Troy Kennedy Martin RIP


Troy Kennedy Martin‘s death is a reminder of the importance of a tradition of popular and risky television drama over the last 50 years. From his six-part anthology Storyboard (1961), produced by his co-conspirator James MacTaggart, Troy’s aim was “to tell a story in visual terms”, breaking free of a theatrical naturalism in which stories were told by actors talking while the camera looked on. “We were going to destroy naturalism, if possible, before Christmas.” His article for Encore in 1964, Nats Go Home!, was a manifesto for a television drama that mattered, experimented, and aspired to be bigger than the box that contained it.

The creative edginess of Edge of Darkness lies in a narrative in which something real is at stake; a script that takes risks with credulity; performances and a visual style that keep faith with the risks; and an ethical seriousness that inscribes what is at stake on the emotions. The sheer volume and availability of television invite formulae and familiarity. It requires a rogue imagination to shake the routines loose, and Troy provided that kind of imagination. Edge of Darkness embodies an avant-garde sensibility in a popular thriller, stretching the conventions without quite breaking them, and pushing on the boundaries of what popular television can do.

Just before his diagnosis with a brain tumour and lung cancer, Troy delivered four feature-length scripts for the global warming thriller Broken Light, inspired by James Lovelock’s Revenge of Gaia. To be continued…

If you haven’t seen Edge of Darkness you really should –available to see on Veoh-(especially as a Hollywood version is threatening to be born).

Posted in Media. Tags: . 3 Comments »

3 Responses to “Troy Kennedy Martin RIP”

  1. Sophie Kennedy Martin Says:

    Thanks Rick, I really enjoyed this footage of my dad.
    Best Sophie Kennedy Martin

  2. Sophie Kennedy Martin Says:

    PS: I also appreciate the John Caughie’s article.

  3. RickB Says:

    Glad to have been of use! Edge of Darkness came out a year after my own father died and it spoke a great deal to me. Your dad was a brilliant writer of ground breaking TV, my condolences.


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