Monday, 28 January 2013

Dennis Potter -- kind of

He's a menace...

...he's a wizard...

...he's Dennis Potter the recalcitrant magical playwright, who's always in trouble with the censor.

"Dennis!!" it's the controller of the BBC on the phone, he sounds very angry.

"Oh what is it now?" replies Dennis.

"It's this new play of yours, it wont do, it's far too..."

"Too what?" chuckles Dennis.

"Less of your cheek, sonny, you know far too well what it's too much of, it's far too fruity for BBC1."

"Stick it on BBC2 then, no one will watch it there."

"Now look here you little..." the controller is getting very angry with Dennis now.

 "Stick and stones..." taunts Dennis, his delight at the controllers apoplexy is short lived however, as the controller gains control of his temper and tries a bit of charm instead.

"Dennis" he says with all the smarm he can muster, "don't be like that, I know you're a good playwright. I just need you to be a bit more cooperative. What I need from you is another Pennies from Devon, the play about the dairy farmer who smuggled money in clotted cream buns to his brother in gaol, Or the Spinning Detective the play about a crofter in the Hebrides who investigates the mysterious events surrounding the disappearance of his wife every Saturday afternoon while he's watching the football on the only telly on his island.

"Righty oh" says Dennis, I'll knock something out this afternoon."

"That's a good playwright and remember nothing too fruity."



"Oh all right," Dennis concedes wearily  "cross my heart"

"Good, by the way, I've got that Mary Lighthouse coming round tomorrow, I want her to read it to preempt any trouble from her and her cronies, can you get it ready for then?"

"Mary Lighthouse! not that old bag."

"Now now Dennis, sticks and stones, remember."

"Yuck, oh alright then" says Dennis as the controller hangs up.

Now what's that spell for a play with no rude bits in, he wonders to himself, "Dramaticus nil perviumdum". Flash!! a collection of Mickey Mouse and Whinny the Poo DVD's appears out of nowhere. No that's not right how about...

"Bardicus no Saucybiticus" Crack!! A copy of Frankie Howard's autobiography appears. "Oh dear."

"Plagerous non tissueneedicus..." Woosh! "...bugger."

 "Scriptorius nil filthyiticum,,," Zap! "...oh flip"

"Tellyplayus san bluematerialus..." Fwwap! "...this is getting tedious now."


Finally after hours of fruitless spell casting, at something like 5:00 in the morning:

"Yawhhniodacium me soknackerdius" Foooff! a completed double spaced manuscript appears annotated with stage directions, lighting, camera angles and music suggestions.

"At last!" Dennis says wearily then promptly falls to sleep.

After he's woken by his alarm Dennis calls a bike to courier the manuscript to Shepard's Bush. Bleary eyed he copies the title from the first page and writes the strap-line on a covering note:

The Blue Remembering PIlls

One man's fight to find a cure for dementia.

After the courier call he trundles wearily back to bed for a snooze. He's woken a few hours later by an angry controller.

"Dennis!" the controller shouts angrily down the phone.

"Wha..." Dennis peeps meekly

"That play you sent over, The Blue Remembering Pills, I've just had Mary LIghthouse in my office tearing me off a strip over it"

"What's wrong"

"You put the wrong title on it, it's called The Blue Restraining Hills, it's a play about a group of bondage fetishists who conduct their wanton habits amongst the heather clad hillocks of the lake district"

"But... but..."

"But what?" says the controller


"Grrrr" snarls the controller.


"...heather's purple"


  1. Look forward to the bit where Dennis wages a campaign of terror against the effeminate BBC softies when the Commissioning Editor tells him his play needs to contain more bonnets and a role for Stephen Fry.