TELEVISION / Production Notes

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The Independent Culture
The producer Graham Stuart, on the making of the trans-America road movie Coltrane in a Cadillac (ITV Tue):

'We were on the road last October / November for five weeks, going from desert heat to Arctic chill, and this was the problem, having a car that was 40 years old. We needed all Robbie's brilliant skills as a mechanic to get through. One night we stopped in Fairmount, Indianapolis, which was James Dean's home town. The weather was horrendous and we really thought we might not make it to the other side; once in Pennsylvania Robbie had a complete brakes failure and had there been more traffic on the road, the series wouldn't have got to episode four.

'The whole thing was totally spontaneous, unscripted and, due to time pressures, nothing could be done again. We were in One Take land. Robbie's skill is the speed with which he assimilates information and repeats it in comic form with great articulacy. In episode three, he does a two-minute sketch on himself and this journey in the style of the old Pathe newsreels and it is all off the cuff. Honestly, we could have scripted that, but it would have taken three weeks to shoot.'