2 items from 2010
Ranald Graham, who has died of motor neurone disease, aged 69, made his name as a writer of the gritty television crime dramas The Sweeney and The Professionals, which were among the first series to be made entirely on film. In The Sweeney (1975-78), the two Flying Squad officers – Det Insp Jack Regan (John Thaw) and Det Sgt George Carter (Dennis Waterman) – nailed crooks by whatever means they thought necessary. Screeching car chases, punch-ups and hard drinking were par for the course in a programme noted for the violence and bad language perpetrated as much by the law enforcers as the lawbreakers.
With The Sweeney, Graham was in the company of writers of the stature of Troy Kennedy Martin, Allan Prior and Trevor Preston, but he made his own mark. His first script, for the episode Queen's Pawn, was an early »
- Anthony Hayward
Film locations often make for surprisingly good drama. Charles Wood's Veterans took us behind the scenes of The Charge of the Light Brigade. Here, Oliver Cotton's witty and perceptive play uses the shooting of a costume epic in rain-drenched Spain to explore British and American attitudes to life, art and the waiting game of making movies.
Cotton, who clearly knows the territory, creates a series of dramatic reversals. Two actors, the American Brad and English Stuart, are cooped up in a trailer waiting to shoot a scene in a film about Cortés's conquest of Mexico. But it is the seemingly brash Brad who can quote reams of Marlowe, while Stuart is momentarily stumped when asked to recite Shakespeare. And while Stuart attacks the status-consciousness of American actors and the imperialist pretensions of Hollywood, it is Brad who turns out to be made of the right stuff. »
- Michael Billington
2 items from 2010
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