Saturday, January 27, 2007


Throughout February the BFI’s National Film Theatre, on London’s South Bank, is screening a brief season of films and television programmes celebrating the work of arguably one of Britain’s finest television writers: Troy Kennedy Martin.

Beginning his television career in 1958, Kennedy Martin wrote for the anthology and single-play formats before creating the then-revolutionary police drama Z Cars as a response to the complacency and cosy predictability of traditional police series like Dixon of Dock Green. Running from 1962 to 1978, Z Cars injected a much needed realism and energy into the genre with topical storylines and complex flawed characters.

In the late 1960s and early 70s, Kennedy Martin wrote single dramas for The Wednesday Play and Out Of The Unknown, the six-part Diary of a Young Man, as well as episodes of the military police drama Redcap starring John Thaw, producer Gerry Glaister’s wartime drama Colditz, and the historical epic Fall of Eagles. In 1975 we wrote for The Sweeney, created by his brother Ian, which had instigated another seismic shift in television police drama with its fast pace and undiluted violence.

In the early 1980s Kennedy Martin wrote the twelve-part espionage thriller Reilly, Ace of Spies, based on the real life exploits of the WWI double agent Sigmund Rosenblum and the five-part adaptation of Angus Wilson's The Old Men at the Zoo. The two dramas were followed by his undisputed masterpiece, Edge of Darkness. A groundbreaking conspiracy thriller that effortlessly transcended the genre with its mix of murder, politics, nuclear tensions and ecological concerns, Edge of Darkness remains one of British television’s finest long-form drama serials.

Kennedy Martin returned to television in the late 1990s with the HBO/BBC nuclear submarine thriller Hostile Waters and an adaptation of Andy McNab’s SAS memoir Bravo Two Zero, and then in 2004 with Red Dust, starring Hilary Swank and Chiwetel Ejiofor and based around South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In his long career, Kennedy Martin has written five feature films including the hit classic caper movie The Italian Job, starring Michael Caine and Noel Coward, WWII heist comedy Kelly’s Heroes, and Red Heat starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

As part of the season, Troy Kennedy Martin will be interviewed on-stage about his writing career on Tuesday 6th February at 8.30pm, following a screening of The Italian Job.

For information on all the films and television episodes in the season, which includes all six episodes of Edge of Darkness showing on Saturday 24th February, visit the NFT website. Alternatively call the NFT Box Office on 020 7928 3232 for ticket prices and availability.


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