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4 items from 2011

Richard Morant obituary

14 December 2011 4:05 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Actor best known as the doctor in Poldark

The dark good looks of the actor Richard Morant, who has died of an aneurism aged 66, were familiar to television viewers over several decades. For a while, he was cast in young romantic lead roles before settling down as a character actor.

He found plenty of drama as the dashing doctor Dwight Enys, who commits himself to tending to the poor in the 1970s BBC's serialisation of Winston Graham's Poldark novels.

While Ross Poldark (Robin Ellis) is marrying his servant, Demelza (Angharad Rees), after losing his fiancee to his cousin, the doctor is himself setting pulses racing amid the wilds of 18th-century Cornwall. Although Morant handed over the role to Michael Cadman after just one series (1975-76), his was a memorable portrayal of a character who has an affair with a married actress – resulting in her husband murdering her – and falls for an heiress. »

- Anthony Hayward

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From Derek Jarman to Captain Scott: the soundtracks of Simon Fisher Turner

17 November 2011 4:05 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Simon Fisher Turner was an actor, a punk rocker and a pop singer before he found his true calling as a composer of experimental soundtracks

He has had a 40-year career spanning music and film. But for millions, Simon Fisher Turner is an artist encountered only unconsciously, via a BBC 1 channel ident. His soundtrack of piano and voice accompanying a helicopter flying over the sea to land on Bishop's Rock lighthouse has featured heavily in the broadcaster's schedule since 2008. Yet if its ubiquity seems to taunt the relative obscurity of the composer, the aquatic element, at least, seems to be in keeping with his tastes. "I love being by the sea and around water," says Turner, who was brought up in Cornwall by an archaeologist mother and submariner father. It was while away with Hms Otter that Captain Turner bought his son a tape recorder and started a fascination with field recordings that still abides. »

- Luke Turner

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Loach's Save the Children: the film that bit the hand that fed it

1 September 2011 4:36 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

BFI Southbank is marking the director's 75th birthday with the unveiling of his controversial 1969 documentary, which the children's charity funded but then wanted banned

This month, BFI Southbank in London marks Ken Loach's 75th birthday, and his 50 years in the business, with a colossal new retrospective. The centre-piece is perhaps the unveiling of his "lost" 1969 television documentary, partly bankrolled by the Save the Children charity. It is an exhilarating experience. Perhaps Loach scholars will come to see it as an early, brutalist masterpiece, uncompromisingly angry and disdainful.

Never in the history of documentary film-making was the feeding hand bitten so spectacularly, so gloriously. To say that the Save the Children charity come badly out of the film, which they themselves had bankrolled, was the understatement of 1969, or any year. After a ferocious legal row, Save the Children actually demanded Loach's film be banned. Loach and his producer Tony Garnett »

- Peter Bradshaw

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Ken Loach: 'the ruling class are cracking the whip'

29 August 2011 2:19 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

The leftwing film director talks about the riots, his early work on television and the documentary he made for Save the Children 40 years ago that is about to be screened for the first time

About halfway through our interview, I call Ken Loach a sadist. The mild-mannered, faintly mole-like film director blinks hard, chuckles, and carries on. We are discussing a key aspect of his film-making: the element of surprise. Loach has spent his career depicting ordinary people, telling working-class stories as truthfully as possible, and he works distinctively – filming each scene in order, often using non-professional actors, encouraging improvisation.

They don't tend to see a full script in advance, and move through his films as confused as the audience about what lurks around the next corner. I ask Loach which surprise was most memorable, and he laughs incongruously through a few examples. He talks about an incident when an actor walked through a door, »

- Kira Cochrane

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