As you've probably noticed from previous weeks' entries in this strand, such as Scum, Contact and Penda's Fen, director Alan Clarke was responsible for many of British TV's finest - and toughest - plays. BBC2 Playhouse's Diane, starring the then 20-year-old Janine Duvitski (Waiting For God, Abigail's Party) whom Clarke more or less plucked straight out of drama school to play the 13-year-old protagonist, is one of Clarke's toughest, dealing with incest on a council estate.
Written by 'David Agnew' (actually Clarke using a BBC pseudonym after re-rewriting Anthony Read's initial script), it's harrowing, subtle but still humane, and still packs a punch.
With The Wednesday Plays, I have tried as much as possible to steer clear of sci-fi, since - and let's face facts here - there's plenty enough of that on this 'ere blog already. However, doing so has meant steering clear of possibly the most famous 'double bill' in Play For Today history: The Flipside of Dominick Hide and Another Flip For Dominick.
Set in both the 1980s and 2130, the first play sees time-travelling researcher Dominick Hide (Peter Firth) return to his own past to investigate an ancestor. There he meets a woman, Jane (Caroline Langrishe). And that's all I can say without spoiling it for you.
So popular was the first play that writer Alan Gibson bowed to popular demand and brought all the characters back for a sequel two years later, about which I can tell you even less because I'll spoil the first play if I do. Let's just say it involves another time-traveller and leave it at that.
While being quite slight things that probably won't impress the hard-core SF fan, they are, as with most BBC sci-fi plays, more about relationships and people than concepts. Both plays contrast the society of the future with the conventions of English society as it was then, as well as the differences between relationships. They also largely rely on Peter Firth's endearing performance to draw in the viewer, particularly since he seems to know remarkably little about how to survive in the present day for a man whose job it is to know all about the past.
Since their original airings, both plays have been repeated several times and are available on DVD as well (for a mere £6, too). But you can watch them both below. Enjoy! Don't forget, if you like them, buy them so that the creators are rewarded.
As we showed recently, every so often, a mainstream US TV channel will take a break from its usual agnostic programming to make a play for the Christian crowd. Whether it's Touched by an Angel, Eli Stone or Saving Grace, suddenly sinners see the light and the Truth of His word is revealed. It'll never be exactly according to any particular denomination's beliefs and even the question of whether it's a He or a She is up for grabs; there may even be an atheist's 'get out clause' of 'maybe it's a brain condition causing this'; but the general principle - do what God wants and none of things He doesn't - remains constant.
Save Me is like a slightly more comedic, slightly less offensive Saving Grace. In common with Eli Stone, it sees an ordinary American sinner - in this case Anne Heche, playing a former weather girl and party girl - discovers after nearly dying that she is to be a prophet of the Lord and spread His word, all while polishing up her fornicating, stealing, drinking act.
Manna from Heaven for religious viewers, you might think, but the only proof you'll find of a loving God in this particular comedy black hole is Alex Breckenridge. Here's a trailer.
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A UK media blog focusing on the best scripted TV from around the world, with daily news, views, exclusive reviews and good conversation. There's a bit of a bias towards the latest and greatest US TV, but we also cover Scandinavian, Canadian, European and Antipodean TV, as well as UK TV ranging from new Doctor Who to old Z Cars, and BBC4 to S4C.
Add in film, theatre, art, books, events, competitions and even weekly reviews of Wonder Woman comics, and you've (hopefully) got officially the fourth best blog on the web for media lovers. Oh yes, and there's The Barrometer, the ultimate guide to quality TV.
Praise for the blog Cision: fourth most important UK TV blog Blogging Edge: Blogger running Britain 2013
"For most of us watching the telly of an evening is a way to wind down and relax, but for Rob Buckley it’s his blogging bread and butter. With reviews of cult classics and up and coming US and Brit television shows, The Medium is Not Enough is fast becoming essential reading for TV buffs, with over 50,000 hits a month."
"The Medium Is Not Enough is a light-hearted look at TV, often from the US, but also from the UK. With varied, well-written content, the blog features healthy engagement and features well in search engines."
"Billing itself as 'officially the fourth most popular UK TV blog', there are several whimsical regulars here that could help it climb as high as number three…"
I'm Rob Buckley, a freelance journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of, although you might have heard me on Radio 5 Live's Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I've edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for trade magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider and the equally short-lived Death Ray and Filmstar magazines; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it "web site for urban hedonists" The Tribe. I'm freelance now and have contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network and TV Scoop.