need for profits to be made, but BBC Films are as invested in art-house fare as they are in mainstream films.

And what’s even more promising is that after so many years of success they’re showing no signs of slowing down. A fresh batch of projects have been announced that have BBC Films’ name attached.

A spin-off film from the well-loved TV series The Office, a Charles Dickens adaptation written and directed by Armando Inannuci and acclaimed director James Marsh’s follow-up to The Theory of Everything are but a few of the films to come.

So it’s with tremendous pleasure, admiration and respect that I raise a toast to BBC Films. They are an integral cog in the continued existence - and recent rebirth - of the British film industry.