Media

Got A Brain? Keep It To Yourself.

When did having a brain become a liability? It seems everyone made the same friend during the lockdowns; Netflix could do no wrong. The streaming service rendered DVDs obsolete as it kept refreshing its catalogue. It put out a more diverse range of product than any other service. It produced originals, part-funded co-productions and bought […]

The Year In Documentaries

  Just as the literary world yielded some of its best surprises in non-fiction books this year, the top factual films have bested their fictional counterparts in terms of courage and originality. Fiction films have suffered from the black hole created by studio absence, but our attention has been shifted onto far more interesting material. […]

30 Coins: Take The Money & Run With It

  The third lockdown is by far the worst. No sun, nowhere to go, no novelty in being home this time. I don’t know about you but there are only so many hours I can work or do chores or walk around the immediate neighbourhood without wanting to machine gun somebody. Usually King’s Cross is […]

Sixty Years Of Eccentricity

Right now, deserted London looks like every episode of ‘The Avengers’.   It’s the sixtieth anniversary of the series and by way of celebration TV is currently awash with old episodes. Why would such an early TV show continue to exert an influence, or is it pure nostalgia? This year we lost the marvellous Diana […]

Consigned To History: The Concept of Shared Entertainment

More than half of British homes no longer have a dining table. While I hate having my predictions proved correct, it does now seem that the future of western entertainment will be in the home, not the cinema. Netflix has announced its slate of 70 major motion pictures, more than any studio slate could ever […]

The Undoing: How I Knew Whodunnit Before I Saw It

How did a second-rate potboiler become a global phenomenon? (Spoilers galore) This week ‘The Undoing’ undid itself in the final episode of the six-part limited series from HBO. The hybrid murder mystery/courtroom drama, very similar to the much better novel and film ‘Presumed Innocent’ by Scott Turow, is a compendium of scenes from other crime […]

Cinema VS Netflix: A World Of Difference

In my files I have around 20 projects that have been abandoned. Many of these are adaptations of my own published stories and novels. Some are written intended to be feature films, because that’s what we all wanted to do, write films. It’s a fantasy still entertained by British writers; believing that there’s an infrastructure […]

Accent!

There are currently 37 dialects in the UK While we are waiting for the venerable Mr Tim Goodman to un-self-isolate so that the audio version of ‘Oranges & Lemons’ can make its way to its listeners, let’s consider the voice for a few minutes. ‘Accent!’ Max Adrian, the producer in Ken Russell’s ‘The Boy Friend’ […]

Extremes Of English Language

When books are written about slang and colloquial language – and my friend Max Décharné’s delightful ‘Vulgar Tongues: An Alternative History of English Slang’ is one of the best – they tend to miss out a particularly odd form of speech patterns. A kind of ‘extreme English’ that can be heard in the films of the 1950s. […]

Reversing Censorship

When ‘The Book of Forgotten Authors’ was about to go to paperback, my young editor became worried about the lack of BAME authors featured. The book was mainly about postwar paperback writers, and there had been no populist BAME authors working in this field. The ones who wrote in the UK were university educated and […]