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Made In Britain
cast: Tim Roth, Eric Richard

director: Alan Clarke

73 minutes (18) 1982
Prism Leisure DVD Region 0 retail
[released 25 July]

RATING: 9/10
reviewed by Gary Couzens
Made In Britain was the third and final of a short series of original television plays called Tales Out Of School, which played on the ITV network in 1982. It's the one everyone remembers, and stands among the finest works Alan Clarke made for television.

The first shot we see is a close-up of Trevor (Tim Roth), a skinhead with a swastika tattooed on his forehead. Punk rock - specifically, The Exploited - blasts out over the soundtrack. He's 16 years old, racist, violent, contemptuous of authority and utterly unrepentant. He's also highly intelligent and articulate. He's a problem that teachers, social workers, the police simply don't know how to solve without resorting to patronising ineffectual clichés. David Leland's script doesn't provide any answers, but it certainly poses many awkward questions. How does an education system deal with someone like Trevor, when it is dedicated to suppressing people's true feelings and making them fit roles in society? Trevor may be vile, but in Roth's extraordinary performance (his debut) he commands your attention from the outset.

Alan Clarke began his career in the 1960s, and Made In Britain is squarely in the tradition of the Wednesday Play and its 1970s successor Play For Today: drama dealing with contemporary issues that is not meant to console but to stir up and provoke. Made In Britain is as relevant today as it was when it was made.

Made In Britain was previously released on DVD by Carlton and this new release from Prism is a direct port of the previous disc, including the Carlton 'Silver Collection' menu screen. As a 1980s TV production, it's unsurprisingly in the 4:3 ratio with a mono soundtrack. The film was made in 16mm, and the occasional graininess adds to the film's effect. Subtitles are available for the hard-of-hearing, but there are no extras.

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