BARRY NORMAN: FILM OF THE DAY Educating Rita★★★★ 10.55pm-1.05am C5
Adapted by Willy Russell from his own stage play and directed by Lewis Gilbert, this is another slant on Pygmalion, the protagonists being Julie Walters, as an initially tarty working-class student, and Michael Caine, her boozy tutor at the Open University. Walters is a Liverpudlian hairdresser with a boorish husband and a desire to better herself, Caine the disenchanted academic instructing her in a course in English literature. He is drawn to her because of her freshness, common sense and honesty, she to him because of the poet he had once been until disillusionment and drink took a hand. And as the relationship develops, each has a profound effect upon the other. The play was a two-hander, the film has been opened out to include other characters, not necessarily for the better because it’s at its best in the interplay between Walters, sparkling on her screen debut, and Caine giving a finely judged and unselfish performance. Both they and Russell won Oscar nominations.
It’s a first showing on Freeview for this fun seasonal treat, which finds a tough-talking Easter Bunny teaming up with Santa Claus, Jack Frost and other forces for good to take on a boo-hiss baddie who’s trying to stop the children of the world from keeping the faith.
So what would you do if your girlfriend started going out with Russell Brand? Jason Segel is the guy who goes to Hawaii to get away from it all, only to be stuck there with his ex (Kristen Bell) and her new British beau.
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