The first critical biography of the innovative television writer whose off-kilter creations helped spark the Golden Age of modern television. TV writer Dennis Potter is widely credited with revolutionizing television. The innovative shows he created for the BBC, including The Singing Detective and Pennies from Heaven, trailblazed new paths for genre-bending entertainment and demonstrated the creative possibilities of episodic television. Potter also adapted both of those shows into critically acclaimed major motion pictures: Pennies from Heaven starring Steve Martin, and The Singing Detective starring Robert Downey Jr. In The Life and Work of Dennis Potter, W. Stephen Gilbert analyzes Potter's impressive body of work, emphasizing the dramatic interplay between his life and the medium he loved. At the age of twenty-four, Potter was diagnosed with psoriatic arthopathy, a rare debilitating skin disease whose horrors he portrayed with biting black humor through his alter ego, the character Michael Gambon in The Singing Detective. Gilber traces Potter's career from its beginnings to his astonishing final interview to Melvyn Bragg, weeks before his death. Unforgettable for its honesty about life, work, and dying, the result was yet another gripping piece of television-and quintessential Dennis Potter. "[T]he late dramatist's influence can be seen in many places, from Twin Peaks to Mrs. Brown's Boys." -The Guardian "Gilbert recalls the lacerating wit, passionate intelligence, and courage behind the television playwright responsible for The Singing Detective and Pennies from Heaven." -Vanity Fair
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