Stephen Lacey
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Telling the truth
in Tony Garnett
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This is a study about Tony Garnett, forty-year actor, story editor and then producer, within the context of British television, film and Hollywood cinema. This chapter attempts to describe, explicate and analyse Garnett's work. Garnett has been responsible for a considerable variety of work, including some of the most influential plays and films in British television history. Garnett is one of a small group of television producers who have helped to define what being a television producer is. He is particularly hostile to ‘auteurism’, insisting that drama production is a collective practice, artistically and socially. Auteurism in its crudest form explains the creation of ‘significant’ drama as the product of a single, authorial consciousness. Garnett has worked in a variety of production contexts across the decades, and his role as producer has altered in the process. Garnett's authorial signature is intimately connected to a realist politics and aesthetics, which is still the best way of describing the spine that runs though his work. Realism, with its various qualifiers— social, magical, hyper—and its near-synonyms (notably naturalism), is a much-debated term in cultural criticism.

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