Dallas; Cardiff Docks; Bob Marley; Only Fools   Leave a comment

I saw a photo yesterday of Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray, promoting the return this summer of Dallas, the TV show.  Still one of the highest viewed programmes, especially the ‘Who Shot JR?” cliff hanger, it even made the news when the film for that episode arrived at Heathrow!

Is it good though to remake classics, films or TV shows?  Charlie’s Angels, The A Team, Starsky and Hutch, Hawaii 5-O, 90210.  Some work, as in 90210, but are they running out of original ideas.  Aren’t some films and shows sacred?  This year has a load of celebrations for Charles Dickens but how many times can you remake Great Expectations?  Are you ever going to better David Lean’s superior and atmospheric film?  No.

How many times can you remake Shakespeare for Heaven’s sake? (or tour it for that matter).  Why remake du Maurier’s Rebecca – Hitchcock’s first Hollywood film, Olivier and Joan Fontaine?  This happens to be one of my favourite books, a stunning, original novel, haunted by a ghost, a memory, a false one at that.  Anyway, the answer is one word – America.

American TV can’t get enough of British period drama so many productions are actually made in partnership with the BBC and American networks such as A & E.

It is frustrating though because it means that the tight budget from drama is not spent on new writing, original drama, as much as it could and should be, because it’s a harder sell.  ITV are actually presenting more original, contemporary drama than the Beeb and even Sky are getting in to the act.

The internet though holds possible exciting answers – being able to access the internet on our TV we can go from BBC iplayer to Love film or Netflix to any site, so for independent television and film makers this is possible an answer, getting your film or programme into millions and millions of homes, reaching people through not only their TV but through their laptops, iPads or tablets, even iPhones and smartphones.  The hard work will be networking and promoting your film/TV show who people watch it but if it’s good, word of mouth is a powerful force.

I’m excited that this year my new books scheduled will be available not only on Amazon but also ibooks and Kobo, with the paperback of Jackson Woods stories available around September.  Here’s the draft cover.  That’s Cardiff docks, the Norwegian church on the bay where my father’s parents met.  What is ironic is that the Pierhead building, where my mother’s father worked, is just in the shot on the left (he was dock master during the second world war), a few hundred yards away.  All at the same time in the early 1920’s but not knowing each other at the time.

Cardiff docks have changed so much.  Tiger Bay was exciting, dangerous, as in the 1959 film, which, like the aforementioned David Lean film Great Expectation, also stars John Mills.

The club to go to down the docks was the Casablanca.  It played some serious reggae.  I was a white 17 year old kid,  but was always welcomed, mainly because the record store I worked in after school and on Saturdays used to supply them with the music, and also a friend of my father’s, Annis, used to own it.  I loved that club and the crowd.

I can remember driving home one night and John Peel played Bob Marley’s Waiting in Vain.  I actually stopped the car to listen to it.  The next morning I found the dub version, with Junior (Police and Thieves) and loved it.  Here’s a great video for Waiting.


I also remember driving through the docks at night, in an old transit we had for the band at the time.  There were timber yards and steel and more.  I remember finding a small fibreglass boat one night too at the side of the road………  All the yards have of course gone, now luxury apartments.

There’s a great episode of Only Fools and Horses where Uncle Albert goes missing after being mugged.  He makes his way down to the docks where he used to work to find it has all changed.  Very poignant, made especially more so due to John Sullivan getting permission from McCartney to use his track.  Here it is.


News that American TV are making their version of Only Fools.  David Jason is not best pleased apparently, yet he is in talks to make a UK version of Everybody Loves Raymond – what goes around eh?


Posted February 2, 2012 by Jon Johanson in Uncategorized

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