4 items from 2015
Inside No. 9 returns to BBC Two on Thursday the 26th of March for six more ingenious genre slices of horror, suspense and psychology. Those who were rattled and gripped by the first round of half-hour plays from Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith know to expect to be skilfully sucker-punched with sharp, tricksy writing and well-drawn characters.
Viewers engrossed by the psychological character focus of series one’s Tom & Gerri, the jump scares of series finale The Harrowing, and the unexpected emotional sting of opener Sardines have lots to look forward to from the second series’ first brace of episodes. La Couchette and The 12 Days Of Christine tell the respective stories of a fraught overnight train journey and a woman plagued by a mysterious visitor, featuring guest roles from Mark Benton, »
Writing is not particularly interesting to watch. So television has to do some fancy footwork to keep it visual – such as by having writers never do any work
The novelist Robert Harris recently criticised broadcasters – and especially the BBC – for not doing enough to cover books. This recurrent debate, though, depends on your definition of coverage. Harris seemed to mean publicity, calling for television chat shows dedicated to literature. But for viewers who remember when Play for Today and other strands regularly screened scripts originally written for the medium, TV can sometimes seem too dependent on books.
The big winter dramas on the BBC’s main channels were The Casual Vacancy and Wolf Hall, derived from bestsellers by Jk Rowling and Hilary Mantel respectively, while even ITV, which has no public service remit to support reading, is currently airing a three-part version of Julian Barnes’ 2005 novel Man Booker prize-shortlisted novel Arthur & George. »
- Mark Lawson
Save for a pesky snake problem, the Garden of Eden had a lot going for it, including lush greenery, a farm-to-table diet and a perfect male-female ratio. The post-apocalyptic Eden at the center of Craig Zobel’s “Z for Zachariah” offers many of the same amenities, only here there are two Adams vying for the attention of one Eve, with predictably fraught consequences. It’s a scenario with obvious appeal for Zobel, whose love-it-or-hate-it 2012 “Compliance” subjected a gaggle of characters to a psychological crucible modeled on Stanley Milgram’s controversial obedience experiments. This time, the stakes are even higher — the repopulation of the planet — but the dramatic tension considerably less, in a movie that feels stranded somewhere between serious artistic ambition and the dystopian franchise-building of “The Hunger Games,” “Divergent,” et al.
Like those movies, “Z For Zachariah” also sports a literary pedigree: a posthumously published 1974 novel by Newbery-winning Ya author Robert C. »
- Scott Foundas
Last week, Russell T Davies’ new Channel 4 trio of dramas, Cucumber, Banana and Tofu was launched at London’s posh Barbican centre (followed by an after-party held aptly at – where else – The Gherkin).
The post-screening Q&A, hosted by Boyd Hilton, took in all manner of topics, from Cucumber’s non-sexy look at all things sex, to age, race and sexuality diversity on screen, and the legal challenges of deliberately seeking out gay writers to bring new voices to television.
As the venue couldn’t hold you all, we picked out a few choice bits of what creator and head writer Mr Davies, Producer Nicola Schindler and actor Vincent Franklin had to say about the terrific new set of shows…
4 items from 2015
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