Thursday, 28 April 2011
Britain says "Goodbye" to an old tv screen writer called Ken Taylor
The screenwriter Ken Taylor has died at the age of 88.
What you possibly didn't know about Ken, that he :
* was born in Bolton, the 7th son of a Lancashire cotton-mill owner and went to Gresham's school in Norfolk, where he 'discovered' drama.
* saw many unemployed and idle on the streets which sparked a lifelong political conscience.
* delayed a place at Cambridge University in order to fight 'Nazism' in the Second World War and after the War studied theatre direction at the 'Old Vic Theatre School'.
* had his first radio play broadcast in 1941.
* with the arrival of 'Commercial Television' in the mid-1950s, made a name for himself as a writer of gritty, kitchen-sink drama.
He then worked on the :
* 1961 tv drama, 'The Slaughter Men', with Ken Morahan which gave the actor James Bolam his first starring role.
* 'The Long Distance Blue', starring Tom Bell, in 1962.
* 1964 teleplay 'The Devil and John Brown', for which he won the Writers' Guild award.
* 1974 story of the Suffragettes : Shoulder to Shoulder :
* 1975 adaptation of Muriel Spark's 'The Girls of Slender Means'.
* 1983 BBC version of Jane Austen's 'Mansfield Park'.
* 1984 Granada series and perhaps his biggest success, 'The Jewel in the Crown', based upon the 'Raj Quartet' novels by Paul Scott * See note below.
* the 1992 Channel 4 's Mary Wesley's, 'The Camomile Lawn'.
* the 1996 'Peacock Spring', his last adaption :
The Director, Christopher Morahan has said that :
"Ken was a clever, compassionate writer and never once did his selfless talents distort the humanity of his vision and his loyalty to his material. The process of adaptation, of telling stories for a visual and popular medium is complex, requiring modesty, sympathy and intellectual rigour in discerning meanings and intentions. The adapter has to be both loyal and creative.
Ken wrote great parts for women throughout his career and preferred the company of women believing that 'the human race ... must give way to the female instincts of nurturing ... if we are to have the smallest hope of surviving.'
A good example of this is in his memorable portraits of the Pankhurst family in 1974 in 'Shoulder to Shoulder', catching the spirit of the times, both of the story and the 1970's when they were written".
'Jewel in the Crown' : set between 1942 and '47, centres on a public-school educated Indian called Hari Kumar (Art Malik) who is wrongly accused of raping a British woman. Hari is tortured by a jealous and sadistic British officer, Ronald Merrick (Tim Pigott-Smith), who knows he is innocent. Set in the fictional city of Mayapore in the years leading up to Indian independence it explains the complex relationship between the British Empire and its 'subjects'.