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Bad acting? What bad acting?

General chat about all things Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.

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Kenny Fraser
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Re: Bad acting? What bad acting?

Post by Kenny Fraser » Sun Sep 13, 2020 9:08 pm

Thought I'd bump this thread as it's a few weeks since the last post. It could be longer, as I lost track of time after nipping out for a Sporting Chronicle. I passed a bloke pushing an old Zephyr on my way to the newsagents and the motor may have been silent but he certainly wasn't, emitting a mixture of loud burps and even louder swearing. As I drew level with him, he put his hand in his jacket pocket, said "Top of the bill!" and fished out a pickled onion, crunching it enthusiastically as he pushed his large frame against the vintage car, which had an unusual paint finish and looked in need of one or two small repairs.

Anyway, and regarding Howard Radcliff, for some odd reason I hadn't previously thought of him risking his reputation by working for Ally Fraser. I suppose I felt Radcliff was a freelance and Fraser would only use his services now and again. Having said that, a professional man would need to be either careless or crooked by regularly carrying out work for someone who's basically a gangster.

John Bowler played the character as a self-important and self-assured individual, although Radcliff becomes tetchy when the latter quality is challenged by those he considers to be his social inferior. I had initially regarded his brusque response to Dennis questioning why he was prepared to design a cheap and nasty conversion as an architect asserting his professional position coupled with wounded pride, but maybe Fraser had a hold on Radcliff, who was frustrated and angry at allowing himself to be compromised by a man he would normally steer well clear of.

I didn't feel John Bowler's acting was substandard but the warder who tells Moxey to get on with it could've been more convincing. His accent sounded ropey and despite his burly appearance he had a camp manner (more an effete Mr Barraclough than a robust Mr Mackay), which you'd imagine isn't common in that line of work. Although it was a brief scene, the character's lack of authority jarred, and this shows how important it is for even the smallest of roles to be played convincingly, assuming a good actor won't be too precious to accept a blink and you'll miss them part. Although this scene didn't affect the overall quality of the series, it's a mistake in that episode which could've been avoided.

At the other end of the scale, Bill Paterson has described Tim Healy as a very truthful actor, which of course is a real compliment. I take this to mean Bill Paterson feels Healy authentically conveys a character's thoughts and emotions to the audience, who consequently accept this is how such a man would react in real life. In AWP, Tim Healy doesn't attempt to conceal a lack of confidence or indulge his ego by employing an actor's tricks, which would undoubtedly lessen the viewer's belief in Dennis as a credible character. I think an example of this is shown when Dennis takes Oz to task for the way he treats his wife and son.

You feel as if it's a real person speaking to Oz - not in a documentary style, which can appear artificial - but as if you were sitting in the hut with Dennis and Oz. In fairness to Jimmy Nail, he isn't found wanting in these scenes, and although there are those who say he was just playing himself in AWP, if you put the vast majority of people in a drama series who hadn't previously acted and asked them to just be themselves, the results would be cringeworthy in the extreme, rather like Oz's antics. :D

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