Monday, 16 June 2014

'Do Not Disturb'

I stumbled across this feature-length BBC drama while looking for something else. Anything starring Peter Capaldi and Frances Barber is worth watching in my book, but this is something extra-special.

'Do Not Disturb' is a rather brilliant exploration of the ghost story genre, and the weird phenomenon of people (like me) who visit places linked to often quite obscure authors. Timberlake Wertenbaker clearly knows her stuff. Her fictitious author, 'Eleanor Mont', lived in Norfolk and what we hear of her stories owes something to M.R. James (and perhaps Eleanor Scott, who wrote Randall's Round).

A story about ghost stories is also a ghost story, and tackles the theme of hauntings in more than one subtle way. There's also a wonderful scene in which an academic from King's College, Cambridge, insists that he's decoded the author's life from her work. The balance between humour and serious drama is maintained throughout, while the climactic tragedy is foreshadowed by inserts featuring Barber. But watch it yourself, and see if you agree with me. I think it's quite a find.


Anonymous said...

I found it utterly baffling. Malcolm Tucker and Frances Barber are running a scammy guided tour of the home village of dead ghost writer Eleanor Bartlet. Barber seduces a straw man and in grief Tucker buys hair products. French Lesbian mocks the nutty professor, then they get stuck on the marshes, and the expat colonial drowns. This leaves Barber with a fear of words, which explains her terseness on Twitter nowadays. The whole thing starts off with a man attempting to kick a duck up the arse.

I'd like to think it's canonical back-story for The Thick Of It.

"Oh! Is that you, Sebastian?... I think I'd better leave."

Simon Moore said...

That was a terrific watch, thanks for unearthing it!

valdemar said...

My pleasure, Simon. And it was good to see you the other night.