In a 2002 interview David Bowie was asked what he felt the point of art was – ‘It’s a head-spinning dichotomy – of the lust for life against the finality of everything…it’s those two things raging against each other, you know. And that produces these moments that feel like real truth…that is the entire story right there. That’s it, there’s no more to be said.‘
TRIBUTE PODCASTS are a series of 13 dramatic monologues between 7 & 15 minutes in length – all eulogies / reflections about the deaths (and lives) of fictional characters.
One of the inspirations for this project – if that’s the right word – was a series of deaths in 2016 – my mother, principally, but also David Bowie, Victoria Wood, Prince, Alan Rickman, Glenn Frey, Terry Wogan, Gene Wilder etc etc. And in September 2015, one of my son’s best friends, 20 years old, died in a boating accident in New Zealand. He’d died saving someone else’s life when he and a group of 10 friends got into difficulties kayaking on a lake. It was only James and one other American boy who died, the rest survived. And James may have survived if he hadn’t swum back into the lake to try and save a friend. James was the nicest young guy you could ever meet. Gentle, kind, with a smile that lit up a room, his death at such a young age has really rocked his local community and of course devastated his family – his parents and two younger brothers.
So this project is dedicated to the memory of JAMES MURPHY.
While all 13 of these podcasts are about death, I hope you’ll find them uplifting rather than depressing. I hope they’ll make you realise the value of each and every life, how every single person’s life is extraordinary and unique in some way.
Most of these mini-dramas are about the legacy of love we leave behind.
I have many people to thank – first and foremost all of the writers and actors involved. I put out a call through my fortnightly newsletter for these scripts and the response was wonderful. I received about 60 scripts and the quality was so good. And these 12 scripts are the pick of the bunch. They show off some really exciting writing talent. The 13th script I wrote myself – producer’s privilege.
Some of these scripts are more autobiographical than others but they’re all distinctive and written with passion and commitment.
Secondly I need to thank the actors who all did this basically for free. Every single one of them turned up on the day having done thorough preparation work and without exception brought even more to the script than I’d ever seen in them.
Finally I need to thank WILL MOUNT and PATRICK BRENNAN.
Patrick has cast the actors for our day of script readings on the last 6 years of the Channel 4 Screenwriting course (and on the Carlton TV writing course before that). As well as being an excellent actor, he is an outstanding casting director – he has great taste in actors! As ever, he persuaded some really brilliant actors to take part in this project, but as ever with Patrick’s recommendations, all had put some serious thought and work into their performances, and brought so much added value to the scripts. Nearly all of the writers attended the recordings, and it was a treat for all of them to see their scripts brought so wonderfully to life.
As well as doing a brilliant job of casting and persuading some very busy, very talented actors to take part, Patrick gives a wonderful performance in Louise Vale’s REX.
Will Mount is one of the writers (of the excellent AN IRRESISTIBLE FORCE) and, luckily for me, happens to run a recording studio in Whitechapel. Will – incredibly generously – gave me 5 (long) days of his time to record and edit the monologues, and then spent much of the next couple of weeks after that fine-tuning each recording.
But not only that – he also acted my piece – and, I’m sure you’ll agree – did a brilliant job – AND wrote the musical theme for the series. Truly a master of all trades and the nicest, most patient guy, to whom I am massively indebted. Thank you Will!