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Exploring Penda's Fen, a 1974 BBC film that achieved mythic status.
In 1974, the BBC broadcast the film Penda's Fen, leaving audiences mystified and spellbound. “Make no mistake. We had a major work of television last night,” The Times declared the next morning. Written by the playwright and classicist David Rudkin, the film follows Stephen, an 18-year-old boy, whose identity, sexuality, and suffocating nationalism unravels through a series of strange visions. After its original broadcast, Penda's Fen vanished into unseen mythic status, with only a single rebroadcast in 1990 sustaining its cult following. With a DVD release by the BFI in 2016, Penda's Fen has now become totemic for those interested in Britain's deep history, folklore, and landscape. Of Mud and Flame brings together writers, artists, and historians to excavate and explore this unique cornerstone of Britain's uncanny archive.
David Rudkin, Sukhdev Sandhu, Roger Luckhurst, Gareth Evan, Adam Scovell, Bethany Whalley, Carl Phelpstead, David Ian Rabey, David Rolinson, Craig Wallace, Daniel O'Donnell Smith, William Fowler, Yvonne Salmon, Andy W. Smith, Carolyne Larrington, John Harle, Timothy J. Jarvis, Tom White, Daniel Eltringham, Joseph Brooker, Gary Budden