Reach Out And Touch Crazy
This little film here was brought to you by Nicola (Cracker) Shindler's Red Production Company in Manchester: it also brought you Queer As Folk for Channel 4, and Casanova (starring David Tennant) for BBC3. This one was for ITV, which also showed Bob & Rose and Mine All Mine -- all written by Russell T. Davies, of course. Which is really why we're here, of course. It was commissioned as four one-hour episodes by Channel 4, way back in 1999. New executives, I'd imagine, shit their britches at some point and dropped it. We won't be working with Channel 4 anymore. BBC gave it a posh and immediate Fuck No, so Davies and Shindler took it to ITV, which had gotten stodgy. It finally aired in February 2003 to great numbers and a hell of a lot of controversy. It holds up: Lesley Sharp, Chris Eccleston, and Mark Benton are open enough to keep it relevant...technically forever, I think. It's hard to watch. Probably hard to read about. I pitched it because it's basically impossible to recap, and it makes me about start crying just thinking about it a month later, and that's funny. We're going to be walking some serious tightropes here, and we're going to keep it brief, either way. ["I want to believe that this time." -- Wing Chun]
"You Really Got Me Now" plays really loudly, because this is the beginning of a British show, over a raucous bar scene with the cameras all wild and overwhelming. The bar is called the Brickwall, and it's in Manchester, because Manchester is the new London. Everybody awesome is from Manchester. Alan Turing, Tim Booth, Morrissey, Anthony Burgess, Niels Bohr, Bernhard Neumann, Paul ErdÅs, Ludwig Wittgenstein, the Bee Gees...and Steve Baxter, played by Chris Eccleston, who sidesteps some bar drama to get the beers back to his table. There's Fiona and Dave -- they're married; she's obnoxious and needy, he's a chunk of sod -- and there's Peter, their unattached friend. And there's Judith. There's automatically a vibe with Judith, even as she joins the others in urging Steve to go talk to some girls at another table. The girls are quite young, and look terrible, just nasty, and they laugh in his face via fisheye lens. It's very realistically just like being drunk in a horrible club. I can't speak to the veracity of the camera work once God and Jesus and the Devil and their collective bag of bullshit show up, but in terms of a bad night at a bar, it's veritÃ©.