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Author: Steve Blandford

This is the first book-length study of one of the most significant of all British television writers, Jimmy McGovern. The book provides comprehensive coverage of all his work for television including early writing on Brookside, major documentary dramas such as Hillsborough and Sunday and more recent series such as The Street and Accused.

Whilst the book is firmly focused on McGovern’s own work, the range of his output over the period in which he has been working also provides something of an overview of the radical changes in television drama commissioning that have taken place during this time. Without compromising his deeply-held convictions McGovern has managed to adapt to an ever changing environment, often using his position as a sought-after writer to defy industry trends.

The book also challenges the notion of McGovern as an uncomplicated social realist in stylistic terms. Looking particularly at his later work, a case is made for McGovern employing a greater range of narrative approaches, albeit subtly and within boundaries that allow him to continue to write for large popular audiences.

Finally it is worth pointing to the book’s examination of McGovern’s role in recent years as a mentor to new voices, frequently acting as a creative producer on series that he part-writes and part brings through different less-experienced names.

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Andrew Spicer

Thatcherite mayor who welcomes him to the city. Cosmo is opposed by Finney (Sting), the owner of a club situated in the middle of that area to be redeveloped, but who refuses to sell out. Caught between the two is the fugitive couple, Brendan (Sean Bean), a young drifter who becomes Finney’s eyes and ears, and Kate (Melanie Griffiths) Cosmo’s mistress. Figgis saw Brendan’s role as pivotal, moving from ‘adulation for all things

in European film noir
Lynn Anthony Higgins

for future ventures: scriptwriters Aurenche and Bost, veteran actors Philippe Noiret and Jean Rochefort and novice actress and fellow Lyonnaise Christine Pascal, cinematographer Pierre-William Glenn, and composer Philippe Sarde. Noiret’s solidarity was particularly crucial. When an interested producer offered financing if the fledgling filmmaker would consent to relocate his story from Lyon to Paris, Tavernier flatly refused. This was no whim. That his conception of his first film is deeply rooted in Lyon is demonstrated by many

in Bertrand Tavernier
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James Chapman

the nation and the welfare of its people: ‘Our shores are threatened from abroad, our people long for bread, and Louis writes odes to peace and dances the minuet!’ D’Artagnan acts from a sense of duty and responsibility (‘Our duty is to the people of Heritage heroes   177 France’) in contrast to the self-interest of finance minister Fouquet and his puppet king Louis. Other changes from the novel concern its sexual politics. Louise de la Villière, a scheming royal mistress, here becomes a virtuous young woman caught up in court intrigue, while the final scene makes

in Swashbucklers
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The Street, Moving On, Accused
Steve Blandford

because we can work with him, you know? So the main thing was finding six great stories. And it’s a very interesting way of working. (BBC, 2006b) The story-gathering process was, then, not simply a matter of collecting ideas but also part of a new direction for McGovern’s interest in working with new writers. Although he had been doing this at some level going back to Cracker, The Street took it in new directions by liberating the novice writer from working either within an established genre or an overall story arc (as in the case of The Lakes), but instead allowing

in Jimmy McGovern