George Orwell is a hero of mine and this is a clip from a docu-drama I made about his life. Orwell was a tweedy action-man intellectual but his medium was the written word and there is no surviving moving picture archive of him in action. So I created it, turning his essays and journalism into short films and film news reports. When the film was shown on the BBC I was accused of making a drama not a documentary. Yes we wrote a script, worked with actors, costume designers and sets, but this was still a documentary that set out to to reveal the emotional and intellectual journey that led to 1984. In this clip, Orwell's elegant and uplifting prose about simple pleasures becomes a stylish film essay.
Murder on the Victorian Railway was a docu-drama I made for the BBC. As well as being a tragedy, a murder, its investigation and the trial can be a telling snapshot of a society at that precise and random moment of the killing. In this murder case, it was especially true because this was the first murder on a train, which happened at the height of the first railway age. Caught-up in this story were top-hatted bankers, rootless immigrants and a deaf prostitute. I wrote the film using the words these real life characters actually spoke, either in trial documents or in interviews with the newspapers. So this story from the Victorian age is told in their own words. In this clip, Alfred Ekin a train driver and aristocrat of the industrial revolution explains who he found the victims body.
A clip from one of the programmes in the multi-award winning BBC series, The Secret History of Our Streets. The programme I made in this series is about a London street called Arnold Circus, which was the first council estate in Britain. The story of Arnold Circus reveals how streets, and cities, never come out as they are planned. This clip introduces Minnie Finkelstein, the granddaughter of one of the first families to move into Arnold Circus. The Finkelstein's former council flat, where Minnie grew-up, is now owned by a wealthy young banker. I filmed Minnie returning to her old flat.
Many know that Vincent Van Gogh cut-off part of his ear. Buy why? When I was told that he did this to himself the night his best friend Paul Gauguin left him I realised there was a powerful story to be told. Van Gogh and Gauguin only lived together for a few weeks, in the Yellow House, from which this film takes its title. This scene is about Gauguin's arrival to live with Van Gogh and the attraction and tension between the two men is already powerful.