From left clockwisezKate Dickie in the MTV-inspired drama talking Glasgow out of the mire and onto the dance floor; Raindog veteran Mandy Matthews; Finding the lives beyond the tablets and Stephen Duffy looking for the human drama
all the stories are about real people. interesting characters. and that was more interesting and attractive to me than the essential subject matter.’
In terms of style. the producers drew their inspiration from MTV and other youth- orientated media. ‘Younger audiences are so used to absorbng images and having information thrown at them.‘ says Allen. ‘That‘s represented stylistically in Tinsel 'lim'n by lots of short. fast scenes and the relentless dance soundtrack.‘
Those traditionalists who consider the phrase ‘.\lT\' (ieneration' to be a euphemism for a breed of televisual thrill-seekers with the collective attention span of a braindead goldfish can safely unravel their twisted knickers. While undoubtedly fast~paced and visually stimulating. the series succeeds in fusing this stylistic innovation with punchy. convincing dialogue and an absorbing range of character- driven storylines: commodities which are too often absent in the vacuous soap that passes for television drama these days (sniff).
'The first time I heard this I thought "Oh- oh, this is wank'”
Indeed. the characterisation in Tinsel Tmrn can be attributed in part to Raindog‘s unique rehearsal technique. a process by which actors are given the rare opportunity to create their roles over a sustained period of time. ':\H the character development was done up—front in collaboration with the actors. most of whom had some experience in theatre as well as film and television.. explains Robbie Allen. ‘They were given skeleton characters then spent time on improvisation. hot-seating and working on a backstory. It's a process of total immersion which some actors thrive on and some are really intimidated by.‘
Steven Duffy admits he had some initial reservations about the Raindog method. 'Stuart Davids has this thing he calls "Slow \Valking".‘ says the actor. 'The first time I heard this I thought “()h-oh. this is wank". You have to go across the room and Stuart says: "These thoughts are in your mind”. And then he plays a piece of music relevant to the mood. But within two minutes I had totally
relaxed into it and I could begin relating to Brady’s very warped mentality}
Duffy‘s co-star and Raindog veteran Mandy Matthews had an equally positive experience. ‘lt‘s refreshing to be given so much time to prepare for a part. And Sandra really was a joy to play because I ended up knowing her so well and Martin’s given me some wonderful lines.‘
With ten episodes in this first series. audiences can look forward to accompanying Brady. Sandra and the other principal characters through the mill and back over the coming weeks. Though eager to emphasise Tinsel Town's freshness. Robbie Allen is graciously willing to accept comparison to leis Life and Queer As l’nlk. a pair of groumlbreaking. similarly-themed dramas that significantly quit while ahead with audiences and critics. ‘You want to believe that what you do is completely original. but it’s very gratifying to be compared to programmes that pushed the boundaries of what they were doing.‘
Tinsel Town is broadcast on BBC2, from Mon 7 Aug, 11.20pm.
340 Aug 2000 THELIST9