We watched John Schlesinger’s 1963 film version of Keith Waterhouse’s Billy Liar this evening. Tom Courtenay is excellent in the title role, playing a bored undertaker’s clerk in provincial Bradford, seeking consolation in fantasies and increasingly caught out by his own petty lies. The obvious way out is to go to London, but when ultimately the seemingly irresistible opportunity presents itself, in the form of a young and beautiful Julie Christie, Billy Liar lapses back into the security of provincialism. In its day, the film was an early example of the so-called New Wave – all gritty realism, class warfare and filming in real locations (in this case Bradford itself). But now the film has a sort of elegiac feeling to it, as likely to trigger pangs of nostalgia for Yorkshire’s sturdy society as for the social and cultural revolt of the 1960s personified by Julie Christie’s scatty Liz.