More4, Sat 14–Sun 20 Jun
In the era of Play for Today, the rabblerousing TV dramatist lurked in every nook and cranny of the BBC, cropping up on primetime slots to frighten the horses. Now though, the nation’s broadcasting organs are rammed to breaking point with reality ‘stars’ who wouldn’t know a hard-hitting script if Big Brother tasked them to wipe their housemates’ bums with it.
Peter Kosminsky, then, must feel like a rather lonely figure, but his success across Channel 4, BBC and ITV is all the more admirable for it. More4 have devoted a week to his poignant and devastating dramas and documentaries which highlight his key motivation: ‘my job is to make mischief.’ And mischief he has made, most recently with Britz, his vision of a post-9/11 Britain with a Muslim brother and sister beginning from the same point in life, but taking very different routes in seeking their true identities. The two-parter splits the tale between them and shows many of the exact same events from opposite standpoints, almost inevitably culminating in one terrifying scene.
Kosminksy focused on Iraq with The Government Inspector, his dramatised tragedy of Dr David Kelly while back in 1999 he gave us Warriors, a Deer Hunter-esque look at British soldiers on peacekeeping duty in Bosnia who had to come home and somehow pick up the pieces of their traumatised lives. Perhaps most intriguing of all are the documentaries he made: Afghantsi about the end of the Soviet-Afghan war and Murder in Ostankino District which follows a homicide investigation in Glasnost-era Moscow. If you want to watch Big Brother after all that, then your mind has probably just evicted itself.