Dennis Potter (Dennis Christopher George Potter)
BiographyForest of Dean, Gloucestershire, England, UK
Dennis Christopher George Potter was born 17 May 1935 in Berry Hill, a small village in the Forest of Dean, where his grandfather and father were coal miners. Through books, the young Potter found that "words were chariots". He attended school in London and spent two years in the Army. During his three years at Oxford, he wrote The Glittering Coffin (1960), a bitter attack on England. As a BBC trainee, he wrote/hosted Between Two Rivers (1960), a documentary about the Forest of Dean. In 1961 he joined the Daily Herald, where he was TV critic (1962-64). Read more... had psoriatic arthropathy, a disease which plagued him for decades, less so after new drugs/treatments turned up. He lost the 1964 election as a Labour candidate, ending his planned political career. That same year, The Wednesday Play (1964) began on the BBC, and he submitted a novel-in-progress, which became his first TV play, The Wednesday Play: The Confidence Course (1965), about motivational seminar swindlers. Over three decades, he wrote novels, essays, stage plays, and movies but mainly focused on TV, where his semi-autobiographical explorations into consciousness and memory led to innovations in drama, often acclaimed. His masterpiece is The Singing Detective (1986), regarded by some as the best original work ever created for television. Only near the end of his life did he move into directing with Blackeyes (1989) and Secret Friends (1991). Steven Bochco's Cop Rock (1990) is just one example of Potter's widening influence. Few Potter plays aired on USA TV, but retrospectives were at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts and NYC's Museum of Television & Radio. His plays and interviews are part of the MT&R's permanent collection, available for viewing in NYC and also at the MT&R in Los Angeles.