Top positive review
148 of 149 people found this helpful
on 10 November 2009
These television films reveal not only what a versatile writer Alan Bennett is but what a loss he is to the medium, since he has written little for it since 1991. His northern roots are well in evidence in the early A Day Out (1972)(about a Halifax cycling club before and after the First World War) and Sunset Across The Bay (1975)(about a Leeds couple whose retirement to Morecambe proves far from being what they hoped). Both films have a rare, understated poignancy. The later, more sophisticated and worldly Bennett is exemplified by his two plays about the Cambridge spies : An Englishman Abroad (1983) and A Question of Attribution (1991), the latter surely being unique in having the Queen herself as a sympathetically-portrayed character. More uncharacteristic in style is the strange and disturbing Kafka-inspired The Insurance Man (1986). There are one or two weaker pieces but overall this is a splendid collection, distinguished by memorable performances by, among others, Patricia Routledge, James Fox, Alan Bates and (as 'HMQ') Prunella Scales.