What book (or books) would you like to see on film/TV?
Do you have a favourite book you’ve thought, perhaps for years, that you’d love to see made into a film or TV drama/ series? Maybe something you loved as a child – or that new psychological thriller you read last week? Apart from the fact that you like it, can you say why your choice would make great cinema or TV? (Or a radio play or a theatre play, come to that. Or let’s cast the net wider – a musical? A game?)
Don’t worry about the practicalities. It seems possible to film just about anything these days, with cgi and the like. Allow yourself to dream (go back to your earliest memories if you like. Andy Pandy – the Movie? Maybe there is one – I haven’t checked!).
Some books, it’s pretty clear, were only ever meant to be books. There have been some disastrous dramatisations that probably should never even have been attempted. I’ll leave you to make your own list. Some books are improved by being put on screen. A number of people I know much prefer the film version of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings to the book version. Personally, I love the three films, but only because I had already read (and deeply enjoyed) the books. Without all the so-called boring bits that had lodged in my mind, the films would have lacked a proper context, at least for me. I’ve become lazy, though. Nowadays when I need a Frodo boost I tend to watch the films rather than read the book again. It’s a shame, because I’m missing all that wonderful historical and linguistic stuff – and those maps! (A film of The Silmarillion, now there’s an idea – or maybe not. Just looked it up and discovered it's under consideration...)
Anyway, having just had a lovely new website designed for me courtesy of writer, website designer and publicist Melissa Lawrence, I have decided to start a regular blog on the subject of turning books into TV and film. Snappy suggestions for a blog title would be very welcome indeed. Also, if you are aware of anyone else with a similar blog, please let me know – I don’t want to copy. In particular, if you have such a blog yourself… (I did check and failed to find anything, but these things can be missed.)
In my posts, unless otherwise advised, I will bang on about books I’ve read that I think would make great films or TV. But I would also love to feature books that my readers suggest. I’ll be inviting contributions – a title and author if possible and a couple of reasons why you think the book would work as a film or TV production. If I haven’t read it, I’ll accept the challenge of tracking it down and making sure I do. I’ll then feature it, with your permission, on my blog – acknowledging your name if you wish.
I’m going to say that any title at all may be submitted for consideration. I’m prepared to read most kinds of fiction, with the exception of extreme horror/violence or anything exploitative or discriminatory – you get the idea. I won’t promise to feature all suggested books but I’ll do my best. I won’t mind if people suggest books written by themselves or their friends, but publicity is not the primary purpose of the exercise.
And no spoilers, of course. I’ll make sure I avoid them too.
If my readers know about filming technicalities, e.g. camera work and the like, I’d love to hear some ideas about how they think the film should be shot.
And I’ll be asking for books that haven’t, as far as you know, been screened before. Though having said that, if it was a long time ago then perhaps a new dramatisation is due, so don’t let that stop you.
To get the ball rolling – my choice for screening would be a novel by Laurie Graham called The Ten O’Clock Horses, which hardly anyone I know has heard of. It was published in 1996 by Bantam Press. It’s set in 1962 and tells the tale of Ronnie Glover, a housepainter, husband and father of two daughters. Ronnie is bored and the changing world of the early sixties is enticing him to try out something new. He wants to learn to draw and to try an avocado (his greengrocer has never heard of them). His wife, on the other hand, is happy as she is, and his daughters are in their early teens and just plain irritating. Then Ronnie meets dancing teacher Jack (Jacqueline) and… OK, no spoilers. It’s hilarious and also sad. The dialogue is brilliant – think Alan Bennett or Victoria Wood – dare I suggest in places even better? There’s deep pain and sadness in Ronnie’s past.
OK, so far maybe radio would work as well as TV, but just think of the nostalgia – the sixties clothes, décor, food, music, everything. It has to be TV (a series, I think). Victoria Wood meets Back in Time for Dinner. I think it might need Ronnie to narrate it – he has an amazing voice.
Anyway… that’s the kind of suggestion I’d like, but just a title, author and a line or two would be fine.
If you would like to comment below, telling me why you like or don’t like this idea for a blog, I’d be very grateful. And please send any suggestions you have of books. I’ll update you next month, once my blog has got going, and tell you where to find it.
I’d also welcome comments about my new website, which you can see at http://www.rosalie-warren.co.uk/.
Happy reading (and reminiscing).