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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 December, 2003, 11:04 GMT
Hurt attacks 'ludicrous' budgets
John Hurt
Hurt stars as the flamboyant MP Alan Clark
Actor John Hurt has claimed filming of a BBC Four TV series based on late Tory MP Alan Clark's diaries was made more difficult by budget constraints.

"To film three hours of screentime in four weeks is ludicrous," Hurt said at BBC Four's winter launch on Tuesday.

The Alan Clark Diaries focuses on the flamboyant Member of Parliament's life from 1983 to his death in 1999.

"We are obviously sorry that John found the production schedule so demanding," said BBC Four controller Roly Keating.

Hurt said the drama was the kind of programme that used to be shown on BBC Two but had now been sidelined to the digital-only BBC Four.

"What did BBC Two first do? Didn't it provide us with something a little bit more interesting than we thought we were ready for? Isn't that what it was there for?" the actor said.

Kelly drama

The actor said he would not want to work under such conditions again. "If I had to do it again, I would certainly be heard to squeal louder," he said.

Hurt did say he now felt "enormous respect" for the philandering MP, who embarked on a string of affairs while married to wife Jane.

Meanwhile, BBC Four will also show a drama recreating the Hutton Inquiry on the eve of the report into Dr David Kelly's death.

Weapons adviser Dr David Kelly
The inquiry into Dr Kelly's death was not broadcast

Justifying War - Scenes from The Hutton Inquiry will be screened on BBC Four in January using actors to represent key players in the proceedings.

The two-and-a-half hour drama has been adapted for TV after being staged at London's Tricycle Theatre in autumn.

Lord Hutton's report arising from the six-week Iraq dossier inquiry is due to be published early in the New Year.

"This will be a remarkable reminder for audiences of what that complex and difficult inquiry was all about, on the eve of the inquiry results," said Keating.

"This is not just a good play, but a timely moment to do it. It's amazing how these things recede and get taken over by other events," he said.

BBC Three

Meanwhile, highlights from the BBC Three winter season will include a new show from comedy duo Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer.

Reeves and Mortimer
Reeves and Mortimer have been together for 16 years

Vic and Bob in Catterick features the pair as long-lost brothers in the series which will be screened next year.

Their Shooting Stars sidekick, Matt Lucas, will also appear in the show alongside League of Gentlemen star Reece Shearsmith and Auf Wiedersehen Pet actor Tim Healy.

The schedule will also see Mancunian singer Shaun Ryder star in a fly-on-the-wall documentary called Shaun Ryder Comes Clean.

The ex-Happy Mondays and Black Grape star is a former heroin and crack addict whose assets were frozen last year while he was living in Australia.

The film will show the singer still on the verge of bankruptcy but out of rehab and promoting a new album.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "It's pretty full-on and you will certainly come away with an opinion on the man."

Johnny Vaughan returns to the channel with a new chat show to replace his old chat series which is currently being rested by BBC Three.

Dom Joly, whose last comedy show was dropped, also returns with a documentary called Powerbrokers about political figures including Margaret Thatcher and Mikhail Gorbachev.




SEE ALSO:
Live theatre comes to digital TV
22 Aug 03  |  Entertainment
BBC Four has first birthday
02 Mar 03  |  Entertainment
BBC Four's mixed birthday report
28 Feb 03  |  Entertainment
BBC Four to honour foreign films
22 Jan 03  |  Entertainment
BBC Four happy with ratings
04 Mar 02  |  Entertainment


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