Foreign Countries #21: Play for Today: Brimstone and Treacle (1976/1987)

The visitation drama has formed a lasting sub-genre in plays and it's not hard to see why, a stranger intruding in a home/family unit is both a simple and effective dramatic device. It is also straightforward and relatively cheap to stage. Nikolai Gogol's The Government Inspector (1836) and An Inspector Calls (1945) by JB Priestley … Continue reading Foreign Countries #21: Play for Today: Brimstone and Treacle (1976/1987)

Foreign Countries #20: West Country Tales: The Breakdown/The Beast (1982)

When I was ten, my parents moved us from urban Essex to rural Norfolk. I spent my adolescent years wishing I was as far away from this new county as I could get, lazily describing the reason for this as simple boredom. Nothing ever happened in a Norfolk village that would interest a proud urbanite … Continue reading Foreign Countries #20: West Country Tales: The Breakdown/The Beast (1982)

The Man from Another Place #5: Quatermass and the Pit (1958/9)

The BBC has decided that now is the moment to put an old TV series about negative outside influence, racism, uncomfortable truths, incompetent government, and large-scale social unrest on iPlayer. Never mind about genre, the BBC serial Quatermass and the Pit is one of the finest pieces of television ever made and you can watch … Continue reading The Man from Another Place #5: Quatermass and the Pit (1958/9)

Foreign Countries #19: The Mad Death (1983)

The great thing about trawling through old British telly is there’s always something new to discover. Some long forgotten programme you’ve been completely unware of.  The not so great thing about trawling through old British telly is there’s often a reason these programmes have been long forgotten. So when Simply Media announced the latest batch … Continue reading Foreign Countries #19: The Mad Death (1983)

Foreign Countries #18: Worlds Beyond: The Eye of Yemanja (1987)

I've been watching Evil Genius (2018) this week, a truly extraordinary story of an investigation into a pizza delivery man robbing a bank before being killed by a home-made bomb secured round his neck, and where the trail leads the FBI. Real life crime documentaries are certainly in fashion at the moment. Real life stories … Continue reading Foreign Countries #18: Worlds Beyond: The Eye of Yemanja (1987)

Foreign Countries #17: Shadows of Fear: The Death Watcher (1971)

Every time my wife watches a mid-eighties Top of the Pops repeat on BBC Four these days I feel the need to point out the portion of Bernard Lodge’s slit scan effect created for the Doctor Who titles in 1973. And I do mean every time. Those titles that ran from 1973 to 1980, accompanied … Continue reading Foreign Countries #17: Shadows of Fear: The Death Watcher (1971)

Foreign Countries #16: The Possession of Joel Delaney (1972)

This month (February 2018) the BFI are celebrating the work of pioneering director Waris Hussein. His CV reads as a parade of some of the most groundbreaking TV series in the UK including Suffragette serial Shoulder to Shoulder (1974), Edward and Mrs Simpson (1978) and taboo-smashing Aids crisis drama Intimate Contact (1987). A success in … Continue reading Foreign Countries #16: The Possession of Joel Delaney (1972)