Television

(an even smaller selection)

Moving Pictures

David used to do a lot of this sort of thing at one time.  This is a particularly good example, directed by the brilliant Louis Heaton for a mid-1990s BBC2 review programme called Moving Pictures anchored by Howard Schumann (who appears at the start of this clip).  It's also a tribute to the wonder of steadicam.

Dread Poets' Society

by David Stafford and Benjamin Zephaniah

A BBC play riffing on a real event: in 1989, Benjamin Zephaniah was nominated to become Oxford Professor of Poetry.  The Sun newspaper reacted with predictable contempt and suggested that Byron, Keats and Shelley would be turning in their graves. The play involves a thunderstorm, during which the ghosts of Byron, Shelley and Keats appear on the train taking Benjamin from Birmingham to Oxford.  They establish beyond doubt that he is the true heir to their revolutionary purpose.  The cast was the stuff of dreams:  Alan Cumming, Alex Jennings, Dexter Fletcher, Emma Fielding, Tim Spall and Benjamin Obadiah Iqbal Zephaniah as himself.  And it was directed by Andy Wilson. Possibly the whole thing can be seen on YouTube.

Didn't You Kill My Brother?

by Alexei Sayle, David Stafford and Pauline Melville

A Comic Strip production for Channel 4 in which Alexei plays twin crims, Carl and Sterling Moss, loosely based on the Krays.  "What you reading, ma?" Sterling says to his evil mum, played by Beryl Reid.  "The dictionary, son." says mum.  "Yeah, what you looking up?"  "Compassion, I don't know the meaning of the word."

It also spawned the song 'Didn't You Kill My Brother?' which was recently voted the third best single ever released by Alexei Sayle.

'Itch

by Alexei Sayle and David Stafford

A Channel 4 film in which Alexei plays Ritblatt, an incurable hitch-hiker who finds himself stranded Crusoe-like on a traffic island near a new built council estate that seems to have been forgotten by the council.  His presence has a profound and even spiritual effect on the residents of the estate.

It was shot on a real estate where the real residents quickly and understandably turned hostile. Nobody was killed but there's a sound recordist somewhere who often wakes up screaming.  It was directed by Beeban (now Baroness) Kidron and featured a young Jonny Lee Miller and an old Stratford Johns.

© 2020 David and Caroline Stafford