Tuesday, 20 December 2011
Follow the Yellow Brick Road
"Follow the Yellow Brick Road" (1972) by Dennis Potter - not a Play for Today this time, but part of a BBC 2 series called Sextet.
The played featured Denholm Elliot as an actor who is undergoing psychiatric treatment; he believes himself to be trapped in a television play. He explains to his doctor how he has only been able to find work in television commercials, although he prefers these to plays as he finds the latter morally corrupting.
The production is lively, with the action broken up by a series of mock commercials for cereal and dog food. The former sees Elliot getting up in the night for a midnight snack, stepping down a metal spiral staircase into a living room bedecked with jewels and a beautiful woman reclined on a couch. His hand tentatively pushes open the pantry door to reveal his wife secretly helping herself to the Krispy Krunch. This scene is recalled later in the play, this time to reveal his wife in bed with his agent.
Here is Potter on the subject of television advertising, speaking shortly after the release of The Singing Detective