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Dennis Potter

Dennis Potter (May 17, 1935 - 1994) was a controversial British dramatist who specialised in television series with obscure and/or surreal subject matter.

He was born in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, and studied at New College, Oxford. His career as a playwright began conventionally enough with Vote, vote, vote for Nigel Barton, a BBC play about a parliamentary candidate. He took a major step into controversy with Son of Man[?] (1969), starring Colin Blakely[?], an alternative view of the last days of Jesus Christ, which led to his being accused of blasphemy. Another play, Brimstone and Treacle (1975), was banned for indecency.

Potter continued to make news as well as winning critical acclaim for drama serials such as Pennies from Heaven (1978) - which brought Bob Hoskins into the limelight - and The Singing Detective[?] (1986), which did the same for Michael Gambon. Although he won many awards for his writing, Potter was generally regarded quizzically by the general viewing public. His last major TV serial, Blackeyes, written when he was already in the grip of terminal cancer, was widely regarded as self-indulgent.

Shortly before his death, Potter gave a memorable interview to the BBC, in which he described his work and his determination to continue writing until the end. As he sipped on a morphine cocktail, he told the interviewer: "My only regret is if I die four pages too soon."

His final two plays, Karaoke, and Cold Lazarus (two related stories, both starring Albert Finney as the same principal character), were aired posthumously in the United Kingdom as part of a rare collaboration between BBC2 and Channel 4.

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