BBC celebrates Sir Kenneth Branagh’s career with special one-off screening

Harriet and Guy Pringle - played by Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh

As part of city-wide celebrations to mark Sir Kenneth being made a Freeman of Belfast, BBC Northern Ireland is delving into the archive for a one-off special screening.

Sir Kenneth Branagh’s stellar career has involved many BBC appearances with a wide variety of small screen roles which have left a big impression.

Kenneth Branagh

As part of city-wide celebrations to mark Sir Kenneth being made a Freeman of Belfast, BBC Northern Ireland has delved into the BBC Archive and dusted off the first episode of the acclaimed drama Fortunes of War for a special screening on January 29 at Blackstaff Studio, Great Victoria Street.

Fortunes of War, which was based on a series of novels by Olivia Manning, was broadcast in 1987. It describes the relationship between Harriet and Guy Pringle (played by Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh) and the effects of war on them and the friends and world around them.

Olivia Manning’s novels were informed by her own wartime experiences and her marriage to Reggie Smith. And they were influenced by local connections as well.

Alan Plater’s seven-part adaptation of Fortunes of War (which cost £6.5m and was one of the most expensive series made by the BBC until that point) was critically acclaimed and helped to bring Olivia Manning’s work to a new and wider audience. It’s a beautifully filmed evocation of time and place and underscores Kenneth Branagh’s skills as a major screen actor.

The screening event will feature episode one of Fortunes of War and will include a short introduction from Professor Eve Patten who has written extensively about Olivia Manning. She will be chatting with William Crawley about Olivia Manning’s links with Northern Ireland and some of the themes that are explored in the Fortunes of War series.

There will also be the opportunity to revisit some of Kenneth Branagh’s BBC television interviews in a BBC archive showreel.

This event complements other screenings being organised by Belfast City Council and Film Hub NI at locations around Belfast on January 30.

Tickets can now be applied for at bbc.co.uk/showsandtours.

It is expected that this will be a popular event and tickets will be restricted to two per applicant. Admission will be on a first come, first served, basis.

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