Monday, September 05, 2005

Complete, Unabashed Green Wing Love-In

The editorial team (me) here at Quinquireme Towers (my flat in Shepherd's Bush) is proud, thrilled, privileged and a little bit awestruck to bring you Exclusive Photographic Coverage of the recent Green Wing Masterclass session at the Edinburgh TV Festival!

Much as I would love to claim that I operate in the sort of hallowed media circles (or possess the kind of cash) that would have granted me attendance at this prestigious event, honesty compels me to admit that at the time I was probably eating beans on toast somewhere in the slums of West London.

So I'll simply replicate the account that my good friend cello has already posted on the Channel 4 Comedy Forum, together with her Exclusive Photographic Coverage. (Stay calm now, ladies!)

cello says:
It was chaired by Peter Fincham, now Controller of BBC1, but back then the Exec Producer of GW1 (and inspiration for the in-joke "the cute Chinese nurse from Fincham Ward"??)

Victoria Pile was there, being absurdly self-deprecating, as only true geniuses can be, giving credit for everything to either the writers, actors or Caroline Leddy the C4 commissioner, who was also on the stage. Obviously, all those people were crucial but it became clear that without the strength of Victoria's vision and her ability to edit and stitch together the vast amounts of material generated by the large writing team and actors chosen for their ability to improvise it could easily have drowned in its own creativity. In all this she clearly relies on Rob Harley as her chief team mate (he was there too).

Michelle Gomez and Steve Mangan were billed to appear, but in fact Julian (Rhind-Tutt) replaced Steve at the last minute, which was both a treat and a disappointment. Everyone gave Steve credit for being the King of Improv so I'd have loved to see him talk. Julian said he had only got the part because he was the only actor auditioned who could get more then 3 words in with Steve.

They talked about the balance between 'narrative' scenes (eg Joanna telling Statham she might be pregnant) and 'sketch' scenes (eg Joanna and Sue competing on their breast adjustments in the loo). Compared to the sketch scenes of 'Smack The Pony' they said how much richer the sketches were because the protagonists already had a depth of character that coloured the scene.

Also lots of debate about script vs improv. Victoria was very firm about the fact that in the end everything is taken back to a properly written script and the only unrehearsed bits we might ever see are at the end of scenes where they leave the cameras running. Julian described the relationship between actors' improv and writers as a process of osmosis; a mutual exchange ... of fluids??

They showed the original drawings they had done for each character before it was cast, and apparently every character had a 6 page biog before the actors came along and added to it.

Michelle said everyone got on brilliantly and that they were like a big family and that it was the most enjoyable work experience she had had.

They showed a couple of clips from the next series and we all laughed and applauded like mad. I won't spoil it for you but they were great.

Had a chat afterwards with everyone, and you should know how very much they appreciate their loyal and passionate online fanbase. That's us lot. I took a couple of pics, but I didn't want to look like a total t*t by standing up, so they are mainly of backs of heads.


Look everyone, it's the delectable Julian Rhind-Tutt (JRT to his stalkers biggest fans) at extreme left, and the lovely Rob Harley to extreme right...erm...cello might have to fill in the rest of the names there.


It's the quite frankly godlike JRT again, next to the quite frankly godlike Michelle Gomez, and, er...cello?

21 comments:

patroclus said...

I know what you're thinking...but my Photoshop skills are non-existent. Might have to hand this one over to my company's Design Department for, erm, selective resizing.

surly girl said...

i love green wing, me. the other half doesn't get it, but i love it.

love it, i tell thee.

BiScUiTs said...

Yay!
Is the set thing with giant flat TV screen quite big enough? Hehe. It looks as if it is a matching TV to go with that giant table and chair sculpture on Pashminas blog.

poppy said...

omg! wooow!!! cello you are sooooo lucky!
thanks cello and patroclus :-D

cello said...

From left to right it goes; JRT, Michelle, Peter Fincham, Caroline Leddy, Victoria Pile (you only get the back of her head) and Rob.

Sorry they are such rubbish. But the cartoons are interesting. You'll see they had envisaged Mac having a sort of goatee-cum-stubble. Not sure what we would have made of that. But he still managed to convey informal and effortless cool without it.

Even in close-up you can't really see JRT's face, though it's good of Michelle. Doesn't mean it's not worth humiliating yourself with IT pat.

BiScUiTs said...

Yeah I liked those little sketches! How amusing!

hen said...

I remember why I didn't join in now.

Pashmina said...

Fantastic, great work Cello and thanks for sticking them up Pat - though clearly I'm seething with jealousy.

smoo2 said...

Aah, they are great, Cello. Thanks for posting them. I'm still a pale shade of green.

Urban Chick said...

right, that's it - i'm going to have to watch series 1 on DVD...which i'm reliably informed by mr willie lupin comes out next millennium, yes?

what am i to do until then? they only ever released one VIDEO (yes, VIDEO) of 'northern exposure'...

patroclus said...

I'm afraid so, Urban Chick (welcome, by the way - and welcome to Smoo2 too). DVD is apparently scheduled for March 2006.

lauren said...

woohoo! pure, unadulterated green wing-age!

surly girl said...

and just in time for my birthday.....

lauren said...

question for cello or anyone in the know - how many people were at the masterclass?

smoo2 said...

Thanks for the welcome, Patroclus. I have been lurking, reading your blog, for a while but never dared say anything before!!

Kalista said...

Lauren, greenwing-age, only one of my favourite phrases! Usually shortened to 'wingage' or t'wing to completely confuse anyone in the common room/pub/number 38 bus. Macage is also a good one (did try using 'a bit of JRTage' but it doesn't have the same ring)

Cello, how do you get to go to all these swanky dos? Have you perhaps sold your soul to Mr Henry in exchange for unadulterated access?

nibus said...

Who's this now, Ted?

patroclus said...

I'm at a bit of a loss to establish who you're referring to there, nibus.

cello said...

Lauren, re numbers, the room probably could have held 200 people but it was only 75% full, as the GW session was at the end of the 3 days and only the truly committed were still there. The Ricky Gervaid session took place in the main theatre which must hold approx 1000 and it was packed.

GW wasn't a masterclass in the sense that I understand it, viz the writers helping budding writers to create a scene for GW, or the actors helping some of us through improvisation. It was just a discussion.

And kalista, I wouldn't sell my soul to anyone, though I'm quite happy to donate it to chosen people. I don't exactly work in TV but I had a legitimate reason to be there (and have my delegate fee paid by work!).

lauren said...

glad to see you were one of the truly committed then, cello. but to be honest, i really don't think you would ever have passed on the opportunity!

poppy said...

i really don't think we would ever have let you pass on the opportunity!