Michael Murray is an ambitious and charismatic politician, Jim Nelson is a much loved headmaster of a local school for disturbed children. When the paths of these two men cross, things are ...
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Jim plans a summer holiday that avoids bridges. Meanwhile, the beautiful Barbara Douglas seems more interested in Michael's past than in his advances, even visiting his mother. To make matters worse,...
Thanks to Mr. Weller, Jim finally has something he can use against Michael: his enemy's old school records. But Barbara would like to get her hands on them as well. Tormented by messages purportedly ...
A scheduling mixup means two groups of old-timers have reserved the same bar for a party on the same night. The situation is trickier than expected since the bar is in Liverpool, and one ... See full summary »
Michael Murray is an ambitious and charismatic politician, Jim Nelson is a much loved headmaster of a local school for disturbed children. When the paths of these two men cross, things are destined never to be the same again. Written by
'GBH' set a formidable standard for TV drama to follow when it was first shown on Channel 4 in 1991, and nothing managed to better it. It is, superficially, the story of two men. The first is Michael Murray (Robert Lindsay), the brash leader of the council of an unnamed Northern city (but blatantly inspired by the Derek Hatton regime in 1980s Liverpool- only Hatton was never this fascinating!). Murray is, it seems a man who runs the town like a gangster and a 'baddie'. The other is Jim Nelson (Michael Palin in his best ever dramatic performance) the idealistic headmaster of a school for special needs children). The arena is set for a funny two-hour film about politicians and the common man. But 'GBH' is 11 hours long; we are taken into the deepest recesses of the two protagonists' minds- Murray is hounded by a memory from his schooldays and even in his brief moment of triumph suddenly shouts 'I wish I was a good man!' Nelson, although standing up to Murray, becomes shocked at his own courage, which leads to him seeking psychiatric help. Meanwhile, the scope of the series widens from local to national, with both men caught in a plot of ever-increasing complexity where our feelings for characters deepen with the revelations about them onscreen. Robert Young directs the series with astonishing cinematic flair and Alan Bleasdale shows again why he is as good a television writer as Dennis Potter, if not better. The incredible scope of the series puts it in the same league as the greatest mini-series of all, 'Edge of Darkness'. It encompasses heartbreaking tragedy (the electrocution scene) with hilarious comedy (Murray, stricken with a twitch and a 'Strangelove' arm, trying to find condoms in a hotel full of 'Doctor Who' fans) with consummate ease. It remains hard to find nowadays- the discontinued VHS release has been sold for exorbitant amounts - but it remains the jewel of 90s television and is not to be missed if you get the chance to see it.
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