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#TVforTeachers Pick of the Week – Alan Bennett’s Diaries

As part of ERA’s commitment to helping licence holders make the best use of material available to them, we highlight our ‘top pick’ each week.


This week our #TVforTeachers is a repeat of the outstanding documentary Alan Bennett’s Diaries to be shown on BBC4 on Wednesday 25 January. Filmed over the course of a year, this film shows the playwright as he has never been seen before.  

From the BBC webpage:

“The film follows Bennett to New York, the scene of his early triumph in Beyond the Fringe, to his community library in Primrose Hill which, he despairs, some would rather see turned into a pizza restaurant, to the East Coast railway line, which he would like to see renationalised, and to the village in Yorkshire he calls home.

Intimate encounters, filmed over a year, reveal a writer who is bemused by his own popularity and is still as angry and irreverent in his 80s as he was in his 20s. Leafing through private photographs, Bennett reflects on his modest beginnings and his enduring gratitude to a welfare state that paid for his education and looked after his parents in their old age. With a satirical force that has never left him, he also attacks the politics of today.”

There is a considerable amount of other material available through the BBC archive relating to Alan Bennett which might also be of use.  Here is a brief selection:

The BBC webpage, Alan Bennett at 80   has clips from various interviews including a short clip from an interview between the playwright and Nicholas Hytner.

There is also a link to a Front Row special from October 2005 in which the talks about his life and work in the context of his new book Untold Stories

From the BBC Arts website,  you can also watch this conversation with Mark Lawson, recorded for Front Row in 2013 in which Alan Bennett “reflects on his recent work for the National Theatre, the inspiration of his parents, and why his writing has become increasingly autobiographical.”