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Old 20th June 2016, 07:06 PM
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Having recieved the awesome Dissent and Disruption:Alan Clarke at the BBC boxset yesterday,I thought it was high time this visionary UK director was given his own thread.

From Wikipedia.....

Clarke was born in Wallasey, Wirral, England.

Most of Clarke's output was for television rather than cinema, including work for the famous play strands The Wednesday Play and Play for Today. His subject matter tended towards social realism, with deprived or oppressed communities as a frequent setting.

As Dave Rolinson's book (see 'Further reading', below) on Clarke details, between 1962 and 1966 Clarke directed several plays at The Questors Theatre in Ealing, London. Between 1967 and 1969 he directed various ITV productions including plays by Alun Owen (Shelter, George's Room, Stella, Thief, Gareth), Edna O'Brien (Which of These Two Ladies Is He Married To? and Nothing's Ever Over) and Roy Minton (The Gentleman Caller, Goodnight Albert, Stand By Your Screen). He also worked on the series The Informer, The Gold Robbers and A Man of Our Times (but not, as Sight and Sound once claimed, Big Breadwinner Hog). Clarke continued to work for ITV through the 1970s but now made much of his work for the BBC. This included pieces for The Wednesday Play (Sovereign's Company 1970), Play for Today and Play of the Month (The Love-Girl and the Innocent, 1973 and Danton's Death, 1978). Distinctive work for these strands included further plays by Minton including Funny Farm (1975) and Scum (further details below), but also Sovereign's Company (1970) by Don Shaw, The Hallelujah Handshake (1970) by Colin Welland and Penda's Fen (1974) by David Rudkin. He also made To Encourage the Others (1972), a powerful drama documentary about the Derek Bentley case, the case which was later dramatised in the 1991 film Let Him Have It by Peter Medak, and several documentaries, including Vodka Cola (1981) on multinational corporations.

A number of his works achieved notoriety and widespread criticism from the conservative end of the political spectrum, including Scum (1977), dealing with the subject of borstals (youth prisons), which was banned by the BBC, and subsequently remade by Clarke as a feature film in 1979 (the original television version was eventually screened after his death). His 1982 television play Made in Britain, starring Tim Roth (in his television debut) as a racist skinhead and his negative relationship with authorities and racial minorities, was based on a screenplay by David Leland. He directed the feature film Rita, Sue and Bob Too written by the working class writer Andrea Dunbar and released in 1987.

Clarke's work in the 1980s is fiercely stark and political, including the David Leland plays Beloved Enemy (1981) on multinational corporations and Psy-Warriors (1981) on military interrogation. But he also directed David Bowie in Baal (1982) for the BBC, part of Clarke's interest in Bertolt Brecht. His film work became more sparse, culminating in Contact (1985) on the British military presence in Northern Ireland, Billy the Kid and the Green Baize Vampire (1985), Road (1987) and his short film (lasting only 40 minutes) Elephant (1989) which dealt with 'the troubles' in Northern Ireland and featured a series of shootings with no narrative and hardly any dialogue; all were based on accounts of actual sectarian killings that had taken place in Belfast. The film took its title from Bernard MacLaverty's description of the troubles as "the elephant in our living room" a reference to the collective denial of the underlying social problems of Northern Ireland. His final production, The Firm (1989), covered football hooliganism through the lead character played by Gary Oldman, but also the politics of Thatcher's Britain. In 1991 a documentary on him Director Alan Clarke by Corin Campbell-Hill aired on British TV.

As discussed elsewhere,THE FIRM uncut was far more violent than the cut aired on the BBC.
I also watched CONTACT last night,which is about a platoon of British soldiers on tour during the troubles in Northern Ireland.Powerful stuff,as you'd expect.

Discuss all things Clarke here.
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Old 21st June 2016, 08:33 AM
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I work in Wallasey, now we don't have many claims to fame here but we do have Alan Clarke and ...Paul Hollywood (Bake Off!)

I was going to watch Penda's Fen last night actually, but decided to watch Massacre Gun instead and got too distracted and turned it off after 50 minutes. I wish I had stuck with Clarke instead! Perhaps tonight.

I really would like this new box set but the price is quite 'luxurious' so I'm going to have to pass I think.

You just gotta keep livin' man, L-I-V-I-N.

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Old 21st June 2016, 10:43 AM
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LOVE Clarke but I'd only seen the stuff previously released on DVD here and in the set issued by Blue Underground in the States - so the nex BFI box was essential for me.

I've seen the director's cut of THE FIRM thus far and was really impressed by the additional footage - hoping to delve deeper in the coming weeks.
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Old 23rd June 2016, 05:48 PM
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Starting to work my way through this mammoth boxset, starting with the earlier half hour plays.

I also watched the Arena programme ( When Is A Play Not A Play? ) discussing the birth of the docu - drama, including clips from Play For Today and other one off dramas and series from the 70s, some of which I'd forgotten about, some I'd never heard of! Fascinating stuff.
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