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Troy Kennedy Martin

Troy Kennedy Martin

Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    Troy Kennedy Martin
    Book Description:

    This is the first full-length study of the screenwriter Troy Kennedy Martin, whose work for film and television includes Z Cars, The Italian Job, Kelly’s Heroes, The Sweeney, Reilly – Ace of Spies and Edge of Darkness. With a career spanning six decades Troy Kennedy Martin has seen the rise and fall of the television dramatist, making his debut in the era of studio-based television drama in the late 1950s prior to the transition to filmed drama (for which he argued in a famous manifesto) as the television play was gradually replaced by popular series and serials, for which Kennedy Martin did some of his best work. Drawing on original interviews with Kennedy Martin and his collaborators, as well as extensive research at the BBC Written Archives Centre and the British Film Institute Library (which holds a Special Collection of Troy Kennedy Martin’s scripts), the book provides a comprehensive analysis of the film and television career of one of Britain’s leading screenwriters, whose work includes many adaptations as well as original scripts and screenplays. Also included is a chapter examining Kennedy Martin’s significant contribution to innovative and experimental television drama - his 1964 ‘Nats Go Home’ polemic and the six-part serial, Diary of a Young Man, plus his 1986 MacTaggart Lecture which anticipated recent developments in television style and technology. Written in an easily accessible style, this book will appeal to anyone with an interest in television drama, screenwriting, and the history of British television over the last fifty years.

    eISBN: 978-1-84779-474-1
    Subjects: Performing Arts

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. General editors’ preface
    (pp. vi-vi)
    Sarah Cardwell and Jonathan Bignell
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    ZCars, Diary of a Young Man, The Italian Job, Kelly’s Heroes, The Sweeney, Reilly – Ace of Spies and Edge of Darkness– whenever the name of Troy Kennedy Martin is mentioned it is invariably accompanied by a list of these titles, the films and television dramas with which he is most often associated as a screenwriter. These seven productions are in themselves testimony to the diversity of projects with which Kennedy Martin has been involved in a career spanning six decades. They suggest an interest in popular forms of film and television drama and an eclecticism which has tended to exclude...

  6. 1 Biographical sketch
    (pp. 5-16)

    Francis Troy Kennedy Martin was born on Bute, an island on the Clyde, on the west coast of Scotland, on 15 February 1932. His father named him Troy after a Glasgow priest, Father Troy, who had helped the young Frank Martin to rehabilitate following his return from the First World War, where he had been wounded. Kennedy was added to the name by Frank Martin in memory of his commanding officer in the war, Colonel Kennedy. They went through the Battle of the Somme together and later the Battle of Cambrae where Kennedy was killed at Bourlon Wood and Frank...

  7. 2 Single plays
    (pp. 17-55)

    In the 1950s and 1960s the single play was the most prestigious form of drama on British television. Throughout the 1950sSunday Night Theatreprovided the dramatic highpoint of the week on theBBCand from 1957– 9BBC Television World Theatreoffered an additional showcase for classic literary adaptations, traditionalBBCterritory onto whichITVhad begun to encroach, for despiteITV’scommitment to more populist programming the single play was also an important part of the commercial network’s schedules. The threeITVanthology play series:Television Playhouse (1956–64), Play of the Week (1956–67)andArmchair Theatre...

  8. 3 Experiments in television drama
    (pp. 56-97)

    Troy Kennedy Martin’s famous polemic, ‘Nats Go Home’, subtitled ‘First Statement of a New Drama for Television’, was published in the theatre magazine Encore in March 1964. Its opening paragraph set the tone for an article which was to stir up a hornet’s nest in television drama circles at the time and which has become one of the most cited articles in the history of television studies. In his bookTelevision Drama: Realism, Modernism and British Culture,John Caughie devotes ten pages to it, noting how ‘the underlying insistence of the article is not simply that television drama needs this...

  9. 4 Drama series
    (pp. 98-133)

    By the early 1960s series drama was the most popular form of drama on British television.ITVhad largely been responsible for this, for while theBBChad two very popular series,Dixon of Dock Green and Maigret,ITVdominated the ratings with a combination of imported American series, such asDragnet, RawhideandWagon Train, and homegrown series, such asEmergency – Ward 10 , No Hiding PlaceandCoronation Street. Such wasITV’spopularity as the new decade dawned thatBBCprogrammes rarely appeared in the twenty top-rated programmes.

    In 1960 theBBCappointed a new Director General, Hugh...

  10. 5 Drama serials
    (pp. 134-169)

    With the decline of the single play on British television during the 1970s and 1980s, authored television drama increasingly took the form of the serial, or mini-series, a development that was mainly the result of increasing financial pressures as British television entered a more ‘cost-effective’ era (Gardner and Wyver, 1980). Series and serial drama provided an opportunity to spread the costs of production, while building and retaining audiences. The single play, on the other hand, was not only expensive to produce, it could not guarantee audiences in the way that series and serials could. Anthology play series, such asITV’s...

  11. 6 The hostile waters of British television in a deregulated age
    (pp. 170-185)

    SinceEdge of DarknessTroy Kennedy Martin has had relatively little work produced. In the twenty years since that award-winning serial he has been credited for just four screenplays, two of which were scripts where he helped out with re-writing or made a minor contribution, and one was an adaptation. Yet in this period he has worked on at least fifteen other projects, some screenplays, some television drama serials and single dramas. The ratio of work written to work produced in this period reveals much about the circumstances in which writers now work. Although, as previous chapters have shown, Kennedy...

  12. Appendix: list of television programmes, feature films, unproduced scripts and screenplays, awards and publications
    (pp. 186-193)
  13. References
    (pp. 194-196)
  14. Index
    (pp. 197-200)