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the Complete Review
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Blue Remembered Hills

Dennis Potter

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To purchase Blue Remembered Hills

Title: Blue Remembered Hills
Author: Dennis Potter
Genre: TV script
Written: 1979
Length: 47 pages
Availability: Blue Remembered Hills - US
in Blue Remembered Hills - UK
in Blue Remembered Hills - Canada
  • Included in the volume Blue Remembered Hills (a collection originally titled Waiting for the Boat), along with Cream in my Coffee (see our review) and Joe's Ark (see our review)
  • The volume Blue Remembered Hills / Waiting for the Boat also contains an introduction by the author, 'Some Sort of Preface ...'
  • Blue Remembered Hills was first shown on BBC so January, 1979. It was directed by Brian Gibson, and among the actors was Helen Mirren

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Our Assessment:

B+ : clever, affecting play about childhood -- but better seen than read

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
The Guardian A+ 5/6/2008 Peter Bradshaw

  From the Reviews:
  • "It is simply more brilliant, more horrifying, more extreme than ever. (...) It is a brutal work about childhood and children. (...) It is remarkable to see the freedom that Potter was given as a writer: he had gloriously long, expansive, wordless sequences in which the Brobdingnagian kids just run about in the forest, or the gorgeous dappled clearings and fields: pure unfettered Ids, whooping and cackling and preparing to enact their midsummer day's nightmare. (...) What a great television film it is: there was nothing like it at the time, and nothing like it now." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       Blue Remembered Hills remains one of Dennis Potter's best-known plays, and is likely the one that is most often still produced on the stage (even though it was originally written for television). It is a story about childhood, the "land of lost content" of Housman's verses. The characters are young children, but Potter's twist here is that they are not played by young child-actors. Instead it is adult actors that fill the roles, which of course puts quite a different spin on things, even as the adults act in best childish manner.
       In his introduction to the play Potter acknowledges that "compared with most of the plays I have written (...) it is by far the simplest in both form and content." It is a straightforward play of children at play, seeing and interpreting the world as children do.
       It is 1943, in the West Country, with war in the air and the world of adults still largely a mystery. The different children have different fears and temperaments. They tease, play, argue, chase a squirrel. It is still a world of considerable innocence, but innocence comes tumbling down in an awful climax.
       Blue Remembered Hills is a straightforward realistic play, but Potter still packs a powerful punch in it. However, the most striking thing about the play -- the adults assuming the roles of the young children -- is generally lost on the page, and so it is not quite as effective read as it is seen.

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Blue Remembered Hills: Reviews: Blue Remembered Hills: "Blue Remembered Hills":
  • The verses from A.E.Housman's A Shropshire Lad
Dennis Potter: Other books by Dennis Potter under review: Books about Dennis Potter under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       English author Dennis Potter (1935-1994) is best known for his television scripts Pennies from Heaven and The Singing Detective.

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