Blue Remembered Hills is the notorious TV play, by Dennis Potter, in which seven adult actors pretend to be children and romp through an idyllic summer afternoon in wartime doing unspeakable things. It was first broadcast in 1979. For some reason I didn't catch it then. Shame on me. I should have cancelled whatever else was on the menu and made sure I was sitting in front of the box for the transmission of what is- certainly- one of T.V.s greatest masterpieces. Fortunately, being a masterpiece, the passage of nearly thirty years hasn't dimmed it at all, and it's still absolutely fresh and true and horrific. This is exactly what kids are like. And- when you strip away the gloss of education and socialization- what adults are like too. I watched it last night with sharp intakes of breath, sitting well back in my chair lest the ghastliness reach out from the screen and take me by the throat.
The seven actors have had widely differing careers.
Colin Welland went on to write Chariots of Fire Robin Ellis starred in Poldark Michael Elphick played a succession of TV hard nuts (some of them lovable) John Bird is a satirist Colin Jeavons has been one of TV's most reliable character actors Helen Mirren is a dame Janine Duvitski does comedy- usually as some funny male's even funnier sidekick
They are all bloody marvellous. Especially Duvitski.
I don't really subscribe to the view that TV then was better than TV now. But one thing has changed. Back in the day TV had an avant-garde. It's name was Denis Potter. If TV today is less daring and experimental than it was thirty years ago it's because Denis Potter is dead.