Friday, 16 February 2018

"Collateral" - Six and a half years on, I ask the same question: "Why Is My Licence Fee Funding Rubbishy Propaganda by David Hare"

Carey Mulligan - what a waste of her talent
About 20 minutes into the first (and, for me, the final) episode of the BBC's new conspiracy thriller, Collateral, written by the revered left-wing playwright David Hare, a number of thoughts struck me simultaneously:...

(1) This may just be the most unconvincingly phoney dialogue in TV drama history
(2) Carey Mulligan is a really good actress - and well as being heart-stoppingly lovely
(3) The female vicar is bound to be a lesbian
(4) Every character in this is nothing more than a vehicle for left-wing propaganda
(5) I've been through all this before

I lost interest when it was confirmed that the female vicar was indeed a lesbian, infatuated with a Vietnamese illegal immigrant who'd taken herself off to get high on drugs, and turned my attention instead to the urgent task of sorting out my Pinterest boards on the iPad - only re-engaging whenever Carey Mulligan (the Met detective whose athletics career was cruelly halted by a major pole-vaulting accident - I'm not even kidding!) to relish the more egregious examples of the sort of dialogue that nobody in real life has or will ever utter ("You were an episode - she's a whole chapter.")

Still finding myself troubled by a sense of déjà vu after Hare's paper cut-out agitprop pseudo-characters had strutted and fretted their hour upon the stage (for this week - there's another three episodes to come),  I consulted my online diary (i.e. this blog), entered "David Hare" in the search-box, and found myself reading a post I'd written in 2011 (no, I really have been doing this for too long),  entitled "Why is my licence fee funding rubbishy propaganda from David Hare?" The object of my ire back then was Page Eight, a BBC film written and directed by Hare, about how lovely Arabs terrorists are and how badly they're treated by those frightful Israelis and Americans. Bill Nighy and Michael Gambon played two senior MI5 men who - incongruously - seemed to hold the sort of malignant, pseudo-compassionate, right-on, elitist, one-percent, North London leftie opinions one would normally associate with an ageing Lancing College and Cambridge-educated left-wing playwright married to a French fashion designer and living in Hampstead. Funny that. (The accomplished actress/eye candy and the left-wing moral crusader in Page Eight  - i.e. the equivalents of Carey Mulligan and John Simm in Collateral - were Rachel Weisz and the aforementioned Bill Nighy.)

My wife heard David Hare being interviewed about Collateral on the radio earlier this week. He was asked if he'd done research among London's immigrant community, but he said he didn't need to - he knew all about them. I suspect the real reason he didn't bother doing any research was because he had no interest in portraying reality: his intention all along was simply to create a vehicle for his dreary, establishment political prejudices.

I was going to write more, but I've just this minute read a characteristically feisty James Delingpole review of Collateral in The Spectator - "David Hare is the kind of second-rate artist who flourished under Stalin" - which says it better than I could:
If this tripe is worth watching for any reason at all, it’s for the insights it offers into the unbearable torturedness of being an artsy-fartsy metropolitan liberal type in Brexit Britain. In fact, it should have been called simply Being Sir David Hare, for that’s all it is: a rehearsal of bien-pensant prejudices shoehorned, with all the subtlety of a medieval morality play, into a half-hearted stab at a detective yarn, turd-polished by a decent budget, some nervy, frenetic camerawork, and an all-star cast led by Carey Mulligan.
...How on earth did such a feeble, meandering script attract a cast in the league of Carey Mulligan, John Simm, Nicola Walker, Billie Piper and Ben Miles? Possibly, it was just the Hare cachet. Probably, though, it was because the right-on politics simply blinded them to its flaws. Same goes for the commissioning editors. Same, probably, for everyone who ever made Hare’s career happen. Was he ever really any good, does anyone know? Or is he the dramatic equivalent of the kind of artists who flourished under Stalin: second-raters with only one real talent — the ability to toe the party line.
Yeah - what he said.


  1. You're part of the problem. Ditch the TV and stop paying the TV licence.

    1. I live in constant hope, Tomahawk, that one of these days I'm going to discover something wrong with the world that isn't somehow my fucking fault.