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Some of the best articles on the blog. Typically, these have a picture. It's a low entrance requirement, I know.


June 5, 2013

The Wednesday Play: Diane (1975)

Posted on June 5, 2013 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Diane by Alan Clarke

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. 

May 29, 2013

The Wednesday Play: The Flipside of Dominick Hide (1980)/Another Flip for Dominick (1982)

Posted on May 29, 2013 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

DominickHide.jpg

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.

May 28, 2013

Review: Save Me 1x1-1x2 (NBC)

Posted on May 28, 2013 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Save Me, NBC

In the US: Thursdays, 8/7c, NBC

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.

Continue reading "Review: Save Me 1x1-1x2 (NBC)"

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