Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Driver - new drama from BBC1

At last - at long last - original drama on the BBC that is both original and dramatic.  In the wake of all that turgid World War I guff, Danny Brocklehurst and Jim Poyser have somehow managed to get The Driver, set in present day Manchester, onto our screens.

It stars David Morrissey, as usual - but to be fair to him, he developed the project with the writers and then pitched it to the Beeb - and he is, as he so often is, very good in the lead role.

Vince McKee is a forty-something minicab driver (they keep calling him a taxi driver but he specifically isn't - in one unforgettable scene he tells two girls he can't pick them up because he's not a taxi), who is bored with life.  His old pal Colin (Ian Hart, back from the US) is released from prison and introduces Vince to The Horse (Colm Meaney).  The Horse offers Vince work on the side, shady work, which livens Vince's life up no end but will end badly.

The structure is interesting - starting with Vince accelerating away from traffic police, leading a high-speed chase through Manchester city centre, getting away because he's a minicab driver and knows the back alleys even better than the police, and then looking at what's stashed in his boot.  Then we flashback three weeks and find out how he got there.  Usually, we could expect the episode to end with all or some of the chase.  But no, that comes about three-quarters of the way through, and we end with something else going in his boot, something human.  Is it Colin's twin Craig, who has got Colin's girlfriend pregnant (another quirky twist)?  We must wait to find out next week.

All in all, a masterclass in how to revitalise an overdone genre.  Congrats to all involved.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Offbeat wartime memento

I have been searching through my family's photographic archive and came upon this - a Christmas Card from the College of the Rhine Army in Gottingen.  I suspect it's from 1946 and I vaguely remember someone saying my father had taught there in the immediate postwar years.  Unfortunately it's unused, so we get no clues from the back.  The shield at the bottom is definitely that of the town.  I suspect the top one is the Saxony shield, but I can't even tell what the middle one is, let alone what the text says.  Intriguing.