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An unusually brilliant generation of film-makers emerged from British television drama in the 1960-70s – none more formidable than Alan Clarke. Yet Clarke enjoyed only a vague renown among the public, even though some of his most incendiary productions – Scum, The Firm, Made in Britain – attracted great controversy. But he was greatly admired by his fellow professionals: ‘He became the best of all of us’, Stephen Frears observed after Clarke’s untimely death in 1990.
In his work Clarke explored working-class lives and left-wing themes with unflinching directness and humour. He forged alliances with gifted writers and producers, and his facility for encouraging stunning performaces (from Gary Oldman, Tim Roth, Ray Winstone) made him a hero amongst actors. As a man, Clarke’s wit, vigour and generosity were legendary. Yet he retained a privacy which made him enigmatic and imbued his work with much of its austere radiance. This volume is a tribute to Clarke, made out of the thoughts and memories of those who worked with him and knew him best, and includes a celebatory essay by eminent critic, David Thomson.
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