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Joe Maddison's War, ITV1 | reviews, news & interviews

Joe Maddison's War, ITV1

Joe Maddison's War, ITV1

Alan Plater's last drama is a gentle valediction

The last cast: Robson Green, Kevin Whately and Derek Jacobi in Alan Plater's 'Joe Maddison's War'

Alan Plater wrote to the end. When he died earlier this year, he had completed a final screenplay which found him returning whence he came. Joe Maddison’s War was set in his native North-East, and portrayed the impact of wartime on ordinary working-class lives. With the help of nostalgic singing and dancing, the tone was comic and affectionate, but with an undimmed glint of good old socialist indignation. They don’t make dramas like this any more. But whenever they do, the more senior couch potatoes are entitled to lament once more the passing of Play for Today.

Alan Plater wrote to the end. When he died earlier this year, he had completed a final screenplay which found him returning whence he came. Joe Maddison’s War was set in his native North-East, and portrayed the impact of wartime on ordinary working-class lives. With the help of nostalgic singing and dancing, the tone was comic and affectionate, but with an undimmed glint of good old socialist indignation. They don’t make dramas like this any more. But whenever they do, the more senior couch potatoes are entitled to lament once more the passing of Play for Today.

Plater could bring himself to kill only one minor character in 90 minutes and six years of wartime

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Well Done ITV1! My faith in real television drama was restored last night, an impressive and moving story filmed beautifully and sympathetically. Kevin Whately has found his metier in this territory and was superb, as were Robson Green, both were astonishing. Please work hard to make more such film, it outclassed everything everywhere, including the BBC. And thank you. Michael Scott Byrne

How do you trust a "review" that calls the Germans 'Gerry' not Jerry and has a key character's husband killed at Jutland when the play clearly stated several times that it was Dunkirk? Basic stuff, that. Sorry there was no big bloodshed, no monster CGI effects (OK some but low-key and necessary for cost reasons) and no big emotional over the top scenes but life's not like that Mr. Rees. Alan Plater understood that in life, very often, nothing much happens and people just blunder on making the most of what thay can. Alan Plater's writing is termed 'naturalism' and if there was a finer writer in TV land during his lifetime, I'd like to see their work. I suspect we won't realise how much we miss Mr. Plater until we've had several years without his work on the screen. In the meantime, all of the performances that I witnessed were excellent including Robson Greene (can't believe I've just written that) with Kevin Whateley outstanding as ever but terrific work from Melanie Hill (never watched Bread so wasn't aware of her record) and Trevor Fox (new name to me) understated and admirable. I staggered in after playing a cricket match, tired and unsure about whether it would grip me but I needn't have worried. Original production of the year so far.

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