Earlier today the death of Brian Barron was announced. Barron was one of the early generation of BBC foreign correspondents, and he spent the best part of half a century reporting on conflicts around the world for the Beeb. He was utterly, utterly brilliant. A great television journalist.
The other sad I have is for Troy Kennedy Martin, whose death yesterday seems to have gone almost completely unremarked, particularly and unforgiveably by the BBC, who have been giving heavy - and well-deserved - coverage to Brian Barron's passing and his career and not, so far as I can see, mentioned Kennedy Martin at all today.
Troy Kennedy who? I hear you ask? Well, he wrote The Italian Job and co-wrote, with Walter Hill, Red Heat, which I have something of a soft spot for. But he also created a series called Z-Cars for the BBC, which paved the way for a completely different portrayal of the police and their working methods. Kennedy Martin only actually wrote a few episodes of Z-Cars, but the series he created went on to become one of the BBc's great achievements and it spun off Softly Softly and I suppose you could trace its lineage forward to things like Lynda la Plante's Prime Suspect.
But his greatest achievement was Edge Of Darkness, a thriller of nuclear paranoia which was also the most extended examination of grief I've ever seen on television. It was blessed with brilliant performances all round, from the mighty and much-missed Bob Peck as the detective Ronald Craven and Joe Don Baker as the eccentric CIA operative and golf-lover Darius Jedburgh to Ian McNiece as a mighty fey representative of British Intelligence. It was the best thing the BBC have ever done, full of allusions to myth and legend and James Lovelock's Gaia Hypothesis, it had a terrific score by Michael Kamen and Eric Clapton, it had a smashing sight-gag about the Barbican, and at no point did it treat its audience like idiots. The BBC have not done anything even approaching Edge Of Darkness in the intervening years, which is a shame.
The series is available on DVD, and if you ever get a chance to see it, you should. I'm going to dig the box-set out over the weekend and watch it again.