David Reviews

 "You're not an artist, Peggy. You solve problems." Don Draper.

THE DIRECTOR BEHIND MR BATES
12 February 2024

The ITV Drama 'Mr Bates vs The Post Office' has joined that rare recollection of TV programmes that can justifiably claim to have changed people's lives for the better. The miscarriage of justice suffered by post-masters and post-mistresses up and down the country had been covered extensively in a number of newspapers and had been the subject of a long-running campaign in 'Private Eye' without managing to puncture the public's consciousness in a significant way.

Social media lit up when the first part of the drama starring Toby Jones was broadcast, and it set in motion a chain reaction which appears finally to be moving the needle on this story, and hastening the long awaited exonerations.


Writer Gwyneth Hughes has quite rightly received a lot of media attention, as has actor Toby Jones, but perhaps the most unsung of those responsible for bringing this drama to our screens is director James Strong.

This is a complex story that could easily bamboozle the audience by becoming mired in the nuance, and Strong must have had to ensure that the programme focused its attention on the unfairness of the treatment that was meted out to the victims of this scandal.

When DAVID saw the real Alan Bates being interviewed on 'This Morning', it was astonishing how quickly journalists became muddled by the facts, even when they were aiming to be sympathetic.

James Strong would probably be the first person to acknowledge the brilliance of Gwyneth Hughes's script but, even allowing for that, he must have had to draw on his many years of directing experience to ensure the crystal clarity that has so comprehensively captured the public's imagination.

And it's good that he did... it turns out that the livelihoods of many, many people were waiting for an intervention like this, and James Strong, and the others who brought this drama to our screens, managed to provide it - and we should all be grateful to them for it.

James Strong is represented by Dark Energy. You can see his showreel at their site, and then contact Matt Brown to check the director's availability via mattbrown@darkenergyfilms.com.

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