The Value of Myth #4: Doomwatch: Tomorrow, the Rat (1970), Beasts: During Barty’s Party (1976)

The revelation a few years ago that the Black Death might have been caused by marmots and gerbils has done little to rehabilitate the reputation of rats in Western society. I imagine this is because few people have had to gingerly walk around a bunch of great gerbils feasting out of bins while taking a … Continue reading The Value of Myth #4: Doomwatch: Tomorrow, the Rat (1970), Beasts: During Barty’s Party (1976)

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 #14: Late Night Horror: The Corpse Can’t Play (1968)

Paddy Russell's death on 2 November saw the end of one of television's true pioneers, the first female floor manager at the BBC and the first woman to direct Doctor Who.¬†You can read Toby Hadoke's obituary for Paddy in The Guardian here. She cut her teeth under legendary television producer and director Rudolph Cartier on … Continue reading Foreign Countries #14: Late Night Horror: The Corpse Can’t Play (1968)

Foreign Countries #11: The Frighteners: The Manipulators (1972)

Sure, Flash Gordon (1980) and Morons from Outer Space (1985) may only ever been seen as cult favourites but when you mention Mike Hodges, there's usually one film you think of, and it stars Michael Caine........ Get Carter's uncompromising style and informal camera work betrays Hodges' background in TV documentary. But when it comes to … Continue reading Foreign Countries #11: The Frighteners: The Manipulators (1972)

Foreign Countries #10: Drama Playhouse: The Incredible Robert Baldick: Never Come Night (1972)

Question: what do Steptoe and Son (1962-74), Porridge (1974-77) and The Onedin Line (1971-80) all have in common? If you answered "they all featured work from Production Designer David Chandler" then congratulations on being Andrew Pixley. If however you answered "they all started life as a one-off in an anthology series" then you might have … Continue reading Foreign Countries #10: Drama Playhouse: The Incredible Robert Baldick: Never Come Night (1972)

The Value of Myth #3: Play of the Week: South (1959), On Trial: Oscar Wilde (1960)

As it's the Pride in London Parade this Saturday, my latest Value of Myth post examines gay-themed TV drama in the years before the Sexual Offences Act 1967, which decriminalised private homosexual acts between consenting men over the age of 21, in England and Wales anyway. Homosexuality in Scotland wasn't decriminalised until 1980. In Northern … Continue reading The Value of Myth #3: Play of the Week: South (1959), On Trial: Oscar Wilde (1960)

Foreign Countries #8: ITV Sunday Night Theatre: A.D.A.M. (1973)

As previously discussed, the 70s saw the white heat of technological optimism replaced by something rather darker as the world grew into a less secure place and people's respect for authority deteriorated. While a number of films around this time took in the sweeping, epic scale of an imagined dystopia, television had its own, occasionally … Continue reading Foreign Countries #8: ITV Sunday Night Theatre: A.D.A.M. (1973)