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)

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 #15: Night Voices: The Hospice (1987)*

Adaptations are curious beasts, they can bring a story to a far greater audience yet are subject to the demands of their new medium. While this can often necessitate simplifying the story, it isn't always to the adaptation's detriment. Are there many people who prefer Peter Benchley's novel Jaws (1974) to Stephen Spielberg's 1975 film? … Continue reading Foreign Countries #15: Night Voices: The Hospice (1987)*

Foreign Countries Christmas Special: K-9 and Company: A Girl’s Best Friend (1981)

Spin off TV programmes can be a difficult sell, they rely on the success of their parent programme to be born but must serve a different purpose to survive on their own. Secondary characters need to be capable of stepping up to lead and like any other programme the central premise must be strong enough. … Continue reading Foreign Countries Christmas Special: K-9 and Company: A Girl’s Best Friend (1981)

Foreign Countries #13: The Orchard End Murder (1980)

Visiting a cinema's rubbish these days isn't it? By 'cinema' I of course mean the 'civilian cinema' of  a multiplex or similar. This rather snobbish observation reflects the barrage of adverts and mind draining trailers one sits through before the film starts and having to share the auditorium with any number of patrons who display … Continue reading Foreign Countries #13: The Orchard End Murder (1980)