So: we’ve been commissioned to make another film for Channel 4 – this time about the rapidly growing numbers of centenarians in Britain. That’s in production at the moment and should air early next year. It’s an opportunity to do what Landmark’s always enjoyed – making something which is kind and perceptive but which confounds expectations. Plus, we’ve always felt older people are patronised by media coverage. Too often, it’s the jolly soul from local TV bellowing “What’s your secret to living a long life?” into a startled looking oldie’s ear. They, of course, feel obliged to say it’s the tot of rum or some such. So we want to get a bit beyond that.
This is the fifteenth year of Landmark Films and we’ve amassed a body of work which we’re intensely proud of – more than 100 hours of films now. I won’t drone on here but it’s good to see words like “heart-warming/completely fascinating and moving/inspiring/a dazzling series/an exquisite treat/mesmerising/a superb series/life affirming” in the national papers when they write about series like our BBC2 Brain Doctors, ITV1 Married to the Job, Sky Atlantic The Guest Wing. Perhaps even more satisfying is the reaction of the contributors to those films when they see themselves or the places they work portrayed on the screen. There was a quite extraordinary public and reviewer reaction to Brain Doctors in particular – you can see some of that reaction storify.com/nicholasodwyer/brain-doctors-final-episode and you can see public reaction to the excellent women detectives of Hertfordshire seen on ITV1’s Married to the Job storify.com/nicholasodwyer/married-to-the-job-twitter-comment?utm_source=t
I remember one employee of the Oxford hospital where the Brain Doctors series was filmed saying: “I’m so proud to be coming to work here today.” That meant a lot.
In addition to our blue-chip series for BBC2 and ITV1, we also tend to make more comedic single films around characters who exemplify issues people feel strongly about – like Hedge Wars, Fox Wars and Litter Wars for BBC1 10.45pm slots. They too get great press and I hope they afford their audiences and contributors a wry chuckle or two. It’s strange how everything in Telly Land has to be a war but I suppose it’s a TV shorthand for something people care deeply about. You can see more press comment on our films here.
We continue to look out for people and places who are extraordinary and whose lives and work will fascinate, delight and inspire a large TV audience. Life’s too short to be miserabilist and dark or cruel and carpy. And we continue to be proud of a record of treating the people who we work with as contributors – and who allow us to show something of their lives – and, indeed, our audience, with honesty, humanity and respect. Sounds a bit apple pie-ish, I know, but what’s the point in doing otherwise.
We're always on the lookout for new director and AP talent so, if you're new and bright and you have a belting docco idea that's sharply focused - about specific people, places and events - feels funny and fresh then get in touch. Landmark's always been good at working with and nurturing new talent - that's another thing which makes work enjoyable. And we're particularly keen to get new ideas away now as I (Nick O'Dwyer) have been spending much of the last year being a bit of a luvvie and writing plays, m'dear. Now it's time to get back into the swing of telly.
We're especially keen to meet people who live in or around Oxford or who are thinking of moving to this part of the world. If that sounds like you then do get in contact here.
Onwards and upwards.