BBC season of films on BBC 4 – May 2006

The BBC presented a season of films on BBC4 in May 2006 on the subject of silent film:

SILENT BRITAIN, which Neil scored, is a 90-minute overview of British silent cinema, a subject which has never been approached in such detail before. Containing clips, scenes, interviews and anecdotes the film is a fascinating treasure trove of rarely seen material which will throw some much-needed light on a vanished art form. This has also been released as a BFI DVD.

PAUL MERTON’S SILENT CLOWNS is an opportunity to hear about the great silent clowns from a comedy expert (and comic legend in his own right) who has grown up knowing and enjoying this material all his life – four one-hour episodes deal with Chaplin, Keaton, Harold Lloyd and Laurel and Hardy and each episode ends with a complete short by that artist, scored by Neil. Chaplin’s ‘Easy Street’ is a live improv accompaniment recorded at Bristol Slapstick with German friends (and world-class improvisers) Gunter Buchwald on violin and Frank Bockius on percussion, Keaton’s ‘The Goat’ and Lloyd’s ‘Never Weaken’ are studio recordings featuring great session musicians including Sonia Slany on violin and finally Laurel and Hardy’s ‘You’re Darn Tootin’ has the 10-piece score commissioned by Paul from Neil for last year’s SLAPSTICK, recorded live at Pordenone Festival featuring Dutch and Italian musicians and the trouser-ripping sound effects of the entire audience!!

And finally, his TV adaptation of STAN, the Sony-nominated radio play from 2004, aired to huge critical acclaim – Jim Norton and Trevor Cooper played the older Stan and Ollie and Nik Howden and Mike Goodenough played the younger. The director was Jon Sen.