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EDITIONS
Monday, 31 March, 2003, 13:44 GMT 14:44 UK
The Planman
Robbie Coltrane
Newsnight Review discussed Robbie Coltrane's new TV series The Planman.



(Edited highlights of the panel's review)

MARK LAWSON:
Tom, I think it's clear that the pitch would have been Jekyll and Hyde set in the Scottish legal system, did you enjoy it?

TOM PAULIN:
Not just Jekyll and Hyde but the whole theme of the double, Confession of the Justified Sinner, the James Hogg novel. In other words it's extremity of Calvinism, the doubleness in that and the dark side of being a lawyer. Absolutely brilliant and very compelling. It is about the risk taking of that imagination and the way in which it wants to create absolute and total chaos. It was wonderful like that, but also what is interesting about this is that this ends rather like Andrew O'Hagan novel which is a Bonny prince Charlie exile moment. Very strange that they both should be doing that, because they are both about Scotland now and they are saying actually devolution will end up with a Parliament not unlike Stormont and we're going to have to get the hell out of this Jacobite republic.

LAWSON:
There's an intriguing reading of it, Bonnie Greer?

BONNIE GREER:
I thought the production values were wonderful, the writing, the acting but the thing that will keep you watching, was the incredible score, which was wonderful and Robbie Coltrane don't let me start, this man is the sexiest and the deepest. This guy's pauses with no words says more than just about anybody on television. He is a great actor and there are parts of this film that doesn't make sense but you stay with it because Coltrane and Celia Imrie keep you in it.

LAWSON:
Charles, they've got quite a challenge the writer and actors here that it is quite preposterous this plot and they have to make it make sense. Do they bring it off?

CHARLES SAUMAREZ SMITH:
There are bits which are ludicrous. It is held together by Robbie Coltrane. It is two and a half hours of him changing role, changing guise, changing personality as a lawyer and criminal and it is held together by his performance which is wonderful.

LAWSON:
He doesn't take very many roles particularly since he got into the Harry Potter pension scheme. I understood why he took this, because the thing he's best at is these switching of mood and personality, so to be playing someone who is two people is ideal.

GREER:
He does something what a lot of TV actors don't do. What he does is he's constantly stripping away, all the time and always revealing layer, under layer, under layer, under layer. You believe every moment he's on screen and he makes fat, I mean he's the sexiest fat man I've ever┐ he's unbelievable and his choices, because there are not a lot of things that would be good enough for him to do. I adore him, he's a genius. Celia Imrie is equally great.

PAULIN:
The relationship is badly scripted and in the second episode it get ludicrous. No sense at all, but the basic conception which he caries is marvellous.


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