Dennis Potter binge

Nothing brings out my inner Brit like Dennis Potter. I had already migrated to Australia in when I first saw his TV series Pennies from Heaven, The Singing Detective and Lipstick on Your Collar, which collectively blew my socks off. They almost made me turn again for ‘home’.
I discovered a copy of Seeing the Blossom (as in ‘smelling the roses’) at South Melbourne market the other day, which has the transcript of his final TV interview with Melvyn Bragg, Potter’s last will and testament. He smoked, drank champagne and swigged morphine (by necessity) throughout the interview, telling Bragg how he still managed to write ten pages a day, in spite of the pain, rising at 5am while his energy allowed. He was determined to complete his final two TV scripts (Karaoke and Cold Lazarus), which he did before he died two months later.
Today I told my librarian I was on a Dennis Potter binge, as she swiped my loan copy of Potter’s The Art of Invective. Here is an antidote for the mealy-mouthed writer. And if there’s anything to put some lead in the critic’s pencil, Potter is your man. Just read his opinion of Rupert Murdoch! And if you are tempted, as I am, to explode the highbrow/lowbrow myth, look to Potter for some ammunition to level the ground. For him, the most popular medium of the time, television (his ‘palace of varieties’) was the place to reach people. He certainly reached me. And the actors who played the leads in his plays performed for him at their peak. The characters played by Bob Hoskins, Michael Gambon, Ewan McGregor and Giles Thomas are still clearly imprinted on my memory. Time to revisit those TV series, I think!