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)*

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)