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ET at 40: How a little alien with a big, glowing heart became everybody’s best friend and a pop culture phenomenon

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Drew Barrymore in E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (Saturday, ITV2, 3.25p.m.)

Drew Barrymore in E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (Saturday, ITV2, 3.25p.m.)

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In 1980, in a tent somewhere in the Tunisian desert, Steven Spielberg sat painfully alone. The director, just 34 and with hits like Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind already under his belt, was in North Africa shooting Raiders of the Lost Ark, the blockbuster adventure that would launch the Indiana Jones franchise.

At night, however, his mind kept returning to the loneliness of his own childhood, the imaginary friend he’d created to cope, and the pain he’d felt when his parents split while he was a teenager.


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