Wednesday, 31 May 2017

697 Screen Two / Screen One

First  viewed  : 3  February  1985

Screen  Two  and  Screen  One   were  actually  a  continuation  of  Play  for  Today  under  another  name  as  the   original  brand  was  controversially  laid  to  rest  in  1984. The  ones  I  recall  are

Knockback  ( Screen  Two  27.1.85  & 3.2.85 )

I  only  saw   some  of  the  second  instalment  of  this  two-parter  about  the  relationship  between  Sylvia ,a   lonely  middle-aged  woman  ( Pauline  Collins )  and  the  murderer  Alan  ( Derrick  O' Connor )  she  corresponds  with  while  he  serves  a  life  sentence. O' Connor  had  previously  been  very  good  but  very  typecast  in  thuggish  roles  ( eg. Out  ) and  this  role  allowed  him  to  break  out  and  show  his   versatility. Leslie  Grantham, not  yet  a  household  name, was   a  fellow  lag.   I  recall  the  very  last scene  when  Alan  gets  out  on  licence  and  takes  Sylvia  to  a  holiday  cottage. In  the  most  predictable  plot  development  ever, the  moment  they  cross  the  threshold they  frantically  shed  their  clothes  and  get  down  to  it.

Coast   To  Coast  ( Screen  Two  4.1.87 )

This  was  a  musical  comedy  thriller-cum-road  movie,  set  in  Northern  England  and  starring  Lenny  Henry  as  a  Scouse  DJ  and  John  Shea  ( best  known  for  playing  Robert  Kennedy  in  Kennedy )  as  an  AWOL  US  pilot  and  soul  fan. The  pair  set  up  in  business  as  a  mobile  soul  disco  but  get  drawn  into  a  counterfeiting  operation  by  small  time  villain  Pete  Postlethwaite  and  end  up  on  the  run  both  from  the  military  police  and  a  couple  of  gangsters  played  with  relish  by  Peter  Vaughan  and  George  Baker. Rising  star  Paul  Bown   was  also  in  it  as  a  comic  police  constable  and  Cherie  Lunghi  played  Shea's  love  interest.

Not  being  a  huge  fan  of  sixties  soul  music  myself, I  found  the  Shea  character's  obsession  with  it  a  bit  tiresome  but  there  was  a  lot  else  to  enjoy  particularly  their  trek  through  the  Lakes  and Yorkshire  Dales  where  I  could   pick  out  familiar  scenery  in  its  grey, wintry  finery.  There  was  also  a  lot  of  black  humour  particularly in  Bown's  scenes  when  dismembered  bodies  start  cropping  up.

The  licensing  headache  created  by  using  all  the  old  Motown  tracks  on  the  soundtrack  has  stopped  it  being  released  on  DVD  but  it  is  on  YouTube  at  the  time  of  writing.

Will  You  Love  Me  Tomorrow  ( Screen  Two  18.1.87 )

This  was  a  rather  affecting  story  despite  some  cavernous  plot  holes. Joanne  Whalley  played  Jackie  Rivers,  a  former  child-murderess  clearly  based  on  Mary  Bell, who  absconds  from  an  open  prison  ( plot  hole  number  one - she'd  never  have  been  placed  there )  with  short  termer  friend  Linda  ( Tilly  Vorsburgh ) . With  no  real  plan  in  mind, the  pair  fall  in  with  a  couple  of  young  blokes  Sprint  (Phil  Daniels ) and  Sailor  ( Iain  Glen )  looking  for  (unspecified ) work  in  gaudy  North  Wales  resort, Rhyl. Jackie  finds  some  brief  romance  with  Sailor  before  her  inevitable  apprehension. The   sub-plot  about  a   tabloid  hack  ( Peter  Wight)   on  her  trail  is  a  superfluous  waste  of  time . It  worked  because  of  a  tremendous  central  performance  from  Whalley  as  the  confused  innocent-of-sorts  trying  to  make  sense  of  an  outside  world  which  isn't  what  she  imagined  it  to  be.

After  Pilkington  ( Screen  Two  25.1.87 )

This  was  a  black  campus  comedy  starring  Bob  Peck   as   James  Westgate, a  mild-mannered  Oxford  don  whose  obsession  with  childhood  sweetheart  Penny ( Miranda  Richardson )  lands  him  in  deep  trouble  when  she  asks  him  an  unusual  favour. Another  don, Pilkington,  has  gone  missing, and  she  knows  what  happened  to  him.  Her  husband , the  exceedingly  obnoxious   Derek ( Barry  Foster )  doesn't  and  that's  the  way  she  wants  to  keep  it. Great  performances  all  round  keep  it  convincing  as  the  plot  veers  towards  melodrama.

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