Foreign Countries #25: Dramarama: Spooky: The Keeper (1983)

I'm writing this post in the shadow of Orford Castle on the Suffolk coast. Built sometime between 1165 and 1173 to consolidate Henry II's power in East Anglia, it's probably best known these days for its uniquely designed keep but readers with an interest in such matters may know it more from the climax of Witchfinder … Continue reading Foreign Countries #25: Dramarama: Spooky: The Keeper (1983)

Foreign Countries #23: Mystery and Imagination: Sweeney Todd (1970)

Anyone who watched the recent series The Yorkshire Ripper Files: A Very British Crime Story (2019) will know how misogynistic assumptions can hamper an investigation and an obsession with the killer can reduce their victims to statistics and social judgement that puts part of the blame on to themselves. After all, society says, what were … Continue reading Foreign Countries #23: Mystery and Imagination: Sweeney Todd (1970)

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)

The Value of Myth #6: ITV Playhouse: A Splinter of Ice (1972), Then and Now: Over (1973)

Royal Holloway's ongoing project 'The History of Forgotten Television Drama in the UK’ is currently running ‘Drama She Wrote’, a season of neglected TV dramas by women writers from the ’50s to the ’70s, held at BFI Southbank. You can find more details over on their blog here. The screening on 11 September 2018 was … Continue reading The Value of Myth #6: ITV Playhouse: A Splinter of Ice (1972), Then and Now: Over (1973)

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)

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)*