NEWS: BFI to premiere new Delia Derbyshire film – watch the trailer

Caroline Catz as Delia Derbyshire. Picture: Sony DSC

CAROLINE CATZ’S hotly anticipated new film about the life of Doctor Who theme writer and all-round early electronica genius Delia Derbyshire: The Myths & The Legendary Tapes is to be premiered by the British Film Institute as part of the 2020 London Film Festival in the middle of this month.

The conceptual, atmospheric journey into the legacy and character of sonic pioneer Delia will be available on the BFI Player from 6.30pm British Summer Time on Thursday, October 15th, to 6.30pm on Sunday, October 20th. Watch the trailer, below.

This is Caroline Catz’s directorial debut; she also plays the lead role. The film expands upon the concept that Delia was a preternatural visionary who lived outside of time and space as other people experience it; and that her soundscapes seemed connected to another realm.

The film uses a playful, psychedelic mix of archive footage and material, coupled with interviews with colleagues and collaborators and dramatisations.

Cosey Fanni Tutti helms the original compositions on the soundtrack, which are constructed using sound sources from the artist’s posthumously discovered “Attic Tapes”, alongside Delia originals for the BBC’S Radiophonic Workshop.

Caroline says of her six-year journey in making the film: “[It] has really focused my thinking about how I wanted to tell Delia’s story.

“Rather than make a simply linear biopic, I wanted to probe themes that seemed to be present in Delia’s life, and Delia’s poetic collages of atmospheric soundscapes appear to be intriguing expressions of her inner life.

“The resulting film is a portrait of Delia filtered through a mix of observation and imagination, with the premise that no single perspective would be sufficient to gain a true understanding of her, replacing the rigidity of a biopic style with something more mysterious and lyrical.

“I’m fascinated by Delia Derbyshire, her music and her legacy, and the fact that she introduced avant-garde electronic sounds to a whole generation through the medium of a teatime television show — that’s really what inspired the whole idea for the film. 

“Having spent time at Delia’s archive at John Rylands Library in Manchester and watching the archive grow over the years, it struck me that the clues to Delia’s life, and perhaps what she really wanted us to know about her, lay in the recordings she left behind.

“I thought it would be interesting to explore the archive through performance and the construction of a film soundtrack, combining the unfiltered fragments from this amazing resource to conjure an imagined landscape of Delia’s life based on the evidence we found therein.

“I felt I needed to collaborate on this project with a musician whose own work is also singular and atmospheric; Cosey seemed to me to be the perfect choice. I was thrilled that when I proposed the idea of a collaboration to Cosey that she was enthusiastic and open to it, and such a brilliant person to work with.

“We went on an amazing sonic adventure together up and down the M6 in a Skoda, searching for echoes of Delia.”

Delia Derbyshire: The Myths & The Legendary Tapes has a runtime of 98 minutes. It stars Caroline Catz, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Saskia Reeves.

To book a ticket to watch Delia Derbyshire: The Myths & The Legendary Tapes on the BFI Player, visit the BFI Box Office, here.

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