Recent idle moments from June 2024

Boys from the Blackstuff


The TV series was without a doubt a landmark drama whose impact resonated decades after its initial broadcast on BBC2 in 1982. Watching it now as a stage play was a very emotional experience, bringing back vivid memories of my "youth" and the era of the Thatcher government - despite the fact that Bleasdale created the story before Thatcher actually came to power; it generally describes the social impact of the economy throughout the 70s and into the 1980s.
All the cast were excellent but I have to have a low key shout out to Barry Sloane, who was called upon to play Yosser Hughes "one of the most intense and memorable characters in British TV history, whose image and catchphrase were imprinted on British culture". Although it may be the most interesting part to play, it's now pretty difficult, due to the fact that the character is totally synonymous with the actor Bernard Hill, such that even now, if you google either Hill or his character, you will find endless references to the 1980's TV series. Anyway... he clearly enjoyed the role and played it excellently.
It was "Boys from the Blackstuff" the TV series that really brought Alan Bleasdale to the fore in popular culture, subsequently being recognised in as one of the foremost TV dramatists of the age. Apparently he resisted all offers of adapting the play for the stage but has been finally won round by James Graham. [I note that Bleasdale is described as "the foremost TV dramatist" but I really enjoyed his play "Having a Ball" (a comedy) which I saw in 1982 - though from what I read I think Bleasdale regarded it as something of a failure - which it isn't!].