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British screenwriter and teleplaywright Dennis Potter--best known to American audiences, perhaps, for Pennies from Heaven (and even then, for the Steve Martin adaptation, though the original British miniseries starring Bob Hoskins be less well known)--was a brave man. His private life was a torture of extreme psoriasis coupled with arthritis, which turned his hands into claws and his skin into snowflakes. His public life was a constant bombardment of censorial criticism as he pushed the boundaries of television with his challenging psychosexual dramas. Yet his genius was never questioned--and the viewing public were ultimately forced to readjust its couch position. The biography begins with Potter's childhood in the Forest of Dean, through a highly political Oxford career and his marriage to his childhood and lifelong sweetheart. After this comes the work, a mutated hybrid of Potter's own life and a dream world constructed from songs and sexual fantasies. Carpenter treads carefully; there are still many living friends and relatives, and some of the material is emotionally complex. He presents Potter through detailed accounts of his work and extensive interviews with friends, lovers, and colleagues, leaving readers to make up their own minds about this fiery, brilliant, demanding man. Potter's life has often been reduced to a tabloid blur of slurs; this biography offers readers a chance to see the man in all his guises. --Hannah Griffiths, Amazon.co.uk --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Quirky, reclusive and prolific, the English writer Dennis Potter (19351994) reinvented serious TV with his frequently harrowing and much-lauded teleplays. Also a critic, novelist and cinema screenwriter, Potter was a man of spectacular contradictions, as Carpenter makes abundantly clear in this revealing and astute biography. A coalminers son who graduated from Oxford, Potter lived with his wife in an expensive Victorian mansion but openly attacked class prejudice and flaunted his working-class roots. A lifelong socialist and unsuccessful Labor Party parliamentary candidate who called for the breakup of the BBC monopoly, he turned away from his parents fundamentalism but periodically embraced a vaguely Christian, optimistic faith in a benevolent God. A family man and a father of three, he confessed compulsively to friends that he visited multitudes of prostitutes; his plays, full of relentless self-exposure, often allude to the sexual abuse he suffered at age 10 from a homosexual uncle. A manic-depressive, Potter overused tranquilizers, steroids and booze, partly to seek relief from crippling, disfiguring psoriatic arthropathy (psoriasis compounded by arthritis). Potter died at 59, from cancer, outliving his steadfast wife by just a few days. His last works left critics divided: was he a Swiftian genius or an overrated icon? In this candid, authorized biography, Carpenter (biographer of Tolkien, Auden, C.S. Lewis and Benjamin Britten) refrains from taking sides. American audiences will be most familiar with Potters BBC musical serials, Pennies from Heaven (1977) and The Singing Detective (1986)both aired here by PBSyet this convivial biography takes the full measure of a prodigious talent whose output ran the gamut from science fiction to political satire. Photos.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.