Thursday, May 10, 2012

Dennis Potter The Last Interview

Updated below.

It was afterall a rather light hearted program, never for a moment had I expected to find within, content that moved me the way it did. But that part of the program, Frost on Interviews, (UK only) that featured Melvyn Bragg talking about, and talking with, Dennis Potter (The Last Interview 1994) I found profound, inspirational, and quite moving.

It's at this point that I would normally say a few more words on the subject, but I can't, and for no other reason that I am posting the full interview sight unseen. Unusual I know, but I'm pretty sure it's a decision that will be without regret, watching for the first time, as you yourself may, here on this blog.

Though I can't give you an introduction, I an taking the liberty of employing one already writ, courtesy of Brian Edwards Media.

The Finest Television Interview Ever Recorded: Melvyn Bragg talks to Dennis Potter
Brian Edwards
February 7th, 2011

On 15 March 1994 Melvyn Bragg interviewed the playwright and television dramatist Dennis Potter. The interview was broadcast on the BBC’s Channel Four on April 5. Potter died of cancer two months later on June 7.

Potter smokes throughout the interview, holding the cigarette and lighter between the bunched fingers of his clawed right hand. Like his hero Philip E Marlowe, the mystery writer in perhaps his most celebrated work, The Singing Detective, the playwright had suffered for much of his life from debilitating and painful psoriatic arthropathy, a skin and joint disease which, in its chronic stages, formed lesions and sores over his entire body, partially crippling his hands and feet. He was eventually obliged to write with the pen tied to his wrist.

Beside his chair in the television studio he has a flask of morphine, which he drinks from at intervals during the conversation to control the pain.

All of this would make the interview remarkable enough. But it is the quality of what is said, of Bragg’s questions and Potters responses, which allows me to call this ‘the finest television interview ever recorded’. Much of a media commentator’s time is given over to criticism in the negative rather than the neutral sense of the word. I thought it appropriate to redress the balance a little by inviting you to watch this small screen gem. The YouTube version is in seven parts, each just under 10 minutes long.

If you’re unfamiliar with Potter’s work, Wikipedia or YouTube are both good places to start.

Enjoy! Brian Edwards

By the by, enjoy the three minute "parting shot" from Potter, I think you may find it quite amusing. Certainly topical.


What can I say; other than perhaps to parrot the words: ‘the finest television interview ever recorded’? But by concentrating on the 'interview' does that do disservice to the man? Most surely, for if nothing else, you bathe in Potter's remarkable essence throughout this fascinating, sixty some odd minutes.

Of all that past, and there was much, during this fleeting hour, I never felt more connected with a man as when he described his type of patriotism, for as you might know I don't do patriotism, but Potter described his love for this England, not for its flags and all the razzmatazz that people normally associate with, as Samuel Johnson put it: Patriotism, the last refuge of scoundrels, but a quiet almost unspoken love for this country ours, this England.

But no few words would be complete, particularly in light of what is transpiring at this very moment that I write, is Potter's scathing condemnation of Rupert Murdoch, and in other places during the interview other than the aforementioned 'parting shot.' Which is by the way, part of the main body of the interview, not the parting shot as the words imply.

File under: unmissable.

Update: Bollocks, video private. There are some miserable fucking cunts about, let me see if I can find a new upload.

Sorry folks, everywhere I've searched it comes up as private, I can't even find any files to download in order that I might up it myself. What a bummer.  

Tip of the hat to HerefordMSV for the uploads.


Anonymous said...

Pennies from Heaven

Himself said...

Pure gold, twenty four carat gold.