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(1975– )

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  • Angus Wilson (1913-1991) wrote his novel "Late Call" in 1964, and 20 years later, Anthony Burgess ranked it as one of the 99 best novels written since 1939. This led to its inclusion in the rec.arts.books compilation list of the 425 "Greatest Books of All Time." The central character is the elderly Sylvia Calvert, and Wilson wanted to "find a way of suggesting the absurd and the compassionate at the same time in Sylvia's story," and with her son, "the sudden, incidental and completely horrible in the deadly respectable world." Adapting Wilson's novel into four episodes (each approximately 50 minutes in length), Dennis Potter expanded Wilson's prologue ("The Hot Summer of 1911") into the drama's centerpiece, intercutting between past and present as he probed spiritual desolation in the English Midlands. Retiring from a lifetime of hotel domestic service, Sylvia Calvert arrives with her husband Arthur to live with their overly fastidious son in the New Town of Carshall, where they attempt to adjust to the lifestyle of his family. Amid the alienation and the passivity of the dull and deadening retirement, Sylvia escapes into her repressed memories, looking back at the year 1911 and reflecting on the psychological wound of a long-ago incident from her childhood.


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