Director Norman Stone’s 1987 TV movie stars Dirk Bogarde, who brings his distinctive touch to the part of veteran broadcaster James Marriner, ‘Gentle Jim’, an ex-TV newsman lured into the spider’s web of an evangelical satellite channel. However, he finds the TV channel may be a front for something sinister and political.
The conspiracy plot may be obvious but the dialogue in William Nicholson’s script is laced with subtlety, and the attack on satellite TV and televangelism is timely and effective. Lee Remick is also impressive as the head of the new UK TV network.
Also in the cast are Eileen Atkins, Helena Bonham Carter, Lynda Bellingham, Alan Curtis, David Lyon, Elizabeth Baker, Bruce Boa, Paul Maxwell, Bruce Montague, Steve Parry, Tony Philips, John Richards, Alan Rowlands, Hugh Thomas, James Frank Benson, Richard Cubison, Philip Goldacre and Martin Jones.
Made for the BBC’s Screen Two series of films, it was Bogarde’s penultimate film before Daddy Nostalgia (1991), and one of only three TV movies he made, along with May We Borrow Your Husband? (1986) and The Patricia Neal Story (1981). He died on 8 aged 78.
© Derek Winnert 2017 Classic Movie Review 4870
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