Potter, Dennis (1935-1994)

views updated

Potter, Dennis (1935-1994)

Dennis Potter was one of the most sign ificant and innovative dramatists in the history of British television. From 1965 until his death in 1994, he created an oeuvre of haunting intensity and personal vision that ranks with the greatest achievements in any popular art form. His two best-known works to international audiences, Pennies from Heaven (1978) and The Singing Detective (1986), are strikingly original miniseries that use the television narrative to journey into an inner, psychological reality. Both series and many of his other dramas, including Moonlight on the Highway (1969), Cream in My Coffee (1980), and Karaoke (produced posthumously in 1996), share a fascination with popular culture and employ songs non-naturalistically to reveal repressed emotions. Although he wrote such films as Dreamchild and Track 29, Potter considered television "the most democratic medium," and used all his creative powers to open up the artistic possibilities of the medium.

—Ron Simon

Further Reading:

Carpenter, Humphrey. Dennis Potter: The Authorized Biography. London, Faber and Faber, 1998.

Cook, John R. Dennis Potter: A Life on Screen. Manchester, Manchester University Press, 1995.

Fuller, Graham, editor. Potter on Potter. London, Faber & Faber, 1993.

Gilbert, W. Stephen. Fight & Kick & Bite: The Life and Work of Dennis Potter. London, Hodder & Stroughton, 1995.

The Museum of Television & Radio. The Television of Dennis Potter (published in conjunction with an exhibition of the same title). New York, 1991.

Potter, Dennis. Seeing the Blossoms: Two Interviews and a Lecture. London, Faber & Faber, 1994.