Dennis Potter cuts up the “popular newspapers” in the one about the old boy on staff with a rather chequered career hitting rock bottom shortly before retirement, the flirt is he’s almost an item.
It comes with its own television critic reviewing the thing at last, a perfect rendition and just what Bosley Crowther of the New York Times always wrote when newspapers were depicted satirically in the cinema.
“A Tabloid Story”.
Play for Today
A drama about model railroad trains and wifely passion, a bit like Angels Are So Few and Brimstone and Treacle on the American side, Albee and Inge, imaginary, not real.
A fine middle theme on mushrooms taxes the actors something fierce to keep a straight face.
Subsequently remade as Track 29 (dir. Nicolas Roeg) to great effect.
Play for Today
The son-in-law is a necessary evil (Kierkegaard) and must be coated with pleasantness (Andrews), without him you get the disaster as pictured.
Dennis Potter wrote it, the BBC made it, very ably, but it wasn’t televised for ten years, inexplicably.
What the Butler Saw
A Will Hay comedy, thanks to Dinsdale Landen’s representation, comprising a simple farce with its own gloss of psychological import, and altogether in effect like an academic treatise of the worst sort upon a work of literature held classic, so-and-so’s new biography of Keats, for example, or a paper on Potter.
Quite mundane, the psychiatrist who runs a mental home attempts a dalliance with the new secretary, his wife (whose “lesbian coven” admits her on the grounds that her husband is a woman) enters the office unexpectedly, and there it is, a government inspector whose brief is madness makes a call, it’s off like the Derby.
Davis is well up on this, for the BBC.