sun 27/09/2020

tv

Alan Plater, thinking aloud

Adam Sweeting Dramatist Alan Plater, enjoying a good yack

Alan Plater's final drama for television, Joe Maddison's War, is due to be screened on ITV this autumn. Fittingly, it gave the Jarrow-born Plater the opportunity to revisit his background in the north-east. The story is set on Tyneside during World War Two, and reflects the impact of the war on a closely knit group of working-class families. The cast looks a little like Plater's own extended family, since it includes Geordieland stalwarts Robson Green, Kevin Whately and Trevor Fox (...

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Alan Plater, 1935-2010

Jasper Rees Plater's republic: the cast of Z Cars

They don't make television writers like Alan Plater any more. He entered the profession when there was still an audience that could be relied upon to sit down in their millions and watch challenging drama from strands such as Armchair Theatre and The Wednesday Play. He made his name in that great academy of small-screen writing, Z Cars. Other than Dennis Potter, it's difficult to think of a writer who, though he also produced half a dozen novels and many stage plays...

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Interview: Martin Amis on 'The Whole Book-To-Film Department'

Jasper Rees

Martin Amis always had his own idea of who should play John Self, the anti-heroic slob narrator of Money. "The only regret I have in the whole book-to-film department,” he told me, “is that Gary Oldman never played John Self. We had a meeting with Gary and he was so unbelievably good, and so instinctively got the character and made me laugh so violently when he did it, that I thought that was a great shame.” Oldman was even prepared to go the extra mile.

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Latin Music USA, BBC Four

sue Steward Los Tigres del Norte, Grammy-winning Tex-Mex Superstars

Latin Music USA is a long-overdue exploration of the Latino influence on American popular music. The four-part BBC Four Friday-night series zooms in on the bicultural American populations rooted in Cuba, Puerto Rico and Mexico, but living in their original entry points, Miami, New York, LA and the Tex-Mex border. The series examines the lifestyles and politics behind the music and their impact in the US beyond Spanish-speaking neighbourhoods. “Each programme looks and feels...

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Interview: Jonathan Meades, Auteur-at-Large

Adam Sweeting

In his forbidding dark suit and heavy-framed sunglasses, declaiming his artfully wrought texts to camera with the ominous certainty of a hanging judge, Jonathan Meades is one of TV’s most unmistakable presences. While it may be lamentable that we don’t see him more often, it’s miraculous, in the current climate, that we see him at all.

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Christopher Nupen on Filming Music and Musicians

Hilary Whitney Nupen at work: 'Filmmaking is storytelling'

"What is it about Schubert’s music that has such power 180 years on?  It has nothing to do with who he slept with or what he had for breakfast – it’s the work," insists filmmaker Christopher Nupen, whose series of films about composers is currently showing on BBC Four. "If you’re dragged towards the quotidian and the sensational, you’ll be pulled away from that elusive essence in the work that nobody has ever succeeded in explaining, but which remains one of the highest expressions of the human...

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Television 2010: Looking Ahead

Gerard Gilbert Edie Falco plays a pill-popping sister in BBC Two's upcoming Nurse Jackie

After every bubble comes a bust, and if I had shares in the reality television boom that came to define TV in the Noughties, I’d be on the phone to my broker right now. 2010 won’t be the first Big Brother-free year since the last century, because first we have some celebrities debasing themselves in January, and a last bunch of wannabes having their three months of Heat magazine cover stories over the summer, but the world-dominating Endemol juggernaut has had the good grace...

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My Job Directing Cranford

Simon Curtis

When Cranford was first shown in 2007 on a Sunday night and then repeated the following weekend, those first two showings got over 10 million people watching each week. You obviously pay attention to that. And because the first series wasn’t a straight adaptation of a finished book but based on a set of short stories by...

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Interview: Anne-Marie Duff plays Margot Fonteyn

Sheila Johnston

Anne-Marie Duff doesn't really resemble Margot Fonteyn. Blonde, fresh-faced and blue-eyed, she has nothing of the exotic, olive, Latin complexion that Fonteyn inherited from her Brazilian grandfather. And she never learned ballet, even if, with her long, lean frame and elegant swan neck, she looks more like a dancer than the rather more compact Peggy Hookham of Reigate (as Fonteyn started out in life).

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Cast Offs: a comedy drama about disability

theartsdesk Cast Offs: from left, Tom, Gabby, April, Will, Carrie and Dan

Channel 4 put six disabled people on a desert island for three months to see if they can fend for themselves. That’s the startling premise of Cast Offs - a new drama co-written by Alex Bulmer, Tony Roche and Jack Thorne. Does team writing really work? And can you get laughs out of such sensitive material. theartsdesk invited the three writers to interview one another.

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