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Seeing the Blossom: Two Interviews and a Lecture [Paperback]

Dennis Potter

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Book Description

6 Jun 1994
Contains the interview between Dennis Potter and Melvyn Bragg conducted on 5 April 1994 on Channel 4 television. Potter knew he had only a few weeks to live so the discussion is of great poignancy and power. Their conversation records Potter's honest dissection of his life and work. This book also contains Potter's celebrated James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture at the Edinburgh Film Festival in 1993 and an earlier BBC2 television interview.

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About the Author

Dennis Potter was born in 1935 in Gloucestershire. After National Service he won a place at New College, Oxford where he read Philosophy, Politics and Economics. He became one of Britain's most accomplished and acclaimed dramatists. His plays for television include Blue Remembered Hills (1979), Brimstone and Treacle (commissioned in 1975 but banned until 1987), the series Pennies from Heaven (1978), The Singing Detective (1986), Blackeyes (1989) and Lipstick on Your Collar (1993). He also wrote novels, stage plays and screenplays. Seeing the Blossom, his final television interview, was published in 1994. He died in June 1994.

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book on Dennis Potter. 28 Nov 2002
By Jason Parkes - Published on
There have been a few hack-jobs bookwise since Potter's death in 1994- that have focused on the typical associations made between his art and life (not necessarily true) and the gossip that justifies the publication of most biographies. Seeing the Blossom, alternately, is the best book to arrive after Potter's sad demise.
The book is subtitled 'Two interviews, a Lecture and a Story'- the main interview (from which the book title stems) is the key element here- coming from a famous TV interview screened on UK's Channel 4. This interview took place on leather chairs (as seen on the cover of this book) on a bare set between long time advocate Lord Melvyn Bragg (who supplies the introduction) and a terminally-diseased Potter- who had to break off from time to time to swig morphine from a flask. Despite the obvious trauma and pain which Potter (and to a degree Bragg) is in, the interview was amusing, informative and illuminating. I think that anyone who has problems with death (don't we all?) should read or watch this interview- as it seems the closest Western Civilisation at present can get to death are entertaining autopsies in London or Six Feet Under- this clearly will not do!
In the interview Potter's 'last words' (excepting the plays Karaoke & Cold Lazarus) move backwards and forwards over his life and career- this notion of memory locates itself more in the universe of Samuel Beckett than Proust, the great quote here being: 'And we forget or tend to forget that life can only be defined in the present tense, it is IS, and it is NOW only. I mean, as much as we would like to call back yesterday and indeed yearn to , and ache to sometimes, we can't, it's in us but we can't actually, it's not there in front of us'- Potter mentions his version of God (that relates very much to his play Son of Man), his childhood, works like Blackeyes that were censured by the tabloids (who trade on diluted-pornography in this country) and his fears for the BBC and TV in general (borne out by the digital expansion and the formulaic drivel on TV these days).
The other works here include the James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture from 1993- which will be of interest to those studying media/television as it demonstrates how adventerous television like The Singing Detective & Twin Peaks has been largely abandoned (and the British film industry has all but ceased to exist). There is also an interview with BBC-head Alan Yentob (from 1987) and Potter's last short story, Last Pearls (which very much relates to the Bragg interview and Karaoke/Cold Lazarus). Seeing the Blossom is an excellent book that should appeal to those interested in what TV can do and what this great English dramatist did...
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