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Some things turn out almost too conveniently. Donovan Quick, TV director David Blair’s new drama, is set on the deregulated streets and railtracks of outer Glasgow; so, when he answers his mobile, he just happens to be in the centre of a classic London experience: the traffic jam.

’Not that I want to become a transport guru, but the railways are fantastically under-used and under- invested,’ insists Blair. 'And we have this situation where we have loads of lorries stuck in London jams at eleven in the morning; we’ve been culturally inculcated with this nonsense for years so you get a government who willingly surrenders to HGV drivers. Yet, the logic is there for everyone to see: a trainload of coal is the equivalent of 40 lorries.’

Starring Colin Firth, this long-awaited film is a study of one man and his mission to give a voice to the little person in the face of a powerful transport company whose drive to profit leaves needy passengers in the lurch. The tale is a modern day Don Quixote with Firth’s avenging maverick taking his own Sancho Panza under his wing in the shape of Sandy Pannick (David Brown), a man with special needs who lives under one hectic roof managed by his sister Lucy (Katy Murphy). Her problems are heightened by an abusive boyfriend, klepto son and scatty gran but when Donovan rents a room in their home, things start to get interesting as Quick and Pannick take on the corporate beast.

’Well, | support Falkirk so my life has been spent being fucked over by somebody bigger,’ notes Blair whose attachment to the underdog/loner has resulted in compelling dramas such as Takin’ Over the Asylum, Anna Karenina and Vicious Circle. ’With the way that


Quick and Pannick take on the corporate beast

many things are reported, it’s nice to be in a position to redress the balance slightly.’

Blair may have been wary of the balance not being quite right within the cast, given the superstar status of Colin ’Mr Darcy’ Firth. ’l was worried that he wouldn’t have a sense of humour or be a team player but I ended up being incredibly impressed by both his acting and his professional ability and particularly the way he was with David (Brown). Many actors I know would have had a real problem with that situation but he acted with great dignity and understanding.’

Blair himself is less understanding when it comes to those he views as the perpetrators of the current rail mayhem. ’No one is asking Major or Mawhinney, and all those who orchestrated that privatisation how they feel now, with the blood of so many on their hands,’ he rails. ’Margaret Thatcher was never totally in favour of rail privatisation, so that tells you how crazy it must have been.’ So, it’s not just Falkirk F.C. that gets his goat. (Brian Donaldson)

Mean-spirited sadist or comic genius?

TRIBUTE NIGHT Candid Camera Night Channel 4, Sat l6 Dec, 9:)":

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