Wednesday, 26 August 2009

An Afternoon Without Ken Campbell

I'm pleased to finally announce a personal project that's been bubbling along for a little while.
On Saturday, October the 10th we'll be mounting an event celebrating the actor, writer and director Ken Campbell at the Showroom Cinema, Sheffield.

Ken who died suddenly in 2008 was one of the most inspiring, hilarious and mind-expanding figures in British theatre and his work from the 1970s on has influenced a whole generation of performers and creators.
We'll look back over his incredible career with our guests, the theatre critic Michael Coveney and the film-maker Sheridan Thayer and over three hours of film, much of it unseen in public for over 25 years.

The screenings will include-

'Firework Man', the 1977 feature on Ken for the ITV arts programme 'Aquarius',
'No Problem- The Theatre of Ken Campbell', a 1981 documentary going behind the scenes of Ken's famous theatre productions of 'The Warp' and 'The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy' with input from the writers of both, Neil Oram and Douglas Adams,
'Antic Visionary'- The World of Ken Campbell', Sheridan Thayer's amazing 2003 feature length profile of Ken, featuring interviews with many of his friends, colleagues and fans. Sir Peter Hall, Robert McKee, Brian Aldiss, Sylvester McCoy, Jim Broadbent, Bill Drummond, Bill Nighy and Nina Conti to name just a few all contribute to this superb portrait of the man and his work.

Come and be entertained, challenged and, hopefully, inspired by a legend!

Tickets are £10 (£6.50 concessions).

Two further tributes to Ken follow later in the month, an evening celebrating his work at the National Theatre on the 12th of October: 'Beyond Our Ken - The Multiverse of Ken Campbell'
and an hour long 'Archive on 4' feature for Radio 4 presented by poet Ian McMillan on the 31st of October.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Latest BBC Press Office Blurb

Hello. Radio promotion time again. So here's another programme you'd probably not know I'd had any involvement with if this didn't exist. The good news is this is the last of them for now.
It's stayed pretty close to my original proposal though sadly there are a few interesting strands that had to be dropped or really trimmed back on from what we recorded to fit the final time-slot.

A dragon at Barnsley train station.

A poet at Barnsley train station.

In Search Of The Wantley Dragon
Sunday 30 August
4.30-5.00pm BBC RADIO 4

Poet Ian McMillan is on a quest to find the "Dragon of Wantley". In his search, he uncovers long-forgotten, violent disputes, a knight clad in locally made armour, pantomimes, operettas and the dragon's den.

The Dragon Of Wantley is a 17th-century comic poem that was a literary sensation for more than 200 years. It's a bawdy tale, told in rhyming couplets, about a Sheffield knight who defeats a dragon that's devouring everything, even children.

In its day, the Yorkshire-based story was as famous as that of Robin Hood – but more than 100 years ago it vanished without trace.

Ian's pursuit of the Wantley Dragon leads him to discover a hero protected by local steel and a dragon that might actually be a dubious landowner. The trail takes him to meet the dragon's family and he also learns of vandalism and threats in the 1590s, and hears how the story reached Covent Garden, becoming not only an operetta, but also a circus performance and several pantomimes.

Ian's quest soon takes him out to the dragon's den – an eerily quiet cave hidden on a little-known Yorkshire hillside.

Please note: This programme was originally billed in BBC Week 34 Radio Programme Information on Sunday 23 August.

Presenter/Ian McMillan, Producer/Russell Crewe

A dragon in print.

The Dragon's Den, a cave on Wharncliffe Crags.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Feedback (sans Chris Dunkleyofthefinancialtimes or Roger BoltonofTVjournalismrelatingtotheIRA fame)

A little more feedback for the radio play has trickled forth, you know, beyond friends and relatives being polite- "it sounded like he had lovely shoes on," that kind of thing.

Firstly, a couple of days ago a comics artist and writer named David Baillie, who I must stress to regular readers was not Dask in 'The Robots of Death', got in touch with some extremely kind appreciative words. He's written for 2000AD for money and everything (I've merely made some of the noises of Judge Dredd's fists for money), so, actually, that's quite a thing in my world.
Then, if that wasn't excitement enough, yesterday I stumbled across (ed."vanity-googled up") a very nice review on a new weblog entirely devoted to radio drama reviews, written by radio writer Paul May.
I really hope he keeps doing these. There aren't many places on-line where people talk about radio plays at all, and it's rare to find other dramatists at it, so it's a joy to be at the start of what looks a really promising resource.

In other news, I have mainly spent the last three months putting on weight as a result of a gruelling sitting at desks and recovering from all that exhausting sitting with a glass of wine regime and am tentatively stepping back into the world of exercise. It has to be tentative to start with, I want to be sure I don't buckle.

"Third verse, same as the first."