Friday, September 12, 2008

FORGOTTEN BOOKS: SIR, YOU BASTARD BY G.F. NEWMAN!

FORGOTTEN BOOKS: SIR, YOU BASTARD BY G.F. NEWMAN!

Author G. F. Newman is a controversial and at the very least eccentric English television producer and writer. He is best known for two British television series: Law and Order (not the American version) and The Nation's Health, each based on his books. Both take scathingly critical looks at their respective targets: The London Metropolitan Police and the British Health Service.

The four part, eight hour, Law and Order changed the landscape both of cop shows and British TV. It wasn't so much a drama as an exposé. The performances and mood of the four films, directed with Spartan vigor, made you think it had to be real, had to be documentary featuring a police force identical to the criminals they trailed but for the badges.

Newman has little faith in conventional medicine, believing alternative therapy is far more effective. Just as obviously, he is also not impressed by the police service. He has joked he would rather see community members wearing pink uniforms working to prevent disturbances in their own areas.

While his groundbreaking TV drama Law And Order attacked police brutality, Newman believes victims of crime, prejudice and ill-health did something to deserve it in previous lives.

Despite, these odd views, Newman’s novels are well written, gritty, and hard-hitting. Sir, You Bastard is the first in a trilogy featuring corrupt DCI Terry Snead – a vile character with few redeeming values. While Sneed is a definite anti-hero he is still better than the other corrupt coppers and vicious villains with whom he is surrounded.

Sir, You Bastard and the follow-up novels, You Nice Bastard, and You Flash Bastard are comparable in tone to The Shield television series – only written long before The Shield was even conceived.

If you are fascinated by The Shield (I’m not sure how anyone could ‘enjoy’ The Shield), then Newman's books are for you.

1 comment:

KILROY WAS-A-HERO said...

Ah ha so the elderly woman and child killed on a rail crossing last night were unfortuante because they'd not come up to scratch in their previous lives? G F N's stuff is okay - but has its imperfections.