Printer Friendly

The Week In View.

Byline: TOM DAVIES

THERE have been quite a few of us who have long dreamed dreams of a National Theatre of Wales; a place where our best young dramatists could gather and hammer out the question of our national identity with blazing words and ferocious new ideas.

Such a theatre - or so the dream went - would act as a unifying force between the north and south, bringing together our finest creative minds who would not only think for themselves but get us thinking for ourselves too.

One of the great maladies of Wales is that too many of us are only too happy to let others do our thinking for us.

Good drama can have an amazingly unifying effect on a nation and there are many who believe that writers actually created modern Ireland; that their work actually set up a dynamic force which created a national revival by awakening the Irish in the face of the overweening power of the colonial English.

But, as it stands, the best opportunity of a national stage only now rests with television where most of our best writers are now working with the dream of a National Theatre of Wales being as distant as ever.

Yet the problem with Welsh television is that drama, for a multiplicity of reasons, is usually not all that good and, more often than not, a plain embarrassment.

There have been a few near-hits but you couldn't actually put your hand on your heart and say any of our Welsh television services have ever come close to, say, the incandescent brilliance of Our Friends from the North.

The combined might of BBC Wales has long tried to crack this problem with huge efforts put into dramas which would run in the national network and give us a new and realistic concept of ourselves as a nation.

Yet all BBC Wales ever managed to produce, in reality, is expensive flop after expensive flop, although matters might now be about to change in a big way.

Like so many other fields of artistic endeavour it often simply comes down to putting the right man in charge and, somehow or other, they've managed to get hold of Matthew Robinson, a veteran producer of such as EastEnders.

His series Belonging was a hip and sexy drama set in the Valleys but his new series The Bench is amazing, pulling in half a million viewers last week and getting the executives in Llandaff all jumping up and down like so many deranged Mexican jumping beans.

It is difficult to list quite why The Bench is so good since almost everything about it is good - the dialogue, characterisation and massive set.

There are even shades of ER about it and you couldn't get more complimentary than that. You are right in there with all those idiots as they come up for their just desserts from the beak. The only thing they can't get is the appalling stink of most magistrates' courts.

We should all be encouraged by this fantastic breakthrough, if only because it finally proves we can come up with drama of real quality.

Matthew Robinson should be given all the resources he needs to carry on with this fine work and I for one would be over the moon if he could get his team to look at this daft Assembly of ours.
COPYRIGHT 2001 MGN Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Media
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 3, 2001
Words:561
Previous Article:Lucy's rewarding labour of love; Lisa Shaw has made EastEnders's Lucy Benjamin one of the show's most recognisable characters. Wil Marlow finds out...
Next Article:Memories of the master of Welsh drama; This week, ten years after his death, a number of programmes on S4C and Raio Cymru pay tribute to a man who...


Related Articles
WEEK IN VIEW.
WEEK IN VIEW.
THE WEEK IN VIEW.
THE WEEK IN VIEW.
THE WEEK IN VIEW.
THE WEEK IN VIEW.
THE WEEK IN VIEW.
THE WEEK IN VIEW.
THE WEEK IN VIEW.
THE WEEK IN VIEW.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters