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Edge of Darkness - The Ex-Communicator

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September 17th, 2009


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08:06 pm - Edge of Darkness
hutch0 and crooked timber have both reminded me that we have just lost Troy Kennedy Martin, writer of The Italian Job, but much more significantly the writer of Edge of Darkness, the best short TV drama series ever made.
The mid-1980s in Britain were a scary time, with Thatcher and the Tory party utterly and arrogantly dominant, the miners facing a brutally determined state, mass unemployment, nuclear standoff, vicious cuts in public spending, hmm, a bit like what we’re all in for soon. Bob Peck was terrific, but the real iconic figure was John Doe Baker as Darius Jedburgh. Superb.

God, do you remember Jedburgh? You have to remember we all thought we were going to die in a nuclear war shortly, for real.

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Comments:


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From:altariel
Date:September 17th, 2009 07:12 pm (UTC)
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I named a character Jedburgh in Hollow Men, a book which owes part of its plot to The Italian Job.

Have you seen Reilly: Ace of Spies. All these amazing dramas, and re-inventing the police drama while he was at it.
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From:communicator
Date:September 17th, 2009 07:16 pm (UTC)
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No. I've barely heard of it (I mean Reilly Ace of Spies) - I didnt watch much TV drama in the eighties, which may be why edge of darkness stands out for me so much.

It's great to be able to drop references into things that only other aficionados can understand.

Edited at 2009-09-17 07:18 pm (UTC)
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From:altariel
Date:September 17th, 2009 07:30 pm (UTC)
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Reilly is fantastic; TKM script, Verity Lambert produced, Sam Neill stars. Damn, there is nothing like this on telly these days.
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From:matildabj
Date:September 17th, 2009 07:42 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for the rec! Have added it to my LoveFilm list.
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From:altariel
Date:September 17th, 2009 07:45 pm (UTC)
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Enjoy. Big proper epic grown-up television.
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From:ajr
Date:September 17th, 2009 07:15 pm (UTC)
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Better than Perfect Strangers or The Singing Detective? I might have to see if it's out on DVD, then.
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From:communicator
Date:September 17th, 2009 07:22 pm (UTC)
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I don't know Perfect Strangers at all.

Compared to The Singing Detective? Both very classy. I think Edge of Darkness is better because Singing Detective is more stylised, solipsistic, and has a more obvious symbolic meaning and import, whereas Edge of Darkness is open and mysteriously suggestive. But that's just my taste of course.
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From:ajr
Date:September 17th, 2009 09:13 pm (UTC)
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Perfect Strangers is a bit more recent in the grand scale of things. 2001. Stephen Poliakoff. A young man (Matthew McFadyen) goes to a family reunion with his parents and meets a whole bunch of relatives he never knew he had (his grandfather was the black sheep of the family). Plenty of tangled tales and cracking performances, especially from Michael Gambon.

I've ordered Edge of Darkness on DVD now. A couple of years back I realised that all the, I suppose, 'landmark' TV dramas I could remember were American, so I've been trying to catch up a little on British ones. Thanks for drawing my attention to one I wasn't previously aware of. I shall have to see what I think of it.
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From:communicator
Date:September 17th, 2009 10:38 pm (UTC)
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Oh, I think I know that drama. Don't like Poliakoff much.

I thought you meant thisPerfect Strangers! I thought perhaps you were being ironical.
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From:ajr
Date:September 17th, 2009 11:02 pm (UTC)
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In my limited experience, I've found Poliakoff can be very variable. On the one hand, his most recent two, Joe's Palace and Capturing Mary were pretty rubbish. On the other hand, I'm told Caught on a Train and Shooting the Past are much better. I doubt anything of his will beat Perfect Strangers for me, though.

It probably won't surprise you to know that the show was renamed in America, for precisely the reason you mention, to Almost Perfect Strangers. Which makes the title a bit of a clunker, but I can understand why they needed to do it. For the record, I have never seen the other Perfect Strangers.
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From:matildabj
Date:September 17th, 2009 07:36 pm (UTC)
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I vividly remember watching Edge of Darkness as a teenager. Highly recommended to anyone who hasn't seen it.


SPOILER FOLLOWS!


There are several images from it burned into my brain, one is of Jedburgh, radiation-poisoned and knowing he was going to die, standing in front of a room full of people and holding up radioactive material. That voice!

Awesome stuff.
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From:communicator
Date:September 17th, 2009 08:02 pm (UTC)
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I had exactly that image in my mind when I typed this post. He's like the demon of radiation.
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From:splodgenoodles
Date:September 18th, 2009 01:28 am (UTC)
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Yes. Formative teenage years for me too - and that scene. Truly awesome.
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From:hutch0
Date:September 17th, 2009 08:30 pm (UTC)
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I remember he pronounced it `Jedburg,' but the landlady in Scotland called him `Mr Jedborough.' I thought that was a lovely touch. That and the golf bag full of automatic weapons. And "What's wrong? Don't you want to join the new age of plutonium lunacy?" And...oh, too much to mention.
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From:sugoll
Date:September 17th, 2009 08:31 pm (UTC)
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"Get me Pendleton!"
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From:altariel
Date:September 21st, 2009 08:55 am (UTC)
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Saw this and thought of you.

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