This week a random run-through of some of the best dramatic writing – whether in TV, film or theatre – that I have enjoyed in the last few months.
INSIDE MEN – fantastic action thriller serial. Beautifully constructed and plotted. Predicated on a series of flashbacks and flash-forwards, this was a great example of dramatic story-telling at its best. Written by Tony Basgallop.
SILK (Series 2) One of the best, most intelligent and morally complex drama series on British TV in the last few years – this maintained the high standard of series one. Another commendable credit for the very talented Peter Moffat.
LINE OF DUTY – police thriller series currently running on BBC2. Not quite up to the standard of his earlier BODIES or CARDIAC ARREST, both of which were ground-breaking, this is still pretty damn good – very strong story-telling, with a great performance by the wonderful Lennie James. Written and also produced by Jed Mercurio.
You can read the ep.1 script on the BBC writers room website
THE NEWSROOM – cracking ‘precinct’ series, written by Aaron Sorkin. An object lesson in writing a compelling, highly intelligent drama series that addresses really interesting themes very entertainingly – in a minimum of sets. The sort of series (cheap but with huge returning potential) that TV commissioning executives are prepared to kill to get their hands on.
THE BRIDGE – this for me has stood out head and shoulders above everything else I’ve seen this year. Absolutely gripping from start to finish. Look and learn – an object lesson in compelling screenwriting at its very best. If you haven’t seen it – treat yourself to the box set.
SEBASTIAN BERGMAN – not quite on a par with ‘The Bridge’, this was still very good – the Scandanavian answer to ‘Cracker’.
ALAN PARTRIDGE – MID MORNING MATTERS – a short comedy that broke all the rules. A 30 minute show in which Alan Partridge delivers his appalling radio phone-in – this was rambling, shapeless, entirely without structure or story – but completely compelling – what a wonderful comic creation he is.
TWENTY TWELVE – written by John Morton – very funny.
Recent highlight was THE WITNESS by Vivienne Franzmann (graduate of the Channel 4 screenwriting course 2011). This was a really excellent piece of writing – accessible, at times very funny, some great characterisations – and some really fascinating ideas at the heart of it. This was on at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs in London and has now finished – but I’d urge you to get hold of the script and have a read. Her first play, MOGADISHU, was equally good. Vivienne’s COMING UP film for Channel 4 will broadcast in the next couple of weeks.
SOCIALISM IS GREAT – stage-play written for the National Theatre Connections scheme by 2012 Channel 4 Screenwriting course graduate Anders Lustgarten. A wry, humorous, hugely perceptive examination of young people in China – torn between the old socialism and the new capitalism. Sounds dry as dust doesn’t it, but it was in fact very entertaining, very funny at the same time as being really thought-provoking.
Where are all the feature films you may well be asking? I wish I knew! Please let me know if there are any feature films I should have seen recently – I’d love to know (PROMETHEUS??)
As a viewer I’m pretty cynical and hard to please. So I surprise myself by being able to identify so many really high-quality, enjoyable and entertaining new shows.
As development producer I know how hard it is to get even really good quality scripts picked up by broadcasters – but at the same time, it’s encouraging to see how many good scripts do make it onto our screens.
Until next week,
All the best
July 20th 2012