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Trevor Griffiths, Bill Brand And Political Television Drama

The Genesis of Bill Brand.

“The political mini-series is by no means foreign to television as examples such as Washington Behind Closed Doors (1977), Blind Ambition (1979), The West Wing (1999-2006), and the 1975 Granada TV British television series The Nearly Man (featuring Tony Britton as a right-wing Labour MP) all show. But rather than interrogating political elements influencing individual lives they often focus upon personal melodramatic issues. In this way they fall within familiar conventions of the type of television drama that Griffiths sought both to utilize and subvert. Personal relationships do occupy key levels of Bill Brand but they are never divorced from the historical and political context of a society that attempts to control individual lives and from which some form of different alternative direction is needed. Since Griffiths has spoken of the significant “detail of the lives of the characters” in this series, it is important to analyze how each episode functions according to this particular type of dramatic process. Transmitted during the summer of 1976 within the 9pm slot following the news program World in Action and preceding News at Ten, the series developed a contrast first sketched in Griffiths' early 1974 BBC One Play for Today “All Good Men” between the reformist tendencies of the Labour Party’s version of Parliamentary democracy and another alternative radical tradition constantly betrayed by this party whenever it gained power. Could any form of significant change occur within Westminster on the part of a progressive individual who has left the International Socialists to attempt change from within the system? Alternatively, should other forms of personal and political struggle become preeminent? Such issues dominated every episode and are still relevant today perhaps explaining why this series has never been repeated since its original broadcast or available on DVD in England.”

Excerpt from Tony Williams review in The November 3rd Club

The full review can be read at:

Bill Brand is available to BUY NOW from Spokesman Books


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