Dennis Potter At London Weekend Television [DVD]
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Three television plays by the controversial and award-winning writer, made for ITV in 1980 and available for the first time since the original broadcast. In 'Blade on the Feather', a reclusive writer who lives on a secluded estate is visited by a young man who claims to be an admirer of his work. As the two men get to know each other, it becomes clear that the purpose of the young man's visit is to uncover a dark secret in the writer's past. In 'Rain on the Roof', a dysfunctional couple are being slowly torn apart by adultery and jealousy. When Janet (Cheryl Campbell) starts flirting with the simple-minded Billy (Ewan Stewart) while giving him a reading lesson, as a form of revenge against her philandering husband, Billy begins to take out his own resentments and frustrations against John (Malcolm Stoddard). Finally, in 'Cream in My Coffee', an elderly couple explore the memories of their relationship after they visit the hotel where they first met.
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Top Customer Reviews
At his worst, I think that Dennis Potter's personal bitternesses and prejudices (which are invariably class-based) overwhelm and unbalance his writing. This accounts for much - if not most - of the first two dramas in this collection, 'Blade On The Feather' and 'Rain On The Roof'. However, at his best, he can transcend these things to write something that is genuinely well-observed, penetrating and true. This accounts for 'Cream In My Coffee', the third and best drama in this collection.
All three plays deal with aspects of English life, and the English experience, as seen from Potter's essentially left-wing and self-consciously working class perspective. So, as you might expect, class antagonisms and class-based judgements are very much to the fore. The one exception to this rule is 'Cream In My Coffee' which has an unexpected, and quite sharp, sting in its tail. The package is worth having for this piece alone. Neverthless, all three plays have elements of interest, high production values and good performances, even if the first two do strike too many false notes for my particular taste.
Denholm Elliott is very good in 'Blade On The Feather', as is Ewan Stewart (as the illiterate youth, Billy) in 'Rain On The Roof'. But it's Peggy Ashcroft and Lionel Jeffries in 'Cream In My Coffee' who deliver the really outstanding performances.Read more ›
"Rain" and "Blade" are good but its "Cream" that makes the disc worth getting. It's one of my favourites of Potters work. Prefiguring "The Singing Detective" while being an original work all its own, it has some great performances and is ably directed.
All in all, a brilliant DVD!!!
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