Pilot Light bring cult sketch show Big Train to the big screen

The Manchester television festival also previews the new series of Westworld and celebrates comedy The Royle Family on its 20th anniversary

Article by Jamie Dunn | 11 Apr 2018
  • Big Train

With the likes of Martin Scorsese now making films with Netflix and directors like Nicolas Winding Refn and Yorgos Lanthimos currently making TV shows, the line between television and movies continue to blur. It’s in this amorphic atmosphere between the big screen and the small screen in which Pilot Light has flourished. Now in its third year, the Manchester television festival takes television properties and puts them on the big screen. “Here at Pilot Light we adore and encourage the communal experience of watching television,” say the festival. .

The third edition of Pilot Light is coming up this May Day bank holiday weekend and it’s offering an impressive line-up of new, classic and cult television shows. Most definitely falling into the latter category is Big Train, the wonderfully surreal sketch show created by Father Ted writers Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews. Not only were the show’s bizarre sketches hilarious, the talent behind the scenes was matched by a cast that includes Kevin Eldon, Julia Davis, Catherine Tate, Rebecca Front and the soon to be super-famous Simon Pegg.

The festival kicks off with the premiere episode for season two of Westworld, the critically acclaimed adaptation of Michael Crichton's 1973 film of the same name, which is set at a giant theme park staffed by artificially intelligent robots. Other highlights include a screening of brutal Italian crime drama Gomorrah; an in-conversation event with Christopher Eccleston, who’ll discuss his small screen roles in shows like Cracker, The Leftovers and Doctor Who; and a “TV in Memoriam” event for Dennis Kelly’s cult show Utopia, which only aired for two series despite much critical acclaim. There's also a discussion on the racial and gender politics of Sex and the City entitled The World according to Woke Charlotte, and a 'show and tell' from Brass Eye and Toast of London director Michael Cummings.


Pilot Light TV Festival takes place 3-6 May, HOME, Manchester; for full programme details, head to http://www.pilotlightfestival.co.uk