New TV plays fuel millennium fears
Sunday 20 September 1998
Eight psychological thrillers will explore society's "low-level hysteria" about the future and the growing pre-millennial tension, it says. The project has a budget of about pounds 6m and is a departure for Film Four, which normally makes feature films; this is the first time it has collaborated on television drama with Channel Four.
The dramas are seen as harking back to a Seventies genre of films such as Demon Seed and Don't Look Now, portraying the psychological turmoil of a society that feels dehumanised by technology.
Elinor Day, deputy head of production for Film Four, says the dramas, on which filming is expected to start next spring, will address such themes as the threat to identity from cloning and gender selection.
"They are aimed at capturing the deep-seated fear surrounding the millennium from a personal and psychological perspective," she said.
"There is a general sense at the moment of low-level hysteria which has not been explored yet in television drama. Everyone is groping towards this milestone but we do not know whether there will be anything on the other side.
"There is also a sense of urban paranoia, with people feeling detached from each other and alienated. Society tends to project its fears on the future and the millennium is a peg for this. It is the fear of meeting yourself in the dark one day, because of science creating things like Dolly the sheep and tampering with genetics."
The writers include Michael Marshall Smith, who has won numerous awards. His novel Spares is under development by Steven Spielberg. This will be his first television drama script, based on his short story The Owner, about a single woman in her thirties who has just come out of a long- term relationship and finds herself isolated from friends and society. She moves into a rented flat and becomes paranoid about the strangers who also live in the building.
Mr Marshall Smith, a Cambridge Footlights contemporary of David Baddiel and Nick Hancock, turned to futuristic thrillers after writing comedy for the BBC. He claims the sense of alienation his heroine feels is one shared by many people as the millennium approaches. "This millennial tension operates on a number of levels," he says. "We are surrounded by people we do not know. The friends we do have are sprinkled all over the place if you are in London and it takes a long time to visit them. In the last couple of years both men and women have felt their biological clocks ticking. We inherit timescales from our parents and we find we get panicky when we go past them."
He says he is not unduly worried about the millennium, but can empathise with others' fears. "I'm fairly relaxed about it but I think it would be a really odd person who would not wonder if everything was going to go black as we count in the year 2000. But of course, we will wake up and probably feel disappointed that everything is the same as before."
- 1 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Driving while dehydrated can be just as dangerous as drink driving, study suggests
- 4 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
- 5 One Direction: Louis Tomlinson launching his own record label, has already 'signed two acts'
Isis video purports to show beheadings and execution at gunpoint of 30 Ethiopian Christians and destruction of churches in Libya
Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
Professional big game hunter Ian Gibson crushed to death by elephant during hunt
Driving while dehydrated can be just as dangerous as drink driving, study suggests
Ben Affleck asked TV chiefs to hide slave-owning ancestry, new hacked Sony emails published by Wikileaks claim
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...