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Iran and the West (2009)
A riveting three-hour BBC series about the relationship between Iran and the "West" over the last few decades. It clearly sets out the chronological history, but what makes it great are the interviews with major players, including Khatami, Vance, Rafsanjani, de Cuellar, Albright and Larijani. These personal accounts of vital meetings, brinkmanship, exasperation on all sides - even straightforward low comedy - are fascinating. Behind-the-scenes negotiations, shifting allegiances and politicians or diplomats being outflanked by unforeseen events put the familiar (and often baffling) news stories in context, together with great use of archive footage.
I can't recommend it highly enough, especially in the light of current events.
Perfect Strangers (2001)
This is one of the best TV productions of the last ten years. It is being screened on BBC4 as part of the Poliakoff season, and it's a complete delight to see again. The whole cast is terrific. I could watch Gambon just standing in a bus queue.
Poliakoff himself says - a little diffidently - that he wants to make television that people remember. I expect most directors do, but few succeed. I have remembered stills, scenes, even expressions from this drama after five years. Watching it again was like looking through a photo album. It was 'familiar' in more ways than one.
(I've finally worked out that Jason Klamm's perplexing comment on this board is based on the presumption that Stephen Poliakoff's original drama is following on from some late 80's US comedy series. I promise you, the two productions have NO connection apart from the title... not even fifth cousins.)