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Archive for April 12th, 2013

17729_1-GBH

by Allan Fish

(UK 1991 560m) DVD2

Come on, Eileen!

p  David Jones, Alan Bleasdale  d  Robert Young  w  Alan Bleasdale  ph  Peter Jessop  ed  Anthony Ham  m  Richard Harvey, Elvis Costello

Robert Lindsay (Michael Murray), Michael Palin (Jim Nelson), Lindsay Duncan (Barbara Douglas), Julie Walters (Lillian Murray), Dearbhla Molloy (Laura Nelson), Daniel Massey (Grosvenor), Michael Angelis (Martin), Tom Georgeson (Lou Barnes), Andrew Schofield (Peter), Peter Hugo Daly (Bubbles), David Ross (Matthew Weller), Alan Igbon (Teddy), Jimmy Mulville (Phillip), Philip Whitchurch (Frankie Murray), John Shrapnel (Doctor), Jane Danson (Eileen Critchley), Julia St John, William Gaunt, Anna Friel, Jean Anderson,

Bleasdale’s G.B.H. has always been a problem.  When it came out it was hailed as a small screen masterpiece to rank alongside his earlier BBC classic Boys from the Blackstuff, and was a sign of Channel 4’s continuing political agenda in drama following the previous success of Traffik.  It wasn’t and isn’t a panoramic view of a changing Britain over thirty years like Our Friends in the North, as Bleasdale is more interested in the here and now, the immediate problems of modern Britain, and he has always done this in an idiosyncratic, blackly humorous way.  Even the title is a misnomer for, though a lot of grievous bodily harm is depicted, he has always said the title stands for Great British Holiday.

A militant Labour councillor in an unnamed northern city (obviously Liverpool, indeed the story is partly based on the rise and fall of Derek Hatton) arranges a show of force, a day where the entire local government network shuts down – public transport, offices, schools, emergency services – but one school stays open, making its headmaster a hero to the politically apposite press and causing stress not only to the headmaster’s family, but to the councillor, from whose past various demons come back to haunt him. (more…)

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