In Stephen Poliakoff’s Close To The Enemy the second world war has finally come to a close and intelligence officer Captain Callum Ferguson is soon to be demobbed. First though he has to make sure that a German scientist Dieter Koehler, captured by the British, is put to work on the RAF jet engine development programme.
As the story develops Callum meets other characters all of whom have stories that end up intertwining not least Foreign Office bod Harold, American girl Rachel, Kathy who works for the War Crimes Unit and Callum’s younger brother Victor.
Producer Helen Flint, who has worked with Poliakoff for many years explained that he piece is set after the five endless and brutal years of the Second World War. The aftermath of the bombing of London is still very evident. Light drenched the city as the sun filled the void where buildings used to stand, and children play in the left over bombsite.”
The majority of the filming was actually done in Liverpool, Flint explains why: “We filmed in Liverpool as we had access to an old bank in the centre of the city. The building size allowed us enough room to convert it into a hotel. Being able to base in one building brought us practical and therefore creative time which is everything as budgets reduce year on year. Nowadays, in London we don’t have empty buildings that we can use easily for sets, so as an industry we are constantly searching for places to film outside the capital. Liverpool is a compact and accessible city and therefore outside of our hotel sets, moving locations during the day was refreshingly achievable”.
Because he is so well regarded Poliakoff is always able to attract fabulous casts to his work and Close to the Enemy is no exception. Charlotte Riley, who plays Rachel in the series, made it plain saying “The scripts were fantastic, but the biggest draw of all was working with Stephen. Ever since Gideon’s Daughter, I’d always wanted to work with him. It’s been a dream of mine. I’d watch his films and think, “I’d love to be in that.” I have friends who have worked with him, and they have all had a great time.” This was something echoed by Poliakoff favourite Lindsay Duncan who said “he is one of those writers you always go to. I feel so lucky that over the years I’ve done a few of his projects. I love having a long-standing relationship with a writer, and Stephen is definitely one of those. He is unique, as all good writers are. He has a very particular world and a very particular voice. I just love working with him.”
UK / BBC Two – Little Island Productions – Endor Productions /7×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 2016
Writer and Director: Stephen Poliakoff / Costume Design: Nic Ede / Music: Adrian Johnston / Production Design: Rob Harris / Executive Producers: Helen Flint, Hilary Bevan Jones
Jim Sturgess as Callum Ferguson
Freddie Highmore as Victor Ferguson
Lucy Ward as Lotte Koehler
August Diehl as Dieter Koehler
Charlotte Riley as Rachel Lombard
Phoebe Fox as Kathy Griffiths
Sebastian Armesto as Alex Lombard
Robert Glenister as Brigadier Wainwright
Julian Bleach as Geoffrey Salter
Alfie Allen as Ringwood
Charity Wakefield as Julia
Ciara Charteris as Lucy Lindsay-Jones
Alfred Molina as Harold Lindsay-Jones
Lindsay Duncan as Frau Bellinghausen
Duncan Wisbey as Leonard
Angela Bassett as Eva
Carly Bawden as Ruth
Emma Fielding as Miss Clarkson
Sai Bennett as Anna
Simon Shackleton as Doctor
Aleksandar Jovanavic as Horst Kleinow
Antje Traue as Bergit Mentz
Vinette Robinson as Rita
TV Shows: Black Mirror
Black Mirror is a cult anthology series that looks into the near future to examine how modern society is being affected by our ever increasing obsession with technology.
Created by Charlie Brooker the first two seasons and a Christmas special were broadcast on Channel 4 before the show was poached by streaming giant Netflix who commissioned twelve new episodes split into two seasons.
Endemol who co-produce the series with Zeppotron described the series as a cross between The Twilight Zone and Tales of the Unexpected but it’s definitely a creature of our own time.
14 Oct 2016… Excellent interview with series creator Charlie Brooker over at Mother Jones in which he talks about his influences which included Hammer House of Horror, Tales of the Unexpected and how he was traumatised by 1980’s BBC nuclear war drama Threads. He also talks about how he is convinced non Brits see him as a Luddite ” I’m a worrier. In the UK, if I’m known for anything, it’s sort of for being cynical. I’m quite geeky and I’m very much into video games and technology and stuff like that. I think overseas viewers assume that Black Mirror is written by the Unabomber, essentially—a Luddite, technology-hating, angry old man waving his fist at the App Store. But I’m more pro-technology than people probably realise.”
7 Oct 2016… The official season 3 trailer from Netflix
Everything The Durrells, the guide to the ITV TV Drama starring Keeley Hawes
The Durrells is a period drama that began on ITV in 2016. Based on the much loved book by naturalist Gerald Durrell the show follows the adventures that his family have when they move to the island of Corfu in 1935.
Written by Simon Nye the series stars Keeley Hawes, Milo Parker, Josh O’Connor and Daisy Waterstone.
A second series has already been commissioned.
13 Oct 2016… With The Durrells about to start in America on PBS’s long running Masterpiece Theater strand (where it has been renamed The Durrells in Corfu) the Wall Street Journal had a nice preview of the series saying “while “The Durrells” takes place on a sun-washed Greek island, it fits the “Masterpiece Theater” tradition snugly, founded as it is in matters extremely British: The very-proper-fish-out-of-water theme is obvious and paramount; the dialogue by Simon Nye is acidly funny.”
There is also mention of how both Lawrence Durrell and Gerald played around with the facts a little when writing of their time on the island. “awrence, author of “The Alexandria Quartet,” decamped from Britain to Corfu in the mid-’30s with his wife, Nancy, having convinced his mother and siblings to join them later. They did, one of the results being younger brother Gerald’s memoir, “My Family and Other Animals” (part of his “Corfu Trilogy”) which omits Nancy entirely. So does this series, which is based on Gerald’s books—rather than Lawrence’s account, which neglects to mention his mother. For purposes of “The Durrells,” the omission of Nancy is inspired, because it puts the family under one roof.”
Actors: Idris Elba
Idris Elba is a popular British actor born in Hackney, London.
Idris studied at the National Youth Music Theatre and scored his first TV roles in soap opera Family Affairs and drama Ultraviolet before making a major name for himself as Russell “Stringer” Bell in US series The Wire. His BBC series Luther was been a major hit too.
Mostly active in movies he does still find some time for TV work.
14 Oct 2016… Idris has begun work on what promises to be a strong African based crime drama. Brazza, which is most likely a working title at this point in time, is set in the heart of Republic of Congo’s criminal underworld Brazzaville. Paul Viragh is attached as writer and Michael Winterbottom is also involved. Idris will definitely produce but no word on whether he will actually appear as well.
13 Oct 2016… Idris has been speaking to Shortlist magazine and remarked that before he found fame his toughest gig as appearing in criminal reenactments on BBC show Crimewatch!
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