Roddam, Franc(is George) 1946-
RODDAM, Franc(is George) 1946-
PERSONAL: Born April 29, 1946, in Stockton-on-Tees, England; son of Vincent Nicholson and Ellen Maud (Canavan) Roddam; married Carina Mary Cooper (a director; marriage ended); married Barbara Margaret Deehan (a television producer); children: Annie Canavan, Patrick Michael.
ADDRESSES: Agent—Robert Stein, William Morris Agency, Beverly Hills, CA 90211; c/o Union Pictures, 36 Marshall St., London W1, England.
CAREER: Director, writer, and producer. Film work includes (director, unless otherwise noted) Birthday, 1969; Quadrophenia, World Northal, 1979; The Lords of Discipline, Paramount, 1983; The Bride, Columbia, 1985; "Liebestod"/Tristan und Isolde sequence, Aria, Virgin Vision, 1987; War Party, Hemdale, 1988; and K2, 1991. Television series work as creator and executive producer includes Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, Central TV, 1983-86 and 2002, and Making Out, BBC, 1987. Other television work as executive producer includes Dogs, Arts and Entertainment, 1993. Television miniseries work includes (producer and director) Moby Dick, The Learning Channel, 1998, and (director) Cleopatra, ABC, 1999. Work as director of TV specials includes Mini, BBC, 1973; The Family, BBC, 1974; Dummy, ATV, 1977; and Catastrophe: Airships, syndicated, 1978. TV movie work includes (executive producer) Deadly Voyage, HBO, 1993. Appearances on TV specials include Thar She Blows! The Making of "Moby Dick," USA Network, 1998.
(Creator) Auf Wiedersehen, Pet (television series), Central TV, 1983-86, 2002.
Moby Dick (television miniseries), The Learning Channel, 1998.
(With Dave Humphries, Martin Stellman, and Pete Townsend) Quadrophenia, World Northal, 1979.
Rain Forest, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1981.
American Dreams, Paramount, 1983.
Aria ("Tristan und Isolde," Liebestod sequence only), Virgin Vision, 1987.
SIDELIGHTS: Franc Roddam's most famous work as a director and cowriter was 1979's Quadrophenia. The film, which guitarist and songwriter Pete Townsend of the Who helped write, is particularly memorable for its music, including songs by the Who themselves, as well as classic recordings of the 1950s and 1960s by artists such as the Ronettes, Gene Vincent, and Booker T. and the MGs. Set in London in 1964, the story centers around the conflict between mods, who wear zoot suits, ride motor scooters, and listen to The Who, and rockers, who wear leather jackets, ride motorcycles, and favor the rockabilly of the 1950s.
Protagonist Jimmy Cooper works in a dead-end job, but finds meaning in his role as a mod, yet a series of events force him to question that meaning. "I don't give a monkey's [expletive] about mods and rockers," his former friend Kevin, who has fallen in with the rockers, tells Jimmy. But Jimmy replies, "I don't wanna be the same as everybody else. That's why I'm a mod, see? I mean, you gotta be somebody, ain't ya?" Observed John Soeder in the Cleveland, Ohio, Plain-Dealer, "There you have it—the tricky struggle between individuality and conformity that keeps Quadrophenia ringing true."
Roddam's other work as writer and director includes a TV version of Moby Dick that Tony Scott in Variety praised thus: "The action-filled miniseries serves well as an 1840s ocean adventure; director Roddam deftly sails his craft close to the wind." John Carman of the San Francisco Chronicle was less favorable in his review, but singled out for praise its portrayal of "the raucous life aboard a nineteenth-century sailing ship—the hazing, the pest-infected food, the quick tempers and rough comradeship."
In the world of British television, Roddam is most noted for his work as creator of the series Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, which aired in the mid-1980s and was revived again in 2002. Set in the industrial town of Middleborough, the pilot for the renewed series centers around an attempt to dismantle the city's transport bridge and sell it to Native Americans in Arizona.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television, volume 34, Gale (Detroit, MI), 2001.
Boston Globe, May 20, 1988, Michael Blowen, review of Aria, p. 35; October 30, 1988, Richard Dyer, review of Aria, p. B10.
Commentary, March, 1980, Richard Grenier, review of Quadrophenia, pp. 69-70.
Film Comment, May-June, 1988, Michael Walsh, review of Aria, pp. 76-77.
Financial Times, May 1, 2002, Graham McCann, review of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, p. 16.
Los Angeles Times, April 15, 1988, review of Aria, p. 1; April 18, 1991, Jon Matsumoto, review of Quadrophenia, p. 9; April 27, 2001, Randy Lewis, review of Quadrophenia, p. F18.
Melody Maker, February 1, 1997, Simon Price, review of Quadrophenia, p. 19.
New York, March 16, 1998, John Leonard, review of Moby Dick, pp. 62-63.
New York Times, March 13, 1998, Caryn James, review of Moby Dick, p. B27; October 12, 2001, Janet Maslin, review of Quadrophenia, p. E26.
Northern Echo (Darlington, England), September 20, 2001, Steve Pratt, "Oz and the Boys Hug the Limelight" (profile), p. 3; April 27, 2002, Steve Pratt, "Where's Wor Bridge Going, Pet?" (profile), p. 10; May 20, 2002, "TV Hit Creator in 'Ugly' Town Row" (profile), p. 5.
Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH), June 15, 2001, John Soeder, review of Quadrophenia, p. 7.
San Francisco Chronicle, May 16, 1988, Joshua Kosman, review of Aria, p. F1; March 13, 1998, John Carman, review of Moby Dick, p. C1.
Time, May 2, 1988, Richard Corliss, review of Aria, p. 79.
Variety, March 9, 1998, Tony Scott, review of Moby Dick, p. 38.
Video Business, August 27, 2001, Samantha Clark, review of Quadrophenia, p. 21.
Video Store, September 30-October 6, 2001, Andrew Melomet, review of Quadrophenia, p. 27.*