kiwisue (kiwisue) wrote,

Martin Shaw biography

I've just finished Martin Shaw's biography by Stafford Hildred and Tim Ewbank. It isn't a demanding read; it took me about 4 hours to get through it. At the end I felt as though I'd learned a little more about him, but at the same time more than a bit annoyed - despite not having huge expectations that it would "reveal all", as they say :-).

There are 46 photos, all very nice; many were familiar but a decent number were ones I hadn't seen before. The Knitted Cap of Doom made an appearance! One of Martin with his second wife and for once she looks very nice - no big hair or stunned-mullet expression. The "Ladder of Swords" shots are interesting because he's wearing (or almost wearing *g*) the costume and has the hair from the latter half of the film, but he's doing stuff with Daley the bear who appears in the first part.

The most interesting bits were (in no particular order) the sections on: filming "Macbeth; filming "Last Place on Earth"; doing "Are you Lonesome Tonight" on stage; and a little bit more information about Martin's days as a young actor at LAMDA.

I can believe that publisher pressure resulted in the book going to print too early. It has an unfinished feel - a final edit would not have gone astray. The book doesn't hang together as a whole - it's as though they wrote the chapters as stand-alones, maybe intending to go back & integrate them later. The narrative of events in some sections was confusing. There were whole paragraphs that were repeated in different places, in content if not word for word.

At one point, Vicki Kimm was referred to as Martin's third wife in a section dealing with 1991! Sloppy writing, a decent editor should have picked this up. And this description in The Professionals chapter, "The final episode was eventually screened on 6 February 1983 and finished with an explosive collision between an inflatable dinghy carrying Bodie and Doyle and the motorboat they were chasing" was just plain wrong! For one thing, the dinghy scene was in Spy Probe which was the last episode produced, not aired; and for another, they did NOT collide with the other boat! Sloppy background research.

Now and then I got the feeling that the authors were trying to build a picture of Shaw the (contradictory) man, rather than simply plodding through a chronicle of his history and achievements. At those times my appreciation of the book lifted considerably. Unfortunately there weren't anywhere near enough moments like this.

later I also should mention the section about "The Chief", because he's quoted talking about spending time with Peter Ryan, who was Chief Constable in Norfolk at the time and later had the job of Police Commissioner in NSW for a few years (but ran foul of Labour Party politics, at least IMO about what happened).


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