|Paul Mendelson Interview|
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Ryan: What do you have coming in the future?
Paul: You tell me! If you want to have a career as a writer, you need lots of balls in the air. So perhaps it's apt that I've written a TV-movie about testicular cancer, based on my own experience with that illness in the late eighties. We have a major British star attached, so I'm hoping it will be picked up.
Add to that a play for BBC Radio 4, another TV film based, as I've said, on my days as a lawyer, the movie I wrote with Stan Daniels earlier this year which is about to do the rounds (thank God your writers' strike is settled) and, hopefully, series three of My Hero. If none of them happen, I'm screwed. If all of them happen..I'm screwed.
So thank goodness I still do some freelance advertising - to help pay the bills. Anyone need a slogan?
Ryan: Are you satisfied working on British TV, or do you aspire to get into theatre, write a movie, go to America etc?
Paul: I have to say I am honoured to be working on British TV. It happened to me relatively late and I still have to pinch myself. I have no desire - nor probably ability - to write for the stage, although I adore watching it. (Incidentally my passion is for Broadway musicals. I have a vast collection of recordings, some of shows that failed miserably. They're the interesting ones!)
As I have said, I wrote my first American movie this year and hope fervently that someone will pick it up. But the experience itself was terrific and I would love to repeat it. I would also like for an American company to translate My Hero into a US show. I think it would work. After all the superhero is your invention, not ours.
Since I went in 1967 with a party of Scottish schoolchildren on an exchange tour to Lexington, Kentucky (and studied at the Henry Clay High School), I have been seduced by America. Each time I visit, I find it more enthralling. This year we went to Savannah and drove to the Great Smokey National Park in Tennessee then on to Charlottesville VA and Washington DC. So any excuse to return would be fine by me. (And of course as a superhero it would only take me a few seconds. Sorry, getting carried away again.)
Ryan: If you ran the BBC, what (besides run lots of series written by Paul Mendelson) kind of programming would you feature?
Paul: I wouldn't presume to tell the BBC how to do its job. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. But I do miss the wonderful - and regular - drama of the past. Would Dennis Potter be given the access and respect today? There is a feeling abroad that there has been a dumbing down over recent years. Perhaps I shouldn't voice this too loud, as my stuff isn't exactly cerebral. But it is also interesting that My Hero was the first comedy series in a long time that people have watched as a family. Which is a result I am extremely proud of. So maybe that is something I would strive for - bring back family entertainment. Although possibly that would need as much social engineering as it would scheduling.
I think your first suggestion was right. If they promise to commission everything I send them, I promise to watch it. You can't say fairer than that.
Ryan: Paul Mendelson, thank you!