Dennis Potter

Screenwriter, Playwright, Director
One of the leading English playwrights of the latter half of the 20th Century, as well as an intelligent, vigorous and important writer working in TV from the late 1960s until his death, Dennis Potter adapted several of ... Read more »
Born: 05/17/1935 in Gloucester, England, GB

Filmography

Writer (23)

The Singing Detective 2003 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Singing Detective 2003 (Movie)

(based upon the original television series) (Source Material)

Cold Lazarus 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Writer

Mesmer 1994 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Midnight Movie 1993 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Secret Friends 1992 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Secret Friends 1992 (Movie)

("Ticket to Ride") (Source Material (from novel))

Blackeyes 1988 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Blackeyes 1988 (Movie)

(Source Material (from novel))

Blade on the Feather 1988 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Singing Detective 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Writer

Track 29 1988 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Tender Is The Night 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Screenplay

Dreamchild 1985 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Gorky Park 1983 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Brimstone and Treacle 1981 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Brimstone and Treacle 1981 (Movie)

from television play (Play as Source Material)

Casanova 1980 - 1981 (TV Show)

Writer

Pennies From Heaven 1981 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Pennies From Heaven 1979 - 1980 (TV Show)

Writer

Christabel (TV Show)

Writer

Cream in My Coffee (TV Show)

Screenplay

Karaoke (TV Show)

Writer
Actor (2)

An Interview With Dennis Potter 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

Emma's War 1984 (Movie)

1st Policeman (Actor)
Director (2)

Secret Friends 1992 (Movie)

(Director)

Blackeyes 1988 (Movie)

(Director)
Producer (2)

Midnight Movie 1993 (Movie)

(Producer)

Dreamchild 1985 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Biography

One of the leading English playwrights of the latter half of the 20th Century, as well as an intelligent, vigorous and important writer working in TV from the late 1960s until his death, Dennis Potter adapted several of his works for film as well, contributing original screenplays for "Gorky Park" (1983), "Dreamchild" (1985) and "Track 29" (1987). Beginning as a newspaper journalist and TV critic, he wrote and produced documentaries for the BBC in the early 1960s. He showed an early interest in politics with his two "Nigel Barton" plays as well as his unsuccessful attempt to run for political office as a Labour Party candidate. It was also around this time that the handicap which would plague Potter from then on first appeared: psoriatic arthropathy, a skin disorder which caused frequent blistering, burning sensations, swelling of the joints, a permanent clenching of the fists and even bouts of delirium.

Relationships

Margaret Constance Potter

Mother

Margaret Morgan

Wife
married in 1959 died of breast cancer nine days before Potter

Walter Potter

Father

Jane Potter

Daughter
born c. 1959 survived him

Sarah Potter

Daughter
born c. 1961 worked for her father as his secretary head of Whistling Gypsy, a production company survived him

Robert Potter

Son
survived him

EDUCATION

New College, Oxford University

1959
graduated with honors

Milestones

1994

Completed last works for TV shortly before his death, the miniseries "Karaoke" and the TV-movie "Cold Lazarus"

1992

Theatrical feature film directing debut, "Secret Friends"; also Potter's last feature film work

1990

Directing debut, "Blackeyes", a BBC-TV production which was shown at several film festivals (also wrote)

1985

First feature producing credit, as executive producer of "Dreamchild"

1983

First screenplay based on original work written by someone else, "Gorky Park"

1981

Wrote first screenplay, "Pennies From Heaven", based on his own 1976 TV play

1976

Penned the popular TV miniseries "Pennies From Heaven", which interpolated recordings from the 1930s and 1940s into the action, reflecting the thoughts and feelings of the characters

1976

TV play, "Brimstone and Treacle" filmed, but, due to controversy, did not air until 1987

1976

Became TV critic for THE SUNDAY TIMES of London

1968

First produced play, "Vote, Vote, Vote for Nigel Barton"

1966

BBC asked him to rewrite the teleplay, "Almost Cinderella", in which Prince Charming kills Cinderella at midnight by strangling her

1965

Wrote first BBC teleplays, "The Confidence Courses", "Stand Up Nigel Barton"

1964

Ran unsuccessfully as the Labour Party candidate for East Hertfordshire in the general election

1962

Episodes of psoriatic arthropathy which afflicted him for the rest of his life first appeared at age 26, causing intense burning sensations on the skin, extensive blistering, swelled joints, periods of delirium and leaving his hands permanently clenched (

1961

Worked for the London newspaper, THE DAILY HERALD; began as a feature writer, later worked as TV critic

1960

Wrote first novel, "The Glittering Coffin"

1949

Family moved to London when Potter was 14 (date approximate)

Turned to TV writing in the 1960s

Raised in the west of England, near Wales

Wrote and produced documentaries after he graduated from college as part of the current affairs department of the BBC; one of the first was "Between Two Rivers" (1960), about the area of his upbringing, which he narrated as well as wrote

Bonus Trivia

.

The iconoclastic Potter, in typical form, on the subject of religion:

.

Speaking about Potter after his death, with his last completed works for TV, "Karaoke" and "Cold Lazarus", having moved into pre-production, David Bianculli of the Daily News (June 8, 1994) wrote: "Regardless of the eventual quality of those final two works, Potter already deserves acknowledgment as the finest TV writer in history. Not just in England, or even of his generation, but ever. Better, even, than Paddy Chayefsky or Rod Serling."

.

From his mid-20s Potter had suffered from inherited psoriatic arthropathy, a devastating recurring illness that seems to boil the skin and meld the joints and incite the fevered delirium experienced by "The Singing Detective" during his hallucinatory interludes.

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