Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Alan Plater on BBC Four (Thursday 29 July)

As a tribute to the late Alan Plater, BBC Four is showing one of his films and a documentary on Thursday evening. Presumably they'll both turn up on iPlayer as well.

Lost and gone forever (a short story of sorts)

You don't trust the summer. It's the heat. You haven't slept well for weeks.

But now you're on a train, and the rhythm and the gentle motion start to tug at your mind. You close your eyes and prop yourself into the corner of your seat. Before long, the tightly wound mechanism of your consciousness relaxes, loosens.

Hanging in that sweet-spot between sleep and wakefulness, you release control. You're no longer driving your thoughts where you want them to go: you're sitting back and enjoying the ride.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Sherlock, BBC One

As usual, here's a quick review of Sherlock that I wrote for Orange.

As I say below, I found it bold and enjoyable but thought the plot didn't offer much to chew on. I don't know A Study in Scarlet, so maybe it was just remaining close to its source. 

I really appreciated the way they disguised Phil Davis's appearance, though - instead of waiting for him to make his entrance, it was a very nice surprise when he turned up.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Crystal Palace International Film Festival (19-29 July)

Crystal Palace’s long-association with the film industry will be marked in high style this summer, with the first Crystal Palace International Film Festival, running from 19-29 July.

The festival, brainchild of local producers Neill Roy and Roberta Gallinari from Harlequin Productions, has already attracted some big names, with actor and comedian Johnny Vegas and local comedian and writer Mark Steel signing up as judges. 

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Harvey Pekar, RIP

"Comics are words and pictures. You can do anything with words and pictures" 

Harvey Pekar, 1939-2010

I was sorry to hear yesterday's news about the passing of Harvey Pekar, the writer of the autobiographical comic series American Splendor, which inspired the 2003 film of the same name. 

I always felt like I'd met him, even though I never had, and I guess that's a response a lot of people have had to his work.

Monday, 12 July 2010

The Silence (BBC One)

Here's a quick review (for Orange) of tonight's first episode of The Silence - a four-part thriller by Australian writer Fiona Seres, which is being stripped across the week on BBC One.

As you may read below, I enjoyed the episode but wish it had focussed on the stress Amelia faces by being suddenly pitched into the hearing world. That part of the story is handled really well, but the coincidences that fuelled the thriller element seemed a bit too convenient.

Friday, 9 July 2010

BAFTA: A Tribute to Troy Kennedy Martin

BAFTA have posted a 30-minute video from an evening of tribtues to the late Troy Kennedy Martin.

On 27 April 2010, seven months after the death of one of Britain’s most important screenwriters, Troy Kennedy Martin, BAFTA hosted an evening of tributes from those who knew him.

Dive, BBC Two

Go to TV writing events and you'll hear everyone going on about how much they love "authored drama" – stuff with a strong personal voice. Last night's Dive (the first of a two-parter by writer/director Dominic Savage and co-writer Simon Stephens) certainly had a distinctive style, but it left me wondering if there was too much author and not enough drama.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

7 July 2005

"In the days that follow, look at our airports, look at our sea ports and look at our railway stations and, even after your cowardly attack, you will see that people from the rest of Britain, people from around the world will arrive in London to become Londoners and to fulfil their dreams and achieve their potential.

"They choose to come to London, as so many have come before because they come to be free, they come to live the life they choose, they come to be able to be themselves. They flee you because you tell them how they should live. They don't want that and nothing you do, however many of us you kill, will stop that flight to our city where freedom is strong and where people can live in harmony with one another. Whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail."

Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London, 7 July 2005

Monday, 5 July 2010

Identity, ITV1

Here's a quick review of tonight's Identity on ITV1, starring Aiden Gillen and Keeley Hawes, wot I wrote for Orange. 

Rear Window (1954, Alfred Hitchcock, John Michael Hayes)

Last week we went to see Rear Window at the BFI, as part of the Grace Kelly season. It was – shamefully - the first time I'd seen the film, and although it didn't grip me on first viewing as much as some of Hitchcock's other films, a repeat viewing the following morning revealed what an impressive bit of work it is. 

Friday, 2 July 2010

That little noise that only writers make

You know the one.

The one you make when you're rewriting a feature-length script and in a trivial bit of scene description on page 86, your main character unexpectedly finds himself with something in his hand that changes everything.

It raises the stakes, strengthens his motivation and provides a poignant bit of dramatic irony that fits perfectly. It also means you're going to have to go back to page one and retrofit the whole script.

So you emit a cross between the hoot of an excited chimp and the groan of an England fan who's just seen the Germans sashay leisurely through the John Terry-shaped hole in the team's defence.

Yeah. That noise.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Reunited, BBC One

I'm sure that at some stage, more than one writer or producer has jotted 'Cold Feet for the Facebook generation' onto a post-it note. However, when one of those writers is Mike Bullen, the creator of that series, people sit up and take notice.