BARRY NORMAN: FILM OF THE DAY ET the Extra-Terrestrial★★★★★ 3.20-5.30pm ITV
This is the perfect family film – a magical tale for children, a triumph of special effects, and, as director Steven Spielberg describes it, a simple and pure love story. It’s the love that grows between a small boy, Henry Thomas, and an ugly alien, ET, who missed his spacecraft home. Thomas finds him hiding in the garden and coaxes him into the house, there to conceal him from prying and menacing adults. Spielberg’s particular gift for creating tension, exploding it with a laugh and then letting it build again is superbly displayed, as we follow the efforts of Thomas to help ET avoid capture and return home. The imagery is spectacular, especially a scene in which kids on bikes fly across the face of the moon, and there is one sequence so touching it will cause as much grief as the death of Bambi’s mother. There is also a serious message: we should never judge others by their appearance or origin but by their nature and behaviour, and that’s something nobody can learn too early.