THE LIFE AND WORK OF DENNIS POTTER by W. Stephen Gilbert

THE LIFE AND WORK OF DENNIS POTTER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A thoughtful study of the work of Dennis Potter, arguably the finest writer ever to come out of television. The gifted British writer is probably best known to American audiences for Pennies from Heaven and The Singing Detective, strikingly original miniseries combining darkly perceptive psychological drama with lip-synched popular songs of the ’40s and ’40s. But these shows were just a fraction of the remarkable work accomplished by Potter in his troubled life. As painted by Gilbert, Potter was an unhappy, often bitter man, whose lifelong battle with psoriatic arthopathy, an agonizing skin disease, was portrayed literally in The Singing Detective and figuratively in the isolation and suffering of many of his characters. Gilbert, a television producer as well as journalist, gives a vivid picture of the British television and film worlds Potter moved in but is less successful in portraying his personal world. Indeed, Potter’s private life all but vanishes after chapters on hgrets that the book, published in England in 1995, has not been updated for its American publication to include analyses of those plays produced after Potter’s death. More “Work” than “Life,” Gilbert’s book will provide much enlightenment for Potter devotees, but the definitive biography of this gifted artist is still to be written. (b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Aug. 10th, 1998
ISBN: 0-87951-872-1
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Overlook
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1998