Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Land Girls Interview

Hello all!

A while ago I did a post, Land Girls on BBC1, about how much I enjoyed the television show and I got a very pleasing response to it indeed. The writer of the show, Roland Moore, commented upon my little post thanking me for my feedback. I was some what delighted and thanked him for his response, I was even daring enough to ask that I might ask him a few more questions as a short interview for this blog. He's a much obliging chap and agreed to do so!

And so this is what transpired; I hope you find it entertaining and insightful!

Having never worked in any form of media I felt a little out of my depth but soon I realised that perhaps an insight into script writing from the perspective of someone like me might be actually interesting; after all not everyone out there knows all about media. So I sat and I thought, and I got a bit of advice. I realised I know nothing so that’s where to start, exactly how does writing a television series, like Land Girls, happen?

For Land Girls, I submitted an idea outlining the story for each episode and an overview of the main characters, plus a summary of the series. There wasn’t a script at that stage. I knew (in 2008) that the BBC wanted to schedule programmes to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of WWII, so my idea just arrived at the right time. A five part series was commissioned for broadcast in September 2009.

As a child I was shocked to find out about rationing and yet more shocked to find out that many children were healthier than they are today. Surrounded by our comforts and luxurious lifestyles it can be difficult to imagine what a situation like the Land Girls may have faced. How does someone from the 00’s manage to portray an era which many of us could literally not imagine today? I already guessed research would be the key factor, but how did Roland go about this?

I spoke to former Land Girls and read first-hand accounts of their times on the farms. I also read academic books on the subject. When we came to write the series, we had historical researchers helping us with any period details. This was invaluable.

Any period drama has to juggle a line between total attention to detail and dramatic licence. The real Land Girls typically worked 12-14 hour days, but we could only give a flavour of that – otherwise most of the screen time would show women digging fields and planting crops. Such authenticity would have resulted in a fairly uneventful drama.

In terms of authenticity, we came across an interesting phenomenon: people will have an idea of what is correct for a period, but sometimes that idea is based on perception and not facts. So viewers would ‘feel’ rather than know that something was correct or incorrect. For instance, I realised the word ‘fantastic’ came into use in 1939 and ‘snog’ was already being used, but if I’d included them in the dialogue, people would have complained that they weren’t accurate for the period. So sometimes you are working to those perceptions rather than actual facts.

I can see how difficult it must be treading the line between what is accurate and what the audience may expect or want to see.  Having done some of that magic research on Roland I found out he has also written for the BBC series Doctors. There must have been a bit of shift between writing for such dissimilar decades and even I realised there must have been some differences in the style, language and tone.

Language and tone are definitely different for period drama. There is an argument between Bea and Annie in Series 1, and I wanted Bea to say the equivalent of ‘whatever’. It was obvious that this word wasn’t used like that in the 1940s, and as I researched for an alternative, I realised that there wasn’t a World War II equivalent. People were just more polite back then.

Interestingly, we had complaints about a very minor, half-glimpsed sex scene, but no one seemed to mind an extended scene of a man being forced to his knees at gun point before someone is shot.

My Grandmother was in the ATS during the Second World War and the Women’s Land Army is already a subject of great interest to me, but what about other people? Why would they be interested in such a dark period of our Country’s history? Probably for the same reasons I am!

I wanted to write a drama about the Land Girls because it was a time of major change for so many women. They were forced to share living arrangements with other girls – from all different backgrounds – in an era when women only really left the family home if they got married. I was really interested in the themes of independence and empowerment and these friendships forged through adversity.

Separation from your loved ones was a theme that I also wanted to include as it affected a lot of people on the home front. And it has resonances with anyone in the present day who has loved ones serving overseas. There was that feeling that the war was bigger than any one person and that everyone was a vital but small cog in the machinery of winning that war. So I wanted to show Joyce’s sadness at being separated from John, but wrestling with her need to be patriotic and ‘do her bit’. That was a big emotional heart in the series.

Friday, 15 June 2012

You Know What's Happened, Don't You

A year ago this weekend a certain chap came over to Lincoln to visit me as a single fella and left as my boyfriend. We tried to keep it on the down low for quite a few months, which I think actually added to the fun of it, and we didn't actually go official until September. Although we have decided that our anniversary should actually be on the date that line between friendship and relationship blurred beyond all recognition, our first kiss.

So it's a short little post, and please looks away if you don't do saccharine sweetness, but Indi thank you for a wonderful year.

I love you. I love your wide eyes, the way you smile, your shyness, and the way you laugh at my jokes. 

Shhh! It's A Speakeasy

Shhh! It's A Speakeasy took place on the 3rd June 2012 and, as far as I know, was Lincoln's first vintage and burlesque nights. I was, of course, first in line for it and remember when I found out it was going on I was literally so excited. The whole thing lived up to all my hopes.

During the day there were some vintage stalls for shopping, I bought two pairs of gloves, a blouse and a present for my sister. I spent a good long time chatting with Rachel from La Vida Vintage and with a great mass of vintage gloves sat right next to me as we talked I couldn't help but walk away with two new pairs. 

The whole event was made possible by the lovely Natasha, with me above, who organised the whole thing single handedly. Hat's off to a lady who makes things happen. Our boyfriends also had a nice chat about what it's like to have driven, vintage girlfriends which I thought was really sweet and it got me thinking about how patient mine is. It's a hard life being with a vintage girl; the time we spend on our hair and the force field of hair spray around it (he says that the smell of hairspray reminds him of me!), the constant questions of how's my hair and are my seams straight, and not to mention putting up with lipstick marks on most items of clothing.

During the day there was some fantastic blues from the Blue Tongue Preacher and Jez on guitar; who against the Trade Description Act actually has a pink tongue like the rest of us. That evening there were burlesque performances from Loretta Lace, Foxie La Roque and Rose Desire and in between performances the atmosphere was kept up by a fantastic selection of tracks DJ'd for us by 52nd Jump Street, they even showed us a few moves on the dance floor.

Phew, what an event! Natasha will be planning more events like this soon and I will, if course, be blogging all about it.

Monday, 4 June 2012

What's On The Cards - June

Here are a couple of events I have seen advertised going on in and around Lincoln in the month of June. These posts are published on the 1st (or as close as I can manage) of every month and feature a few events which are on in and around Lincoln as well as a couple from further afield which have caught my fancy. I find out about these events through word of mouth and by searching on the Internet. 

I like to look up 1940's events here at 
Friends of the 40s as they have a really great calendar of listings.

Rockabilly gigs are easy to search here at 
The Complete Rock N Roll UK Gig Guide

I also regularly check out "East Midlands Vintage World" on facebook to find out about events and what's happening.

But anyway, on with the show!

2nd June 2012 - Cool Cat Cry are playing the the Sleaford Legionnaires Club at 7.45pm. They're a 1950's rockabilly band and you can find out more about them here.

3rd June 2012 - A little further afield is the Tattershall Castle 1940's day which will be held from 11am to 5pm. I'm going to this because we always used to visit the castle when we were little and I've heard there might be a dressing up booth there too so you can try on clothes and get your hair and make-up done!

3rd June 2012 - From 1pm until late there's a Speakeasy going on at the Ye Olde Crowne on Clasketgate in Lincoln. This is the launch of what is planned to be a monthly event and I cannot wait! During the day there will be a BBQ, live blues music and vintage stalls to peruse. Later that evening things will take a more adult twist with burlesque performances and 52nd Jump Street will be bringing us some rhythm and blues, jazz and rock and roll to get everyone swinging into the wee small hours. For more information please see their Facebook site here.

8th June 2012 - Brant Road Social Club hosts the Lincoln Rock and Roll Club monthly night with a band called The Roosters playing. Brant road social club, Brant road, Lincoln LN5 9AJ

23rd June 2012 -  Bizarre Bazaar Vintage Market. This is a vintage and retro modern open air market which is held monthly at different sites around the city.

30th June 2012 - Vintage Fayre & Mini Market at Kind Bar. A regular fayre held monthly at the Kind Bar which offers a mix of different stalls with in the bar indoors (a real treat on the colder and wetter days!)

30th June 2012 - Armed Forces day and 1940's night held at Sleaford Legionnaire's club. 6 Southgate Sleaford NG34 7RZ

These posts are by no means exhaustive and will obviously only be accurate at the time of posting. While I have gone to every effort to make sure the information is accurate I cannot account for changes of location, date or even cancellations. If you are travelling long distances to attend any of the events I recommend please be sure to check with the venue or organisation before travelling to avoid disappointment.