Friday, August 17, 2012

You know summer's effectively over when TV autumn schedules kick in, but the return of great drama is a reasonable price to pay for these slowly, inevitably, darkening evenings. Jimmy McGovern's Accused series restarted with a powerful story of transvestite Tracie, brilliantly portrayed by Sean Bean who overcame the need for a melodrama to fit the title, and made this a hugely moving human story of loneliness and struggle to survive the tawdry world of intolerance.
And The Best of Men was a moving tribute to the 'father of the Paralympics', Dr Ludwig Guttmann, a German-Jewish neurologist who revolutionised treatment of spinal injuries during WWII and in 1948 initiated the Stoke Mandeville Games. Brilliant performances, especially from Eddie Marsan and Rob Brydon, and a script which though necessarily simplifying roles never fell into clich├ęd stereotypes, showing with relentless clarity the existing responses the doctor had to battle with: sentimental {"My job is to make them comfortable!") and dismissive ("Moribund incurables - need a wet-nurse, that's all") And as the men's lives change without sedation & with return to hope, their own fears became another opposition: "I'll throw myself under a bloody bus" threatens Wynne at the thought of losing his refuge of institutionalised care. "I knew that upper-body strength would come in useful," twinkles the doctor, whose message is never about happy endings, only about reclaiming health ~ "You will have problems. We all do." He scythes through opposition by winning hearts and treading on toes with equal vigour -
- hugely apt timing for the start of 2012 Paralympics, and I'm hoping this inspiring true story will do for the disabled what Danny Boyle did for the NHS, and make it harder for those who control our community to ignore insistent demands for intelligent compassion.

Back in Frome, our local writers are winning gold everywhere: Alison Clink, who's had a busy summer collecting cuttings of her pieces in national magazines and newspapers, submitted her text version of Macbeth to Flash Fiction 500 and promptly won a prize - you can read her script here, and Rosie Finnegan's short play The Girl with the Blue Hair is being revived for the Bradford on Avon Fringe Festival And we're looking ahead to more pub theatre in Frome, and poetry at the Merlin... autumn is shaping up well already.

1 comment:

Esdragon said...

Once again your 2 picks coincide with mine. Accused: put off by the title scrolling through what seemed like another TV desert, I didn't think I'd stay to watch, but was glued right through to the end. But I'd already heard a review of The Best of Men on radio4 Front Row, and pre-decided on this one - wasn't disappointed. Brilliant! as is your review of it. Says everything I'd like to say myself - but better. Fell head-over-heels for Eddie Marsan, and Rob Bryant I'd fallen for long ago.