Sunday 26 January 2014

When does a film become "period" in Australia?

A long-standing mate who runs a TV production company in Australia is passing through London this week and we caught up for lunch today. In addition to selling his programmes, he is looking for small-budget films to make. I gently suggested that he might be interested in Blind Mike, a music-laden screenplay that I had written, inspired by Grantley Dee, the famous Australian pop singer  and the world's first blind DJ. He couldn't remember Grantley and in any case, "we don't have a market for period films". "What do you mean 'period films'?" I responded with some astonishment, "this was in the 1960s!"  "But that was last century, mate!" he said dismissively.

Thursday 2 January 2014

TV: changing social attitudes

My wife and I have just finished watching a re-run on BBC4 of the wonderful comedy series Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads. It was a laugh-out-loud series in which the humour had worn extremely well, despite it being first broadcast 40 years ago. But there were occasions -- particularly in the final episode -- when we were taken aback by comments that would not get past script editors today. Example: would a comedy be produced in this age in which homosexuals were routinely referred to as "poofs"? Most unlikely. And would there be scenes in which it was made to appear normal for young men to drink several pints of beer and a couple of whisky "shorts" -- then go out and drive away from the pub in a car? I doubt it.

Still, with those reservations, I thank the BBC for giving viewers another chance to watch and enjoy this fine series.It was high-class, finely-tuned comedy.