Today's Joanna Page is Gideon's Daughter, a film Stephen Poliakoff made for the BBC in 2005/6.
Despite the fact he somehow manages to assemble fantastic "to die for" casts for his projects and in many ways he's a very good writer, Poliakoff and I have never got along. To me – how shall I put this? – he's a bit too Islington.
Either he spends all his time writing about things that might be of major concern at dinner parties in that particular London Borough but aren't anywhere else. Or he's writing dire political tracts with sub-texts so obvious they're basically the text – which they'd need to be since the texts aren't actually about anything.
Close My Eyes was my first stab at getting into Poliakoff. Clive Owen and Saskia Reeves shag a lot. Only problem: they're brother and sister. See it's all a metaphor for how in the time of AIDS people might turn to a safe option, like a sibling. Erm, okay. So they shag a lot more, while Reeves' husband (Alan Rickman) ums and aahs, suspecting something's up. And then they stop because they realise it's a bad idea. And that's that.
It's all about nothing.
It's been downhill since then. He's done entire series and films that could and should have been précised down to one line: apparently the Victorians had more sex than we thought (Century, if I recall correctly); he did an entire series (whose name I can't remember but which was in The 50 Greatest TV Dramas) that was deliberately about nothing "to undermine convention"; and with Gideon's Daughter, we have the staggering revelation that PR and spin-doctoring is all about the surface when really it's substance that matters.
Close my eyes – and ears – Stephen.