CINEMA / On Cinema

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Cinema coming to the rescue of television is a switch. Television, after all, is the medium that brought film to its knees in the Fifties, as the suburbs flourished and families decided to spend their time watching Ben Casey rather than checking out the double-bill at the local Odeon.

But film is a bigger medium than television in many ways: cinema archivists have been smart enough to programme the best and most interesting or weirdest offerings of their ephemeral rival, a rival who only recently realised that it probably wasn't best to junk tapes of early David Mercer plays or erase Potter, Bennett and friends. TV is only ephemeral if you let it be. . .

Still, if you can't wait for another BBC2 theme evening (don't worry - there'll be another one along in a minute) the NFT has become expert at reclaiming the past, what with a recent season of lesbians on the box, annual dips into complete decades, directors' entire oeuvres dissected, and tonight, joy of joys, two Ben Travers farces given a long overdue airing at NFT2.

So thanks to an upmarket movie palace it's possible once again to savour Arthur Lowe and Richard Briers in A Cuckoo in the Nest and generally fall about at Rookery Nook (above). If this seems too trivial for some tastes (as if some of our happiest memories aren't trivial) it should be noted that September brings BFI South Bank tributes to Dennis Potter and influential BBC drama producer Rudolph Cartier. Haven't heard of him? Well, that's what reclaiming TV's past is about, even on the big screen. . .

Ben Travers farces at the NFT tonight at 8.30pm (071-928 3232)

(Photograph omitted)

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