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Started by halfnelson on Dec 27, 2015 11:20:54 PM
One-off TV plays in which not a great deal happens...

...but which are quite captivating.

Where are they now?

I'm thinking of the 1970s stuff, such as Roy Minton's Funny Farm, or some the early Alan Bennetts. Not much in the way of plot, but beautifully done. Would they be anathema to a modern audience?

Shadrack22 - 27 Dec 2015 23:45:31 (#1 of 32)

Bleak Moments by Mike Leigh.

JerkinMcGherkin - 27 Dec 2015 23:58:58 (#2 of 32)

In film, The Quince Tree Sun and My Dinner With Andre.

Shadrack22 - 28 Dec 2015 00:00:00 (#3 of 32)

Ray Davies in the Long Distance Piano Player.

halfnelson - 28 Dec 2015 14:07:09 (#4 of 32)

#2 - fair point, Jerks, but I was thinking purely in TV terms. Would pieces with such a patent lack of 'drama' still have a place in the primetime schedules?

JerkinMcGherkin - 28 Dec 2015 14:22:22 (#5 of 32)

But sticking with films for a moment I'd also suggest The Story of My Death, which, considering it's about an encounter between Casanova and Dracula, really has nothing at all going on. Beautifully filmed, with each scene made to look like the work of Dutch old masters, particularly Vermeer, but not a lot happens in its circa two and a half hours. Casanova strains at stool on a commode at one point. Dracula looks like the Ayatollah Khomeni and comes in toward the end of the film. Various women disappear with no comment. Cas and Drac meet. Cas dies. That's it.

invicta - 28 Dec 2015 14:25:54 (#6 of 32)

There was quite a, lot of this about in all genres during the 1970s. Arts programmes frequently featured artists making TV films about things they liked (Werner Herzog taking a camping holiday in Brittany, driving a VW Beetle to Carnac, etc, is a notable one.).

The above programme is good, but I can't help wishing it had been Werner on holiday with Klaus Kinski; that would be an impressively fiery pilot for "The Trip".

JerkinMcGherkin - 28 Dec 2015 14:29:12 (#7 of 32)

They would have ended up killing each other.

JerkinMcGherkin - 28 Dec 2015 14:30:57 (#8 of 32)

A lot of those 70s play in which not a great deal happened seemed to star Denholm Elliott.

brooklyn - 28 Dec 2015 15:03:03 (#9 of 32)

isn't this what sit-coms are all about? iirc, seinfeld even put "the tv show about absolutely nothing" in his final episode's title.

JerkinMcGherkin - 28 Dec 2015 15:12:47 (#10 of 32)

The BBC Plays for Today in the 70s had a number of standard pieces of casting as I recall:

Denholm Elliott was anguished middle-aged man.

Paul Copley was salt-of-the-earth working class socialist.

Jack Shepherd was angsty middle-class socialist.

Colin Jeavons was creepy and/or right wing middle-aged bloke.

Tim Currie was unsettling and sexually threatening young man.

Michael Kitchen was unsettling and sexually threatening young man when Tim Currie wasn't available.

Colin Welland was corrupt or compromised pillar of the local establishment.

whitbreadtrophy - 01 Jan 2016 15:57:53 (#11 of 32)

Peter Barkworth was weak/compromised middle class man desperately trying to hold his world together.

Shadrack22 - 01 Jan 2016 16:01:08 (#12 of 32)

Telford's Change!

Shadrack22 - 13 Aug 2019 20:11:26 (#13 of 32)

Asian waiter Lee spends an afternoon off in Hartlepool in search of sexual fulfilment, but instead finds a town full of eccentrics bearing petty prejudices.

HouseOfLametta - 13 Aug 2019 20:23:59 (#14 of 32)

I recently had a disappointing bicycle ride to Sidmouth that reminded me of one of these.

Nothing much happened but it kept raining on and off, the place I wanted to go to was shut and there were a selection of involving but mundane vignettes to observe in cafes and shops.

Boring with a hint of melancholy.

Delighted_User - 13 Aug 2019 20:53:19 (#15 of 32)

There's one with the ubiquitous Denham Elliot that I wonder if I was the only one to have seen. He played some sort of minor celebrity, an author I think, at a country house on a weekend where a young (engaged?) couple were also among the guests. He seduces the woman, as her partner seems to lack the resolution, or perhaps he's too distracted by his apparent gift to see into the future in bizarre random bursts. Does this ring a bell with anyone?

solomongursky - 13 Aug 2019 21:53:58 (#16 of 32)

halfnelson - 13 Aug 2019 21:56:58 (#17 of 32)

#13 is full of familiar faces, and features a great straight performance by Peter Butterworth as the irate manager of a shoe shop. I think it was pretty much the last TV or film he did before his death.

Shadrack22 - 13 Aug 2019 22:06:15 (#18 of 32)

YorenInTheNorth - 14 Aug 2019 00:52:42 (#19 of 32)

Paul Schofield and Deborah Kerr in Song for Twilight.

Basically a polite bitchoff between what I think are ex-lovers.

Extended clip;

Delighted_User - 14 Aug 2019 04:40:05 (#20 of 32)

I'm impressed, Mr Gursky. Do you actually remember it, or are your search skills better than mine?

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