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  • ian.64
    replied
    Hancock and Joan

    Wednesday 9 April, 9pm.

    The first shot of Walliams gurning in the trailer right after Most Sincerely (in slightly shabbily-applied make-up) had me a bit concerned though.

    But, I may be wrong. I'll give it a go.

    Leave a comment:


  • My Name Is Ian
    replied
    Hancock and Joan

    Suggestions noted. I was going to take a look at the Hancock thing, but it could only compare unfavourably next to "Hancock" with Alfred Molina, couldn't it?

    Does anyone know when the programme about Frankie Howerd with David Walliams playing him is on? I'm presuming that it will either be very good or very bad.

    Leave a comment:


  • wingco
    replied
    Hancock and Joan

    Very good posts from Ian here and I concur on both counts - I had to stop watching the Hancock thing for the reasons he cites.

    Leave a comment:


  • Tony C
    replied
    Hancock and Joan

    I remember that well, Ian.

    I think my parents actually stood up, though.

    Leave a comment:


  • ian.64
    replied
    Hancock and Joan

    Hmm. I had thoughts of a slightly evil and haggard Sven Goran Eriksson, myself.

    Actually, as Wincgo said earlier, it was very well done and enjoyable to watch, but the rattling-through of events gave it the conveyor-belt feel of this man's life. Man becomes famous, shags a lot, falls by the wayside in television's never-ending need for new ideas and pines to engage in some way with the daughter he illicitly had many moons ago.

    But it enthralled in its way, and even though I've never really had Eve down as an actor to really be enthused about, I thought he was exceptional in this. Although, I was bothered about those drink-sozzled flashbacks which showed Green as a kid approaching the bedrooom door which, when opened, showed his mum in sexual congress with a stranger. It's not the sex that irked me at all, nope, it was the tendency to add some discordant horror-movie music to the sequences, as if we were expecting an axe to come crashing down on the nipper's head once he stepped through the door.

    And there was a stylised dream sequence - Green on a bed being swarmed over by nude lovelies (it was Eve's creative integrity that led him to take the role, honest!). Another one after the maudlin and cheap-looking hallucinatory climax of Hancock and Joan. I'm not a betting man, but had I tenner now, I'd put it on there being one in the next drama about Frankie Howard.

    And I certainly do remember that edition of Opportunity Knocks where Hughie Green adds an astonishingly jingoistic coda, complete with triumphal, patriotic music and groups of assembled army and navy personnel standing to attention inside the studio.

    In the drama, Green (seen on television by a bloke who was supposed to be a disbelieving Jeremy Isaacs, but who came closer to resembling late Factory supremo, Anthony H. Wilson) stares into the camera and in hushed tones espouses his right-wing notions to the nation. When I saw it, Green started off quietly, then, as the music got louder and even more strident, his voice rose and he ended bellowing out all kinds of shit, "Stand up, Britain!" he yelled, "Stand up!".

    And then that was it. Nonplussed, I turned to my mom and dad who, as conservative as they were (and still are), tutted and couldn't quite believe what had happened themselves. Even in their expressions, they knew he was a mentalist.

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  • Wyatt Earp
    replied
    Hancock and Joan

    What I found slightly disconcerting was that the aged-up Trevor Eve, while not looking at all like Hughie Green, looked an awful lot like Richard Dawkins.

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  • ian.64
    replied
    Hancock and Joan

    The Hughie Green one is on now. Did Jess Yates really look as weird as that?

    As soon as Mark Benton appeared, the 'false headpiece alert' sounded (you could tell because the top half of his head was pinker than the rest of it).

    Trevor Eve can do Green's voice pretty well so it's a pity he doesn't look like him at all.

    I thought Eve was terrific, although I couldn't decide whether which side his performance fell on: 'faithful recreation' or 'exceptional impersonation'. Nontheless, he was excellent and his vocal replication of Green's plummy tones was superb to the point of eerie. Shut your eyes and he was alive again.

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  • N est à?
    replied
    Hancock and Joan



    "Is that altogether wise, sir?"

    "Maybe not, Wilson, but at least Tony fucking Hancock isn't knobbing my wife."

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Hancock and Joan

    The Hughie Green one is on now. Did Jess Yates really look as weird as that?

    Trevor Eve can do Green's voice pretty well so it's a pity he doesn't look like him at all.

    Leave a comment:


  • ian.64
    replied
    Hancock and Joan

    Well, saw it last night (on that TV On Demand thingy) and found it a quite dissatisfying experience, albeit with good bits.

    I can't help but compare it to Curse of Steptoe from last week. In its limited hour and five minutes, it not only conveyed why Steptoe & Son was so popular, gave a firm sense of time and place and had a solid cast with which its two main characters didn't have to overwhelm proceedings, it also had those two exceptional performances from Jason Isaacs and Phil Davis, who gave the viewer the essence of who these people were, sketches of detail and depth. They didn't have to be lookalikes. Yes, it helped that you had to have seen the show and know who they were, but the two leads accomplished so much that the viewer could easily just sit back and be involved.

    But, Hancock and Joan? To me it was this podgy little bloke who charmed the pants of his best friend's wife, fell in love, turned out to be a cunt when he got smashed and it all ended in tears. It's just that he was called Tony, she was Joan and he was John. There was nothing to suggest that this was a fallen giant on his uppers. No sense of the showbusiness world he occupied, no sense of who this man was and why he was the way he was. It was just Ken Stott being alternately jaunty then drunkenly sinister. To anyone who saw it and had no idea who Tony Hancock was (or for that matter, John Le Mesurier), it could have been any old showman who'd fallen from grace and became a shit when ratted.

    Take the dinner scene with Joan's family in Kent, in which Hancock calls her mum 'a parochial cunt' and is even disparaging of her young son. It should have been a stark example of the turmoil Hancock was in. Instead it was more a case of 'who is this fucker?', because, to me, it wasn't Hancock, it was just this bloke Ken Stott was playing.

    It was pure, total miscasting (Le Mesurier, too) in a flaccid, Steadycam-filled, washed-out evocation of the '60's. Now, Stott's no mean performer. He's damn good. But it was like watching David Pleat: Days of Hell, he wasn't Hancock, just this bloke. The casting people must have thought 'Hancock looked hangdog and put-upon, so does Ken Stott. Ken Stott is Hancock!'. And Alex Jennings's Le Mesurier was much worse, as people have mentioned on here, a fey, inadequate sighing-machine, who had this constant upturned, gurning smile on his face, as if practising for an upcoming Stan Laurel Impersonation Contest. He wasn't a character, just a vacuum. A human groan. For a love triangle to work, it helps if the third party isn't the Invisible Man.

    Maxine Peake came out of this best. It helped that we didn't entirely know who she was, so it was easier to relate to Joan. Her performance was the lynchpin - warm, likeable and loyal - of the whole drama, so it was irritating that her life was made difficult, severely so, by this strange, pudgy berk and her cotton-wool-strong husband.

    It worked sometimes as a drama about strangers. There was a moving moment or two and a funny bit along the way. It wasn't entirely a failure. But I reserve my 'fuck off' moment when Stott arrives 'from the library', along with his driver, with his stash of booze. Horrified, Joan tells the driver to get out.

    George Costigan, he of the glaring-eyed, sinister roles he's played in years past, is the chaffeur. He glares at Joan. He mutters something about 'working only for Mr. Hancock' and delivers his trademark poky-eyed stare. He stops becoming Tony Hancock's driver and becomes An Evil Chaffeur, missing only the sinister-sounding synth chords you hear in any thriller. I shout 'oh, piss off!'

    Curse of Steptoe used its slender budget to maximum effect. Hancock and Joan was this cheap thing filled with strangers. Not very good.

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  • ian.64
    replied
    Hancock and Joan

    Ah! Very good - I'll give it a go. Actually, Hancock's final days were dramatised before, weren't they? It was Alfred Molina doing the acting honours, I believe.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Hancock and Joan

    Ian, this Hancock drama is part-based on Edward Joffe's book, as well as on Joan Le Mesurier's autobiography.

    I don't know if you have BBC 4 but they will be repeating it on Friday night and Sunday night.

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  • ian.64
    replied
    Hancock and Joan

    I've seen the Hughie Green one, Ian. It's actually very well done, my qualm being that Green's talent and life don't really merit this quality of drama. Worth a look, though.

    Oh, I'll be watching, it's just that I saw a documentary on the bloke a year ago and found myself repulsed by this egomaniac who, while seemingly having this element within him that could evoke a kind of pity, came off as wildly cuntish, ogre-like and slimy in his need to 'entertain', treating his nearest and dearest like shit whenever any show failed on the night or whether he felt he hadn’t given his all. In all obviousness, it's this Peter Sellers-like rejection of loved ones and refusal to show affection (the old-hat ‘price of fame’) that probably attracted the dramatists rather than any ember of talent (which Sellers – wanker that he was – had in abundance.

    He does stick out like a sore thumb though: Corbett, Bramble, Hancock, Howard...Green.

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  • Wyatt Earp
    replied
    Hancock and Joan

    Hancock's own material was pretty weak, by all accounts; his success on radio and TV was down to the way Galton and Simpson were able to capture his persona in their far more sophisticated scripts. Hancock's failure to recognise this fact led directly to the implosion of his career.

    I know that stuff about how an actor's performance as a real character shouldn't be a Rory Bremner-style impression, but on this occasion I'd have liked "John le Mesurier" to have sounded more like John le Mesurier. That peculiar stress pattern in many of his sentences was completely absent, and he just came across as an identikit posh English drip.

    Otherwise, very good, I thought. I didn't see anything incongruous in Joan's behaviour. Love really can be as mysterious and inexplicable as that.

    Leave a comment:


  • wingco
    replied
    Hancock and Joan

    I've seen the Hughie Green one, Ian. It's actually very well done, my qualm being that Green's talent and life don't really merit this quality of drama. Worth a look, though.

    Leave a comment:


  • ian.64
    replied
    Hancock and Joan

    Haven't seen it yet (I await the Hughie Green drama with the trepidation and dread one you feel when Janet Leigh's in the shower prior to getting offed by Anthony Perkins), but for a fine comment on Hancock's last years, I remember Edward Joffe's book 'Hancock's Last Stand', which chronicles the man's visit to Australia and his death there, which skewers a myth or two - Hancock dies in a modern, all-mod-cons, state-of-the-art luxury apartment instead of a grungy bedsit, for example.

    An excellent book.

    Leave a comment:


  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest started a topic Hancock and Joan

    Hancock and Joan

    Watched this earlier, a 90-minute drama about the affair between Tony Hancock and John Le Mesurier's wife Joan which ended with the former's suicide in Australia. Not bad. Included one incongruously funny moment where, in the midst of a domestic fight, Hancock falls over clutching a bottle of brandy -- twice -- and on both occasions passes out but still doesn't spill a drop of liquid from the container.

    A couple of things seemed a bit odd about it. The John Le Mesurier character was wet beyond belief (was he like that in real life?) -- when his wife told him of the affair she's having with his best friend, he murmured: "This must be awful for you," which is kind of taking the stiff upper lip thing somewhat too far. Later, there was a bit where Joan, having left Hancock due to his drunkenness and physical abuse, is sitting in her parents' house watching TV, and Hancock appears on the screen being interviewed on a chat show and looking tremendously witty. In that moment, she just suddenly decides to go back to him, even though he's almost completely wrecked her existence with his horrible treatment of her.

    I don't know much about Hancock's oeuvre, but the routines of his which featured in the film -- if they were indeed drawn from his own material -- were pretty unamusing. I did, however, like the the sequence where Stott frantically psyches himself up before going onstage. "This is it! Come on, you wanker!"
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