It may be grim oop North, but a new BBC drama set in Bradford is looking on the bright side. Eddie Gibb talks to the 31-year—old writer Martin Sadofski about his television debut.
In American movies. the transition from adolescent to adult usually happens during the long summer months between the end of school and the rest of your life. John Hughes made a career out of chronicling rites of passage of wealthy college brats before he hooked up with the prc-teen Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone. while more recently Richard Linklater‘s Dazed and Confused perfectly captured the fashionable post-graduation angst ofthe middle class of I976.
Round Bradford way. they do things a bit different. in Bland and Peaches. a two-part drama based on a script by first-time screenwriter Martin Sadofski. four working-class teenagers face a more prosaic future. Sue (Jayne Ashbourne) is the most together of the group — she's training to be a nurse — but her ambitions don‘t stretch much beyond ‘a nice house. babies and getting married‘. For the other three. Steve. Sunil and Sue's boyfriend Gary. fruit-picking in Spain is beginning to look like a better option than facing up to a future in west Yorkshire.
Sadofski describes Bland and Pear-lies as a ‘community play' and it does have an almost soapy feel with several storylines overlapping and interweaving. ()ne of the ways the film works best is in identifying common ground for three generations, rather than playing the ‘my parents don‘t understand
me' card of the aforementioned movies.
Nan, Gary's grandmother. is one of the gang. standing her hand in the pub and dispensing sensible advice to the youngsters bafﬂed by life‘s bitter blows. ‘We do lose a lot by not respecting old age.’ says Sadofski. ‘They‘re obsessed by sex obviously. but it worries me that younger people can‘t talk about age and death.‘
The central story follows the four school friends. starting with a love affair but progressing quickly to tragedy when one is killed in a road accident. an event that creates a dramatic turning point. marking the end of childhood and innocence.
As the teenage traumas are played out. the adults‘ lives are bent out of shape by adultery. racism. betrayal and football. It‘s the Paki-bashing storyline in particular that is least successful. as a bunch of cartoon thugs. representing the unemployed underclass. hurl abuse and sang bhajis in the local curry house. They fall under the inﬂuence ofthe ‘Outsider'. a far—right gang leader on a recruitment drive in the area. As a result. racism is portrayed as a personal creed that individuals opt into. rather than a tumour with deeper and more pervasive roots.
Blood and Peaches: teenage kicks
Sadofski admits that there is a two-dimensional quality to these scenes in Blood and Pear/res. but says they are based on characters he knows in his home town of Bradford, who themselves have little depth or subtlety. ‘They‘ve just adopted that “we’re the Yorkshire lads“ mentality.‘ he says. ‘They wear it so often that they become it.‘
Bland and Pear/res is uneven. with some of the intended comedy forced instead of being allowed to develop. But still it‘s a bold step for the BBC to give an untried screenwriter two and half hours’ worth of television time on the strength of one stage play.
Sadofski has repaid that confidence with an optimistic story that doesn‘t pander to the fashionable media construct of this generation as a bunch of disillusioned. isolated souls picking their way through the post-Thatcher economic wasteland. Ultimately. it suggests a renewed faith in family and friends. love and understanding. is worth another shot.
‘l'd like to think Bland and Peaches has a voice.‘ says Sadofski. It does.
Bland and Paar/res starts on 13 l-‘e/n'uary at 9pm on BBCZ.
f. l . Glam Metal Detectives: pesky kids
Best easy, the ordinary citizen is safe from megalomaniac baddies trying to take over the world. They might have succeeded too, if it hadn’t been for those pesky kids. Meet the Glam Metal Detectives, a comic-book band who thwart evil at every turn, as the Jackson Five and The Monkees have done before them.
GMD is based on an idea by Comic Strip director Peter Richardson, a man already responsible for unleashing a bunch of spoof metalheads, Bad News, onto our screens; now he’s got an attack of the glams. The band is the link for a series of comedy sketches crash-edited together to simulate the channel surfing experience.
In between the BacofoiI-clad detectives’ off-stage capers, are fragments of shows on other
flapper girls on the lam.
! ‘channels’, from a nature programme r (‘and now a close up of a beaver’) to a melodrama about a couple of 20s '
GMD is self-consciously trashy with a lot of Day Today-ster telly genre iokes, but it’s hard not to be seduced by the relentless rush of visual stimulus, backed by a rockin’ soundtrack featuring, of all people,
The GMD’s leggy blonde guitarist is played by Sara Stockbridge, the =. prototype supermodel who was tottering around on Vivienne Westwood high heels long before llaomi Campbell’s celebrated prat-fall. ‘I think I made my own little category - weird model,’ she says. ‘That’s why I was really happy to work for Viv because it put me on my own little
Thoroughly browned off with the fashion business, Stockbridge has turned to acting full time. She recently came close to playing a personal hero in the film version of Tank Girl and had a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it part in Interview With The Vampire. flow a musical career beckons with The Glam Metal Detectives poised to do a Spinal Tap, with a spin-off album produced by studio wizard Trevor Horn already in the can.
The merchandising possibilities, including miniature dolls with detachable silver platform boots, are endless. Back off, Biker Mice. (Eddie Gibb)
Glam Metal Detectives starts on Thursday 23 February on 8302.
_J The List Ill-23 Feb l‘)‘)5 75