“The thing about imagination is that by the very act of putting it down, there must be some truth in one's own imagination.” – Dennis Potter
Born on this date in 1935, Potter is widely regarded as one of the most influential and innovative dramatists ever to have worked on British television. His television dramas mixed fantasy, reality, personal and social with themes and images from popular culture.
In addition to his work as a TV dramatist, Potter also wrote journalistically, had several novels and nonfiction books published, and did both screenplays and stage productions. He is best known for his BBC TV serials Pennies from Heaven and The Singing Detective, and for his television play Blue Remembered Hills, all aired on Masterpiece Theatre as well.
Major motifs in Potter's writing are the concept of betrayal and the device of a disruptive outsider. He also wrote a number of pieces considered semi-autobiographical, and while he won very few awards (he did win an Edgar from the Mystery Writers of America for his screenplay of the novel Gorky Park), his work has influenced a wide range of other writers and producers both in Great Britain and the U.S. He died at the relatively young age of 59 and has since been the subject of several television retrospectives, including a festival of his works by the BBC.
Noted for his droll sense of humor, he once remarked wryly that, “The trouble with words is that you never know whose mouths they have been in.”
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