Calm, calm

Thursday, June 22, 2006 by

Alan Bleasdale showed up on Radio 4′s Front Row the other night to plug the DVD release of his trio of Channel 4 dramas, GBHJake’s Progress and Melissa. Fortunately the man was in the mood for being reasonably talkative. Unfortunately the man asking him the questions was Mark Lawson, who as usual conspired to avoid asking anything of consequence and instead sought to use the time to unearth desperately uninteresting and hopelessly tangential “themes” and “ideas”.

The most interesting moment in the interview came when Bleasdale was discussing Running Scared, the never-filmed epic he’d penned for the BBC and pencilled in for transmission in 2001. Clearly still bitter about the way this project was killed in such an arbitrary fashion, the man revealed he’d conceived and written the piece as the third in a series of turn-of-the-decade “state of the nation” pieces, completing the sequence begun with Boys From the Blackstuff and continued with GBH.

Heaven knows what forces combined to deem Running Scared not worth making, but the decision must rank as one of the most misguided of recent BBC history. You can only wonder what was considered a more worthwhile investment at the time - Tinsel TownOperation Good Guys?

Anyway, at least GBH is finally out on DVD, giving an excuse (were one necessary) to watch the series all over again, and to state once more how it is indisputably the best drama Channel 4 has ever screened.


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