Tuesday, 27 October 2009


Kudos to Mr Steve Turnball, the Jack Bauer of the blogosphere, who is blogging in (almost) real time about the festival.

Make sure you go over there.



Monday, 26 October 2009

Shh it's oh so quiet

So no. I'm not in Cheltenham. There are three main reasons for that.

1. Couldn't afford it
2. Where does one get kosher food in Cheltenham - taking a load with me was hardly an option
3. The physical intensity of the festival, to get the most out of it, seemed a bit daunting. I could've done the two day ticket. But all four might have been a bit much.

So here are am. Is there anyone still out there in the blogosphere?

But it got me thinking that this is what is so great about screenwriting blogs as a resource etc. Of course I'm dying to know what happens at the festival. And of course reading about it is not the same as being there. But this is where a community spirit really comes into play.

So it's up to you - those who have been lucky enough to get along. Have a brilliant, fun, fantastic week and when you have suitably recovered, shine a reflective light down upon the rest of us with some hopefully positive news about the industry we all love.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

The Culture Show

Interesting first half hour of the Culture Show tonight, about the London Film Festival, the state of the industry in the recession, with particular reference to getting moderate budget movies off the ground, and then an interview with Michael Palin.

After that it was all about whether professional critics have a future in the age of the bloggers and some weird art stuff - so I tuned out. It then finished with a quick interview with David Morrisey.

Check it out here.

Or catch the repeat, late Saturday night

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

To debate or not to debate

In the final season of the West Wing, VP candidate Leo McGarry prepares for his televised debate. Rumours abound that Leo is going to be awful. The Republicans gleefully await their man wiping the floor with him. But as the debate begins, it's clear that Leo is about to remind everyone that he is the smartest character in the show and turn in a very impressive performance. One bemused Republican turns to another and shrugs, "well, I never said he was going to stumble onto the stage and full over the podium." (or something like that.)

Tomorrow night Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party, will appear on BBC1's Question Time. Despite the protests, the arguments for allowing this are as follows.

Firstly, that the BNP must be confronted by reasonable, rational politicians in open debate, and shown up to be the white supremacists that they really are. The trouble with this, is it assumes the other panelists will win the debate. My Rabbi describes Richard Dawkins as a brilliant fool. He's not being disrespectful. What he means is, as a religious minister, he is obviously not going to agree with a militant atheist, but there is still acknowledgment for the power of Dawkins' mind and thinking. Just because you stand for the exact opposite of someone, does not make the other person an idiot.

Secondly, that banning the BNP will drive it underground and make it more attractive to the lunatic fringe. For one thing, no one is talking about banning the BNP. Banning a political party is a democratic nightmare. But there is a difference between not banning something and actively giving it a platform. And more to the point, it is not the lunatic fringe you have to worry about. They already lap this stuff up! But what you are doing is legitimising a party in the eyes of the undecided working class, middle class and upper classes. Because don't think it just appeals to the uneducated working class (whatever that means.) Sir Oswald Mosley was aristocracy - and so were many of his supporters.

Thirdly, A YouGov survey for the Sunday Times found that 63% of the public support the BBC’s invitation, compared to 23% who do not. Well that settles it then. Because the general public, who would vote for the return of the death penalty if you'd let them, are often the source of the moral compass a society should aspire too - just like in thirties Germany or Ancient Rome.

I've always tried to keep politics off this blog, but as this concerns the BBC, it seemed fair game. And I have to say the corporation continues to puzzle me. The same body that is often accused of playing safe with drama, will still seemingly take controversial decisions like this very lightly. A society suffering economic crisis, massive unemployment and a general distrust of mainstream politics, are all ripe conditions for the far right. We've been here before and we'll be here again. It often starts with blaming the Jews, and will stretch to anyone who can be labeled an immigrant - be they Asian, Muslim or Black - apparently even if, like Ashley Cole, you were born in Stepney.

I haven't decided if I'm going to watch Question Time. The controversy will probably mean the viewing figures get a bump. (Maybe this was the BBC's intention all along - although I've never quite understood BBC obsession with viewing figures - my license fee doesn't seem to go up or down accordingly.) But I just hope, that like the Republicans in the West Wing, the BBC are not scratching their heads looking at each other Thursday evening, one turning to the other and saying "well, I never said he was going to whip his shirt off and reveal an American History X style swastika tattoo."

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Things we noticed watching tv this week special: Phil Redmond's Huw Wheldon Memorial Lecture

I was flicking channels late on Monday night and came across this on BBC2. The lecture was given last month but I don't recall any blog coverage about it then. And I certainly don't think it had been broadcast already. So I was quite pleased to stumble onto it.

I couldn't find it on iplayer so I was going to do one of my scatter gun like note taking. But a little bit more research later and I found the whole lecture, word for word, could be read here. I certainly recommend taking the time to do so.

But if you haven't got time for that, the slightly shocking long and short of it can be read about here.

Plenty of interesting food for thought. All comments welcome of course.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Old news

I'm officially old news, which will no doubt please my number one fan. Congratulations to Claire Tonkin from Australia for winning the Sir Peter Ustinov Television Scriptwriting Award 2009.

Commiseration to Michelle and all the other entrants. For anyone who doesn't turn thirty in the next twelve months or so, next year is another chance.

I really enjoyed the part I played on the jury and I'm planning a few things as soon as it's possible, which hopefully writers will find useful for next time around.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

James Moran lite

And here's me thinking you had to be really successful and write for really cool shows to be abused on your own blog - a bit like, say, James Moran.

But apparently not.

Good to see people are still reading my blog posts from back in July.