BBC FOUR TV: The Lost Decade

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Bob Rothwell
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BBC FOUR TV: The Lost Decade

Post by Bob Rothwell » Tue 13 Sep, 2005 17:49:17

An advance warning to set aside all trivial pursuits and be ready with video/DVD recorders towards the end of October. Get a good supply of suitable refreshments ready, send the family away, arrange boarding for the pets, unplug the phone, switch off the mobile, draw the curtains, double-lock all the doors; in short, get rid of all possible distractions.

Yes - DW will be gracing our screens!!

BBC FOUR TV are presenting a series of programmes throughout October dealing with Britain's 'lost decade, 1945-1955'. Included in this series will be a showing of the Hammer film, 'The Devil Rides Out' (Saturday 29 Oct) and a documentary entitled 'A Letter To Posterity' (Monday 31 Oct) (both dates still to be confirmed). Briefly, the programme re-examines DW's legacy and, using a letter he wrote in 1947 and buried in a subsequently unearthed time capsule, reveals DW's fears for the future and his contempt for the present; and seeks to answer the question of what DW would make of the world today if he really were to return.

A presspack for the series can be seen by following this link BBC FOUR Autumn 2005 Press Pack.

Complementing the series is a BBC web site which also contains an excellent page on the Wheatley documentary and includes some rare audio and video clips (although I couldn't get the videos to work last night). The Wheatley page can be found by following this link The Lost Decade 1945-1955 - Dennis Wheatley: A Letter To Posterity.

What can we expect? Well, according to the producer, "The programme raises an eyebrow at the far right politics betrayed in the Letter, but concludes that while Wheatley may not have been the greatest prosodist of all time, he did, as he says himself, know how to tell a good story and some books, notably The Devil Rides Out, are classics and should not be out of print."

The Lost Decades web site also contains a link to allow you to have your say on the series. I fully expect a hugh response from you all, praising the Beeb's recognition of DW's influence at that time and since; asking why DW's books are not still in print; and now he is back in the public eye, wouldn't it be great to have some of his series televised!!

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A letter to posterity - The Lost decade - TV

Post by Stevie P » Wed 14 Sep, 2005 08:24:54

Is it a coincidence that they are showing the master of Black magic ficion on Halloween!!!!

Its great to see that he is being recognised. Hopefully the value of the second hand books will increase - but not too much as there ar still quite a few that I need!!!.

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Post by Garry Holmes » Sat 17 Sep, 2005 13:37:05

So the BBC are actually acknowledging that he was a very popular writer. And about time, too.

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Post by Jim » Sun 18 Sep, 2005 15:30:20

I wonder if there's any chance of this series being picked up by one of the U.S. cable affiliates that shows BBC material. While DW is virtually unknown over here now, many of his books were published in U.S. editions, and he still has some fans, of course. Besides that, the episodes on Wyndham and Searle should appeal to their followers.

The letter's just what one would expect, I guess. While it needs to be viewed as a period piece, the author is speaking honestly and with great love for his home and countrymen.

The BBC page is wonderful, and I hope to be able to download all those goodies for later enjoyment.

Thanks to Bob for the head's-up!

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Post by Garry Holmes » Sat 24 Sep, 2005 10:33:55

I've just remembered, did anyone see that ITV drama/documentary 'Fooling Hitler' a little while back? It concerned that activities of the deception planning department that DW was part of. It was OK, but I do wonder that his family didn't picket the studio. DW was portrayed as some burbling halfwit, who spent his time producing silly and unworkable schemes. The way that his part was written and played made him seem more like a character out of P G Wodehouse! The image that sticks in my mind is of the actor playing DW pouring himself a glass of champagne whilst sat in an armchair which was in the centre of a pentacle. Oh dear....

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Post by Guest » Tue 11 Oct, 2005 21:24:46

Garry Holmes wrote:I've just remembered, did anyone see that ITV drama/documentary 'Fooling Hitler' a little while back? It concerned that activities of the deception planning department that DW was part of. It was OK, but I do wonder that his family didn't picket the studio. DW was portrayed as some burbling halfwit, who spent his time producing silly and unworkable schemes. The way that his part was written and played made him seem more like a character out of P G Wodehouse! The image that sticks in my mind is of the actor playing DW pouring himself a glass of champagne whilst sat in an armchair which was in the centre of a pentacle. Oh dear....

Guest

Post by Guest » Tue 11 Oct, 2005 21:31:42

Garry Holmes wrote:I've just remembered, did anyone see that ITV drama/documentary 'Fooling Hitler' a little while back? It concerned that activities of the deception planning department that DW was part of. It was OK, but I do wonder that his family didn't picket the studio. DW was portrayed as some burbling halfwit, who spent his time producing silly and unworkable schemes.
Sorry about the false post there. I pressed the wrong button. I did read a DW book about his time spent thinking up ideas for WW2. I cant rember it very clearly but he seemed to think he had played a useful role in WW2. However there seemd to be an unconcious sub text running through it that he was a self important man who the authorites didnt want and they just gave him something to do to keep him out of their hair as much as possible.

John

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Re: BBC FOUR TV: The Lost Decade

Post by Guest » Sat 22 Oct, 2005 05:24:54

Bob Rothwell wrote:An advance warning to set aside all trivial pursuits and be ready with video/DVD recorders towards the end of October. Get a good supply of suitable refreshments ready, send the family away, arrange boarding for the pets, unplug the phone, switch off the mobile, draw the curtains, double-lock all the doors; in short, get rid of all possible distractions.

Yes - DW will be gracing our screens!!

BBC FOUR TV are presenting a series of programmes throughout October dealing with Britain's 'lost decade, 1945-1955'. Included in this series will be a showing of the Hammer film, 'The Devil Rides Out' (Saturday 29 Oct) and a documentary entitled 'A Letter To Posterity' (Monday 31 Oct) (both dates still to be confirmed). Briefly, the programme re-examines DW's legacy and, using a letter he wrote in 1947 and buried in a subsequently unearthed time capsule, reveals DW's fears for the future and his contempt for the present; and seeks to answer the question of what DW would make of the world today if he really were to return.

A presspack for the series can be seen by following this link BBC FOUR Autumn 2005 Press Pack.

Complementing the series is a BBC web site which also contains an excellent page on the Wheatley documentary and includes some rare audio and video clips (although I couldn't get the videos to work last night). The Wheatley page can be found by following this link The Lost Decade 1945-1955 - Dennis Wheatley: A Letter To Posterity.

What can we expect? Well, according to the producer, "The programme raises an eyebrow at the far right politics betrayed in the Letter, but concludes that while Wheatley may not have been the greatest prosodist of all time, he did, as he says himself, know how to tell a good story and some books, notably The Devil Rides Out, are classics and should not be out of print."

The Lost Decades web site also contains a link to allow you to have your say on the series. I fully expect a hugh response from you all, praising the Beeb's recognition of DW's influence at that time and since; asking why DW's books are not still in print; and now he is back in the public eye, wouldn't it be great to have some of his series televised!!

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Lost Decade

Post by Wayne » Sun 23 Oct, 2005 03:33:54

Does anyone know if the LOst Decade or the ITV programme will be coming to Australian television? It seems only fair as we've sent England Neighbours. :lol:

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Post by Bob Rothwell » Mon 24 Oct, 2005 18:14:11

Sorry Wayne - no idea. Don't know if http://www.bbb.co.uk/ can help you anywhere?

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Post by Bob Rothwell » Mon 24 Oct, 2005 18:18:40

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: Revised programme schedule.

DENNIS WHEATLEY: A LETTER TO POSTERITY
Saturday 29 October 2005 9pm-10pm; rpt Sunday 30 October, 1.05am-2.05am, Tuesday 1 November 11.50pm-12.50am

FILM 'THE DEVIL RIDES OUT'
Saturday 29 October 2005 10pm-11.35pm

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Post by Garry Holmes » Sat 29 Oct, 2005 12:06:26

DW night, tonight! I hope that it's a good documentary!

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Post by Bob Rothwell » Sat 29 Oct, 2005 17:02:54

Try to ignore the voice-over to The Letter!!

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Post by Bob Rothwell » Sat 29 Oct, 2005 22:19:16

OK - I'll be first!

I had been warned by Phil Baker that he would come over as a bumbling idiot compared to all the other egg-heads round the table, and I got the distinct impression that DW was going to be set up again by the media as the far-right who could only be reviled by today's 'liberalists'.

Well, on the 1st point - how wrong could you be, Phil. You were magnificent and I consider that as you told me you had been sat round that table with your decanter of Ribena for five hours, the editor had definitely been on the side of fair play.

Re the 'speaking' of 'The Letter', a different story. Isn't it amazing how different the written word can be made to sound when given the wrong innotation. My God! even some of Hitler's maniacal speeches sounded tame compared to the venom interspersed with the bitterness of the narrator. I suspect, of course, the narrator only produced what the producers wanted.
(For a sight of 'The Letter' and a corresponding text version, visit Richard Humphreys' excellent page at http://www.denniswheatley.info/sams_boo ... terity.htm)

Thoroughly enjoyed the old clips and interviews (why, oh why, won't the BBC make their archives available to the general public?).

Did you pick up the enthusiam that DW shouldn't be out of print - especially from the publisher? In case you weren't aware, she is Kate Bradley, Head of Fiction at BCA (Book Club Associates), and if the rumours are true, look out for two omibuses coming out in November : To the Devil a Daughter/The Satanist and The Devil Rides Out/Gateway to Hell.

Now your turn, please.
Last edited by Bob Rothwell on Mon 12 Dec, 2005 14:56:58, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Nick » Sun 30 Oct, 2005 02:58:38

My turn next! Over all I thought it was a very interesting and informative programme. I remember seeing the interview with DW and Bragg on it's first broadcast, and I felt then as now, that DW came across as a most likeable person. I have to admit that rightly or wrongly I have never taken DW's politics very seriously, and that does not demean his sincerity or his memory in any way. The point was made in the programme. That Wheatley was a product of his time, and his attempts at a rear-guard action against the decline of the values he loved and respected can and should be viewed with a degree of sympathy and understanding. With that in mind I also think that the V.O. for the letter to posterity was an insult, and unnecessary.
The only thing missing for me in the programme was reference to the degree of affection and respect that DW had for his characters. De Richleau is more than a commercial product, Sallust is more than a political vehicle, and they had and hopefully still have, a special place in the hearts of his readers, and I believe there are still very many of those worldwide.
The suggestion was made that The Exorcist and Stephen King somehow saw off DW style of narrative by introducing us to a more realistic world of Satanism and diabolic possession. If we are to use that yardstick then Conan Doyle should have been seen off by Agatha Christie, or Coral Island rendered unreadable by Lord of the Flies. Wheatley should still be in print! Full marks to Kate Bradley for her enthusiasm. Maybe the forthcoming omnibus may lend weight to our calls to see Wheatleys work on or TV/Cinema screens. One maxim emerged from the programme, and that's Wheatley's own view... Never let spelling or grammar get in the way of telling a good story. This has already proved a winning formula and may well do again. Wheatley still holds this evergreen standard proudly and it needs no rear-guard action so lets all read on with renewed hope for a revival of interest in our favourite author.

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