Dickens before Sound – DVD (2006)

DICKENS BEFORE SOUND, a DVD of Dickens-related silent material held by the NFTVA and featuring the full-length ‘Oliver Twist’ starring Jackie Coogan was released in August 2006 – scored throughout by Neil it also features textual soundtrack work by writer Michael Eaton and the wonderful Ken Campbell.

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.

Talking with Mr Warner (2005)

Neil’s musical, TALKING WITH MR WARNER received its second showcase at the Menier Chocolate Factory with a superb cast in December 2005 after extensive rewrites, again to great critical acclaim. The next stage will be a full production.

Recorded piano accompaniments – various films (2005)

Neil has recently recorded piano accompaniments to Schloss Vogelod (Murnau), Spione (Fritz Lang), The Woman Men Wanted (Dietrich), Die Grosse Sprung (Leni Riefenstahl) and When I was a man (Lubitsch) for the FW Murnau Institute which will be aired on European TV and ultimately receive DVD release. Neil has also recorded a piano accompaniment for the 1925 Charlie Chaplin classic The Gold Rush released on DVD by French TV company MK2, along with the 1934 reissue with Chaplin’s own score. Neil’s score uses melodies from the compilation conductor’s score of that first performance.

Neil’s score for E A Dupont’s Piccadilly (2005)

Neil’s new jazz score for E A Dupont’s Piccadilly was featured in a sell-out performance at the 2000 seat Barbican Concert Hall to great acclaim, (described by Phillip French in the Observer as ‘the cinemagoing event of the year’) and was performed live in the Piazza Maggiore, Bologna in July. It has now been released as a BFI DVD.

Neil scored Paul Leni’s The Cat and the Canary for Photoplay Productions (2004)

Neil scored Paul Leni’s The Cat and the Canary for Photoplay Productions. This spooky house comedy-horror is scored for 12 musicians including Theremin, conducted by maestro Timothy Brock, and received rave reviews as the closing event of the Pordenone Silent Film Festival in October 2004.

It played on Film Four, will play on ARTE and in the States and will eventually be released on DVD.

Neil’s radio play Stan (2004)

His radio play, STAN, about Stan Laurel’s last meeting with stroke victim Oliver Hardy, went out on Radio 4 at 2.15, Friday July 30th 2004, starring Tom Courtenay as Stan Laurel. It was received with great critical acclaim, being Pick of the Day in most broadsheets as well as the Radio Times and featuring prominently on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Pick of the Week’ and ‘Feedback’. See the STAN page on this website. Subsequently nominated for the Sony radio awards.

Who Do You Think You Are? BBC2 (2003)

Neil appeared in the BBC2 series ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ in the episode featuring soprano Lesley Garrett’s search for her roots, particularly her grandfather, Colin Wall, who was a silent film musician in Rotherham.
He has also done a day’s filming as a movie pianist for Ken Loach’s film, The Wind the Shakes the Barley.