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Last Updated: Sunday, 28 May 2006, 13:38 GMT 14:38 UK
Sex central for TV writer Davies
By Clare Gabriel
BBC Wales News website

Colin Firth as Mr Darcy in Pride And Prejudice
Mr Darcy was an influence on the film Bridget Jones' Diary
Screenwriter Andrew Davies told an audience at the Hay Festival that sex was central to a good story.

He said: "You have to get sex into the spine of the story - it's very good advice and I pass it on to any young writers here."

He also asked his audience on Sunday whether they thought he was "manic".

With The Line of Beauty being shown, another adaption finished and others in the pipeline, Davies felt he could write "almost anything" for the BBC.

He said he learnt early in his career that sex was important.

"A lot of people were a bit scared of it (sex)" and "just kid themselves that it's not centrally important which it nearly always is....until you get to my age of course".

He also admitted he let the bosses at the BBC choose what his projects for the small screen should be.

"They have their own ideas about what they want to do and you have to let them do a bit of choosing because that's all they do."

Andrew Davies
It's often a shock when I see who they've cast in certain roles
Andrew Davies

The former teacher turned screenwriter also said there were novels he would not like to adapt for TV, including James Joyce's Ulyssees and Virginia Woolf's The Waves.

'Stardust'

Davies, whose work includes adaptions of Bleak House and Pride and Prejudice, told a packed audience at the literature festival that he would enjoy tackling Foreign Affairs, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alison Lurie.

He said he would like Meryl Streep to play "the spinster waspish academic and some gorgeous young American guy to play the young man".

The screen writer gave the audience an understanding of how he approaches his work. He said he first read Bleak House while on a beach in Tobago and was "infuriated with the bloody thing".

Keeley Hawes as Kitty Butler and Rachael Stirling as Nan Astley in Tipping The Velvet
Tipping The Velvet was a 2002 adaption of Sarah Waters' novel

"I realised that in order to adapt it in a way that was going to allow a TV audience to follow the story I was going to have to pull the whole thing apart and put it together again in a different way."

He also described how he had been called in to help in one of the early drafts of the film Bridget Jones' Diary when those behind it could not decide what type of film it was going to be - romantic comedy or nutty comedy.

"I said for it to be a romantic comedy, Mark Darcy had to be more like Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice and not the urban family comedy that Helen Fielding was thinking of," he said.

Then, he went on, the final producer of Bridget Jones - Richard Curtis - came along and "sprinkled his stardust" over the whole thing.

Davies, who has recently agreed to adapt EM Forster's Room With A View for ITV, said he had no plans to give up writing and the next project he was looking at was adapting John Cleland's Fanny Hill.

"I usually visualise what I read and see faces very clearly. It's often a shock when I see who they've cast in certain roles, and I say 'no that's not Mrs Bennett' but then I get used to them."


SEE ALSO:
Davies to adapt Room with a View
26 May 06 |  Entertainment
Three more Baftas for Bleak House
22 May 06 |  Entertainment


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