Giles Cooper

OLIVER WAKE

btvd_cooper_maigretGiles Cooper is widely recognised as having been Britain’s greatest radio dramatist. He was highly prolific, writing dozens of original plays and adaptations for radio across a period of around 13 years. He was responsible for many of the medium’s masterpieces during the 1950s and his accomplishments were acknowledged posthumously with the BBC’s radio playwriting award being named in his honour. He also wrote for the stage, having particular success with his 1962 play Everything in the Garden, a dark comedy of middle-class suburban hypocrisy and greed.

This work has unfairly overshadowed Cooper’s career as a television dramatist. Writing for both the BBC and ITV, Cooper was even more prolific in television than he was in radio, producing a large body of work in which his characteristic skill as a dramatist was evident. He would undoubtedly be better known today had he not died tragically young while at the height of his talents in 1966. Marking the fiftieth anniversary of his death, this article aims to highlight Cooper’s television career and argue that he deserves greater recognition as one of Britain’s greatest television dramatists.

Sherlock: A Study in Pink (2010) and Holmes on TV

DAVID ROLINSON

Writer: Steven Moffat; Director: Paul McGuigan

The most impressive thing about A Study in Pink, the brilliant first episode of new series Sherlock, is that, for all the modern-day rebooting and visual invention, its spirit and detail are so faithful to the source work by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. As in his Doctor Who work, writer Steven Moffat brings a fan’s eye to the strengths and weaknesses of his beloved source material, developing the series format with fellow executive producers Sue Vertue and fellow Holmes and Who expert (and writer of episode 3) Mark Gatiss. A Study in Pink captures the essence of Holmes’s 19th century debut – reworking A Study in Scarlet (1887) and elements of Holmes’s second story, The Sign of Four (1890) – in a package that, with the impressive pace and technique of director Paul McGuigan, makes for one of the 21st century’s sharpest 90 minutes of popular drama to date.