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The Song Of Lunch: Making a poem into a drama

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Greg Wise Greg Wise | 10:15 UK time, Thursday, 7 October 2010

One of my oldest friends, Martin Goodman, now the professor of creative writing at Hull University, thrust a little book into my hands about six months ago saying he thought the poem contained within, The Song of Lunch, would make a great film.

Martin had just taken over the professorship from Christopher Reid, the author of the poem.

The Song of Lunch in itself, is quite a brief story: man leaves his office, walks through town to a restaurant and has lunch with an old flame. However, as with all things great, it is also a huge story.

It is mythical - it is a Greek tragedy - it is Orpheus and Eurydice - it is a man trying to bring back to life his dead wife.

And is that possible? You will have to watch to find out...

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Before I had even finished reading it, I could see that this piece of narrative poetry would, indeed, be able to be transformed into a film: and most excitingly, nothing would need to be added - it was all there - the location described, the action relayed, the interior narrative and the dialogue was all present in the original writing.

I met up with the marvellous Christopher Reid at a local pub for a slightly boozy lunch and he kindly allowed me to put my case to the BBC.

I know Auntie gets a kicking a lot of the time, but all I can say is God bless public service broadcasting. I know no other broadcaster would have the vision, the bravery and the commitment to undertake a piece of work such as this, and for that the BBC should be praised.

Allegedly, nobody had ever witnessed a quicker commission - partly as I thought the piece should be broadcast on National Poetry Day (which was fast-approaching) and partly because our two stars, Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson had a tiny window of availability (also fast-approaching).

Within a couple of weeks of my 'pitch' I was working with an executive, Sarah Brown, and a producer, Pier Wilkie - carefully going through the poem, putting it into script form, and finally working with our wonderful director, Niall MacCormick.

We were all in utterly uncharted territory, for, as far as we were aware, a poem had never been made into a film before: how were we to transpose verse into film - what were the rules, what was the grammar, how do we move from the interior monologue to dialogue?

Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson in The Song Of Lunch

Working closely with Christopher Reid, who, thankfully, sanctioned various cuts in the piece, a shooting script was put together and we embarked on 10 very hard days of filming. The filming coincided with the 30 degrees plus heatwave we had in London over the summer, and sitting in a heavily-lit restaurant, poor Emma got heat exhaustion on the first day of the shoot.

Air-conditioning units were wheeled in for the remaining days, gallons of water drunk, but it was still like an oven on set.

My job, as far as I saw it, was to try and launch the piece - persuade the BBC to make it, ask my old chum, Alan Rickman, if he'd like to do it, thankfully also have my wife, Emma, fall in love with the piece, work on the script up until the shoot - and then just to let all the wonderful people get on with it - for I thought there is nothing worse than having an executive producer (for that was my title) get in the way of the filming process.  

The result is thrilling: a film full of hope, despair, regret, drunkenness, verbal dexterity, but above all, humour. The humour of life, of the absurd.

From the outset, I was adamant that this piece had to stand up in its own right, shouldn't be seen as a rarefied intellectual exercise, that we, as the audience, should forget that this is a poem, until a rhyming couplet suddenly jumps out at us - above all, we should be taken on a wonderful journey, surrounded by words: words seamlessly moving from voice-over narration into dialogue, back into narration.

We should wallow in a sea of words: hear them, taste them, smell them.

I am so proud of everyone connected with this film and I hope the joy I feel is shared by all who watch it.

Greg Wise is the executive producer of The Song Of Lunch.

The Song Of Lunch is on at 9pm on Friday, 8 October on BBC Two and BBC HD.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Its great idea. I read only short parts of it and i liked it.
    I want to watch it, but i can not.
    This video does not available in my area -_-"

  • Comment number 2.

    This was dreary twaddle!

  • Comment number 3.

    I felt very moved by Song of Lunch. The acting of Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson was sublime. I think this is TOP CLASS TV, thank you for making it. It gave me a lot to feel and think about as visual poetry is THE WAY TO GO!!!

  • Comment number 4.

    Brilliant, masterful. Thank you.

  • Comment number 5.

    Brilliant, one of the best things I have seen on TV in ages. Well done BBC; this is why you exist.

  • Comment number 6.

    I absolutely loved it! Apart from indulging my need for a drool fest over Mr Rickman, I felt the film totally reflected & complemented the language. If only there was more stuff like this, I would feel my license fee was worth it! Thank you BBC!

  • Comment number 7.

    Just watched this on BBC2, absolutely captivating, such wordplay, I even registered for an id here just to comment. It's inspired me to read more. Alan and Emma, brilliant performances...

    Sequel!!!

  • Comment number 8.

    I absolutely loved this! I've never seen anything like it - bring on more TV like this - incredibly intelligent & different! The way the actors interpreted the poem was just sublime! Congrats to all those involved :)

  • Comment number 9.

    Brilliant. I can see why you thought it would translate to the screen so well.
    Wonderful poem, great direction and acting.
    Bravo!

  • Comment number 10.

    Males me proud to pay the license fee. More of this sort of thing please.

  • Comment number 11.

    Absolutely marvellous. Mesmering even. Congratulations on getting it made. There was a real Shakespearean flavour here - poetry describing life in a way that was really unique on television. Genuinely, powerfully new. And the acting was absolutely tremendous. BAFTAs all round I'm predicting...

  • Comment number 12.

    Charming, witty, and quite tragic! A perfect piece and a brilliant dramatisation! Well done and thank you!

  • Comment number 13.

    I thought this was hauntingly wonderful. I was rivetted and lost in the beauty of the poetry.
    Absolutely stunning acting. More please.
    Wendy

  • Comment number 14.

    I have just seen this, it was beautifully astounding. I could have listened to Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson and seen exsactly as it was portrayed. Just Beautiful x

  • Comment number 15.

    I was completely enthralled from start to finish! What a wonderfull way to tell a story!

  • Comment number 16.

    I was entranced by this wonderful programme. It demonstrated everything that is great about television and especially the BBC. Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson were wonderful but the main plaudits must go to Christopher Reid and his wonderful poetry (his book of the same name is currently out of stock - no wonder!). Thank you for a wonderful 50 minutes of spellbinding drama.

  • Comment number 17.

    Thank you! This was a great piece of new TV.
    (It needs more investment to allow the quality of the visual imagery to match the aural, but still great work)
    I really look forward to seeing more of this kind of work, I really enjoyed it.

  • Comment number 18.

    Well done to all concerned in this wonderful production! At last, a drama that wasn't formulaic, one dimensional pap. Beautifully written, as one would expect. A very brave and successful interpretation. Could we PLEASE have more dramas that break the usual mold as this one did?

  • Comment number 19.

    Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, this is what I expect from the BBC. Loved that Greg was the husband!

  • Comment number 20.

    I enjoyed this enormously. Beautiful television - can we have more like it please?!

  • Comment number 21.

    Utter genius. Emma Thompson brilliant, subtle, and utterly beautiful. Alan Rickman riveting. Superb. The writing - ohh! And the direction. Inspired. Just wonderful

  • Comment number 22.

    I have just paid for my TV licence this year. As someone (possibly a little younger!) than the voices in the poem I sat entranced. Coincidentally had just sat down to eat my own dinner, without anyone this evening and perhaps that resonated. Bleak, grown up, marvellous. Unforgiving.

    As I said before. TV licence paid for, many thanks to all involved for bringing this to our attention. TV's original remit was to make us think and reflect. This did.

    Thompson, Rickman and those who brought you together and made this - thanks.

  • Comment number 23.

    Absolutley fabulous, I watched it almost by accident as I had thought to watch a DVD but I was caught by it, beautiful, bitter sweet. Alan Rickman's voice like velvet and Emma Thompson really bringing the grace of the character to the screen, so beautiful. The camera team and indeed the whole crew must be so proud, and if not then they should be

  • Comment number 24.

    An absolutely stunning piece of poetic drama. Wonderful direction -superb pace. Compelling performances

  • Comment number 25.

    Originally watched this simply for my love of Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson, but I was drawn in from the first word and not released until the end! Funny, tragic and moving. Fantastic stuff BBC, you have out-done yourself. More of this please!

  • Comment number 26.

    Superb! C'mon BBC give us more of what you're great at...

  • Comment number 27.

    Fabulous! What a sheer joy to have something like this to watch.

    Please BBC – more!

  • Comment number 28.

    beautiful- truly beautiful- a contemporary and accessible twist on the expression of personal tragedy . Genuinely thank you- I would love to find out more about the production of this piece.

  • Comment number 29.

    Absolutely loved it.....though thought the Greg Wise book cover was a bit naff..sorry Greg!..acting, naturally with Emma and Alan was exceptional...it just finished too soon!!!!!

  • Comment number 30.

    Wonderful! Rickman's acting was particularly superb. A beautiful poem, excellently dramatised.
    Please give us more of this kind of thing.

  • Comment number 31.

    Thank you, it was superb. Please can you make more films like this. I can remember when the BBC 'did' plays and it was wonderful.

  • Comment number 32.

    I am flabbergosted and flobbergasted. That was, well, just... sublime. Ahh.Honkeriferous. Emma Thompson,perfect stooge; Alan Rickman, way to lose! Quite a good pair of actors, actually. Certainly made it OK to try another 50 years. Off for a wee; Barker, T.

  • Comment number 33.

    Stunning! How refreshing to be entertained with such a simple, funny, sad, but sophisticated piece like this. Please, please can we have more like this.

  • Comment number 34.

    After 47 years on this planet, my wife thought this was one of the most amazing things she had ever watched. Actually, so did I. Thank you all.

  • Comment number 35.

    I was really looking forward to this and I wasn't dissapointed. (I hope it becomes available on DVD). This gives written poetry a new arena in a visual age. I hope to see much more presented like this.

    Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson are, of course, a bonus but nevertheless, I think, it would have worked well regardless of their presence.

    I am doing poetry this semester in my creative writing class, so this was well timed for a newfound level of inspiration in my endeavours.

    Thank you BBC

    RT

  • Comment number 36.

    If only there was more like this on TV. Riveting from beginning to end. What a treat.

    Thank you to all involved.

  • Comment number 37.

    I had resigned myself to a future of reality TV....

    Thankfully "the song of lunch" has proved me wrong...the best for a very long time ,more of this and less of the other please

  • Comment number 38.

    That was car crash TV. I sat through it open mouthed, disbelieving that the BBC, a company I admire, would have anything to do with it. Everything about it was indescribably juvenile, hackneyed and just plain embarrassing right down to that yawning hospital pass of an ending. Seriously... is this some kind of deranged joke I'm just not getting?

  • Comment number 39.

    Fantasic piece of work -- very well portrayed!

  • Comment number 40.

    Thank you BBC 2 - I have just experienced 50 minutes of wonderment. I thought this was innovative, impressive and imaginative.....sadly, I identified more with Alan Rickman's character than Emma Thompson's but he ho... such is life.
    Keep them coming!

  • Comment number 41.

    Loved it! They have great chemistry.Would like to see them in a longer drama together. Think the premis an interesting one and more importantly it worked because of the truth so skilfully acted and described. When my husband died and indeed stili I would find myself retreating to a kind of musing about what was and what might now be. I would close my eyes and try and do deals with a devil/a god/my husband whoever had made it happen. I had dreams where i could see him and he couldn't see me. This played it all out beautifully but particularly because of the quality of their connection. Really well put together!

    Hoorah for the BBC!

  • Comment number 42.

    An excellent interpretation of the poetry Great acting by Emma and Alan
    Totally believable There are probably people watching thinking "Ive been there!"
    (What was Jade watching?)

  • Comment number 43.

    BBC at its very best. Wonderful poem brought to life by two wonderful actors. Give us more of Christopher Reid and thank you Greg for bringing it to our screens. Best thing on Tv for a long time.

  • Comment number 44.

    What a pleasure to have real Adult TV - a delightful piece. More like this please,

  • Comment number 45.

    I'd forgotten how good TV can be, thank you.

  • Comment number 46.

    Sublime.

  • Comment number 47.

    A beautiful depiction of love in under an hour, not only is the poem a masterpiece but the programme was enthralling and breathtaking

  • Comment number 48.

    Her eyes dart quickly to the side as she shifts deftly in her seat. Her gaze is averted and he feels a familiar stir, memories of something long forgotten, an old habit glazed over by hazy nostalgia. She glances back up at him. Catching his eye she bites her lip, that guilty gesture he hasn't seen for years.

    Confirmation comes with a rambunctious internal aroma. An olfactory insistence that takes him back years and urges him to push his plate away from himself. That's not the fish.

  • Comment number 49.

    Brilliant!

  • Comment number 50.

    Really enjoyed this; it was great to see something a little different on telly. Alan Rickman was wonderful to watch. Thanks BBC for allowing this to be made.

  • Comment number 51.

    An absolutely fascinating poem - I was spellbound from start to finish. Fine acting from Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman. I wish we could see more of them on our TV sets.

  • Comment number 52.

    Quite simply, bravo. Not being one for poetry but a fan of the actors I had to watch. The actors as expected, fantastic but this evening the poetry is what made it the best fifty minutes of the day.

  • Comment number 53.

    Brilliant! A real feast of words and drama. Is it on iPlayer yet?

  • Comment number 54.

    Truly excellent. Wonderful interpretation. I hope Mr Wise that the BBC monitors viewers' appreciation of this film. It made me want to read Christopher Reid in the original. It was funny, tragic, tense, ineffably sad and offered some universal truths. I learned something from this, and was gripped from beginning to end. Acting was superb -Rickman and Thompson together again. Should win awards. Well done to all involved and the BBC. More please.

  • Comment number 55.

    I've just finished watching. I think it was brilliant, a master piece, both its form and content. Not only the images but also the sound was very sophisticated linked to the story, enhancing its power. The poem is of a breath taking beauty as it slows down time and peels down the emotions and thought of both the man and the woman in slices. The images really give you that feeling of the way human thoughts work, slowing down time. I could completely identify with Alan Rickman, he did such a splendid job, such a professional and intense performance! I had this odd sensation of identifying myself with him as an elderly gentleman, seeking love and happiness, in vain, by looking at the past to much, and at the same time looking at him like Emma Thompson would, pitying him a bit, wanting him to be happy, and (unlike Emma in the film) loving him to bits.
    When he went to the rooftop, I feared for a moment he would throw himself over the edge. But the rather comical ending of him falling asleep was much better and in line with the humoristic tone of the whole poem. The ending with the old man in the restaurant was a genius metaphor of time changing life.

  • Comment number 56.

    I was drawn to this just to watch Alan and Emma's acting and I was hanging on every word from start to finish. Thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. Thankyou for trying something unusual.

  • Comment number 57.

    Jude - I feel so sad that you didnt get it and thought it was twaddle.......I just feel you are denying yourself a little bit of wisdom and a hint of pathos......I'd love you to subscribe to i player and watch again...and comment again......I was just lost in the acting and the history...but there again I'm quite an old bird so may have a different perspective. Take care

  • Comment number 58.

    Many congratulations for producing such a moving and beautiful piece of writing. Superbly acted and directed . A joy from beginning to end.

  • Comment number 59.

    I really, really enjoyed this, though I'm not generally a poetry person (not since my teens, anyway). The poetry was wonderful, the performances were so true. It seemed very real, in a way that poetry often doesn't (to me).

    What a great idea to bring this to our screens.

  • Comment number 60.

    Brilliant. BBC at its best. More, more!

  • Comment number 61.

    Just finished watching the show. It is well written and extremely well acted but ultimately a very depressing story that, though nicely worded and clever, ultimately is an overwrought adoration of patheticness. Alan Rickman is fabulous as the central character who narrates his own thoughts as they occur to him during his lunch with the equally fabulous Emma Thompson. He reads the lines with such emotion and clarity, the problem is the lines and plot itself. Perhaps I should feel pathos for the central character, and perhaps I am just not "artistic" enough to reflexively identify portrayal of negativity as fine literature, but mostly I just thought what a sad waste of acting talent and thus ultimately unredeeming.

  • Comment number 62.

    I had the chance of having a good bottle open whilst savouring the lyrical journey, apt I believe on many fronts. Orpheus or not, how could anyone leave Emma at the table like that? I remain devoted. And Rickman reminded me of an old friend I would like to dust off and bring back to life. Loved the switched interior narrative and dialogue. Feel that's how I construct my own sentences....

  • Comment number 63.

    Superb. Seduced me completely into its world, involved me wholly in the lives of its characters, in the moment and in their memories, provoked a laugh, a wry grin and eventually a tear.
    This is what BBC2 does brilliantly well, worth the entire licence fee.
    Masterly script, direction, acting (Thompson and Rickman at the peak of their immense talents) and music. A perfect jewel - don't you dare erase the recording.
    Tiny carp - BBC2 used to work at this level most of the time, now rarely. More, more, please, please.

  • Comment number 64.

    The Song of Lunch was 110% - absolutely fantastic and most enjoyable; thank you very much!

  • Comment number 65.

    Simply, wonderful.

    How many times have I tried to say those words and failed.

    In the emptiness that is TV at the moment - a gem. If only the BBC could step out from what they think people want and take control and create this kind of magic.

    Sue

  • Comment number 66.

    Absolutely enthrawling. I have longed for some intelligent drama on the TV and expected it with the BBC. I have in recent years been pining the days of the Open University gang in their kipper ties for some intellectual content on our screens. This was a very good drama, short and sweet.

    This is not beyond the intellect of the average Joe Bloggs but it helps our brains to work, to think and to connect. Poetry is a masterpiece all of its own. And I thank you for the poetry week on BBC R2 with Jeremy Vine. One caller on his show commented that she could not stand, as a child, to read a novel but loved poetry. I loved all things literary as a child and still do but poetry is very powerful. We do not need everything spelled out for us, our minds will do the rest. Please give us more of the above and help raise the intellect and inquisitiveness/interest of our young minds.

    I cannot stand to watch X Factor, Strictly Come Dancing or Polititions Come Dancing/Newsnight etc, I may aswell just go to sleep all the good it does me and all the enjoyment and stimulation it provides me. Please again make the BBC the forerunner in all things educational and intellectual as it was originally perceived with dramas like this. Well done.

    And no, I'm not Barbara Cartland or anyone in their 40s but a woman who feels her brain is being short-changed by the utter drivel on TV.


    Well done Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson, great performances as always and well done to the person who commissioned this on a Friday night. Bravo!!!

  • Comment number 67.

    I was moved to tears - thank you so much Greg for bringing something so wonderful to our tv screens - and on a friday night too! It has certainly revived my love of poetry, even if it did make me drink too much wine. Could have watched another hour of those two. Very Virgina Wolf, stream of consciousness, which I adore! x

  • Comment number 68.

    These two actors are sublime. They could not have been better cast. However, I felt I was watching a novel. My imagination left with nothing to do except try to figure out why everything I saw was so desaturated. All I wanted to do was shut my eyes and listen. So, I did. The whole experience was much improved! Both Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman have incredibly rich and expressive voices which they control and play with at will. Nothing is added by seeing them both washed out at a table with a random waiter hovering in the background and the occasional grainy still of Emma Thompson's pale-blue eyes captured in the bottom of a wine glass for, well, ever. Strange execution. Would make a nice radio drama though or ipod soundtrack.

  • Comment number 69.

    At 73 yars of age , I am permitted to talk of a golden age of television not known to younger viewers. This evening The Song of Lunch awoke memories of past great productions which I had given up all hope of reliving. A perfect script, inspired acting and above all a vision of television as the best medium for conveying an inner dialogue.

    Please repeat it once a year to remind us all what television is capable of achieving.

  • Comment number 70.

    The beast thing I have seen on television in ages,unfortunately Mr Rickmans character was rather like my old English teacher,hence my spelling is atrocious,more please,thank you spell checker.

  • Comment number 71.

    Wonderful to see good writing as well as good production. Best piece of new drama, perfectly realised for the medium, utterly engaging, entertaining, inspiring. Thank goodness for some originality and true class.

  • Comment number 72.

    BRILLIANT PURE CLASS TWO OF OUR GREATEST ACTORS WITH SUPERB MATERIAL LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT KEEP IT UP BBC WE WANT MORE

  • Comment number 73.

    That was wonderful! Beautifully interpreted by all concerned. (I haven't read the poem yet, but will be amending that gap in my reading immediately.) Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson up to usual high standard.

  • Comment number 74.

    Congratulations to everyone involved in this wonderful performance. I was utterly spell bound watching it and like a good lunch left wanting more! I could feel myself getting intoxicated with Rick as he day dreamed his way through lunch through the bottom of his wine glass, never hinting his feelings to the lovely Emma. A fantastic piece which was beautifully brought to life. Thank you BBC.

  • Comment number 75.

    The director would have done well to heed the advice of Robert Bresson in his Notes on Cinematography: 'What is for the eye must not duplicate what is for the ear'. Besides the literal-mindedness of showing what is being told, the devotion to the poem killed any sense of social interaction with its own independent rhythms. Most wrong of all was the use of slo-mo in those frontal shots of Rickman, grimacing, skewered and squirming against background like an insect being tortured.

  • Comment number 76.

    I would have enjoyed it more if watching it wasn't quite so much like peering through a letterbox.

  • Comment number 77.

    This was brilliant. A wonderful portrait of a tormented human being who is dimly aware that he is the cause of his own isolation, but cannot break free.

    Congratulations to all concerned, not least those who had the courage to undertake such an innovative project.

  • Comment number 78.

    What a wonderful piece of television, I enjoyed it immensely. I only watched as I admire Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson's acting skills, so glad I did. A fantastic interpretation of Christopher Reid's poem with superb acting and spell binding narrative from Alan.

  • Comment number 79.

    The most wonderfully moving piece of drama on television I have seen since the 70's. Thank you to all concerned for putting this on the television.

  • Comment number 80.

    I wish to add my complements to Emma, Alan and Greg for bringing this superb programme to the screen. The acting was first class and the script/poem filled with pathos and humour, capturing the pain of love and friendship lost. There was warmth in the production which was skilfully played out by two of our finest actors. Rickman crumbles while the pain behind Emma's eyes was beautifully conveyed. I am a soulless East Ender with not much of an ear for poetry but thoroughly enjoyed this production. Martin did us all a favour by putting this poem in front of you Greg.

  • Comment number 81.

    It's rare but there have been other attempts to televise poetry. I particularly remember a rather over the top version of Shelley's "Prometheus Unbound" and Tony Harrison's work "V", which I thought was about his parents' grave being desecrated but, having searched for it on Google video, it seems it's a more general piece (was I thinking of something else?) which, nevertheless, can be seen in its entirety on the internet.
    Apart from the pleasure of seeing Rickman and Thompson on such good form, this particular piece had a nice synthesis of poetry and drama, such as one more often sees in opera, though that has music in the mix as well.
    As for what seems to me the main theme, the miserable isolation of contemporary, middle aged, unattached man, I am of course irresistibly reminded of my own effort on this theme, the poem "Her Hand While I slept", which begins
    "It must have been a horrible sight
    For such a sweet young woman to see
    A semi conscious middle aged man
    Lurching up from the couch he'd drunkenly dropped on
    To lunge at her with this pathetic plea
    "Hold my hand!"..."
    I'd include the whole poem but that would seem to be against the rules of this blog. The language is less subtle, perhaps, but the predicament described is much the same and, it seems, quite a common one.

  • Comment number 82.

    One word, amazing. This kind of program justifies the cost of the TV license. Thompson looked amazing and Rickman gave a Stella performance.
    Who was the actor who shot Rickman the steely glance, he nearly stole the show! Maybe TV can still be something worth looking forward too again. More of this please BBC.

  • Comment number 83.

    I have never written a blog before but felt moved by the groundbreaking
    television we have just seen.Very enjoyable acting from two remarkable actors you dont need 3d or special effects to tell a good story.I now need to buy the book......

  • Comment number 84.

    This was fantastic. I'm very rarely moved sufficiently to leave feedback on what is served to us, the masses. But this really was good. It was captivating. The performers were captivating and the narrative was too. Beautifully descriptive. Thanks BBC, really enjoyed that and i can only hope you are this courageous in the future. I am really am getting sick of talentless people put on our screens who only want to talk about their talentless lives. More cracking performances of well written and well produced pieces like this please.

  • Comment number 85.

    i thought the film was brilliant, probably one of Alan Rickmans best so far, let's hope he keeps up the good work.

  • Comment number 86.

    As expected Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson excelled in providing totally believable performances of a brilliant piece of writing. I found it so real and relevant. I fear that "Jude" has never really loved and lost from that comment made. I often daydream about what would happen if I met again the one I lost so many years ago, and yes life has taught me that those nice Hollywood endings never happen in real life. I know this is far more likely to be how the dream would end. The awkwardness of the meeting, the same total mess up, the wishing for return of the feelings, the loss for a second time. I was particularly moved by the finger massage and the holding of the hand,I could actually feel that and the rush that it brought.
    I thought that should make me sad, but the vision is so real, the writing so full of truth that it actually makes me smile with a "Aah, that's about right!"
    I am impressed that anyone can in so few lines give so full a picture of a relationship. Damn it, I almost fell in love with Emma's character myself. :) As "Lalalee" say's totally top class TV, more like this please Auntie. It's as good as the first time I really noticed Alan Rickman's talent in Truly Madly deeply.
    Made I smile that did!!

  • Comment number 87.

    And that was meant to be 'politicians' and 'Barbara Whitehouse' not 'Cartland' in my above post, I think I was guzzling as much vino as Rickman and carried away in the moment. Tsk, rolleyes.

  • Comment number 88.

    It reminds us so much about ourselves. Thank you to the whole team

  • Comment number 89.

    Just beautiful. My only criticism is that it ended too soon! Could have listened to those beautiful words and voices for hours. Thank You.

    This was a breath of fresh air on a Friday night.

  • Comment number 90.

    I was not familiar with the original poem, and admit that I was drawn to the programme only by the trailer showing Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson. I am so glad that I watched it - beautifully done and a complete joy. This is what the BBC do best. More please!

  • Comment number 91.

    Amazingly astute piece of television, I stumbled across it by accident whilst channel hopping, and was instantly captured. I'm not one normally given over to poetry and, perhaps through my own failings, didn't find poetry to be the most captivating subject during my school years.
    Poetry back then, for me, was (to plagarise a pun oft used by one of my favourite authors Terry Pratchett) something which happened to other people.
    However, this piece of television captivated me. The words (most importantly), the acting and the filming/production were pure Gold.
    An eternally repeated tale of unrequited (well not quite) love but with a concrete, real life setting and all the akward twists that go with the same, presented with uncomfortable, but increadibly real attention to detail, echoing thoughts and feelings that are most probably identifiable in the minds of every human being, whether they want to admit it or not!
    Superb piece of television, inviting the viewer into the deepest thoughts that go on in the back of all of our minds (I'm sure)and presenting it in an uncomplicated factual manner, with all pretence stripped away.
    The poem itself is obviously the core, and should be credited as such: wordsmithing of the highest order.
    But the BBC production is also of the highest standard, with equal attention to detail, including of course a bit of genius casting.
    I've rabbled on too much, but do think that this is worthy of being shown in school curriculums (perhaps with an edit or two of course) as I think this is a wonderful piece of poetry backed up by an equally clever interpritation. This has changed my narrow view on the power of poetry and is, overall a feather in the BBC's cap.

  • Comment number 92.

    This is the first time i've commented on a BBC blog. I felt I should register my delight at seeing The Song of Lunch. How refreshing to see a television drama concerned as much about the ears as the eyes! Nourishing television is a rarity, please let us have more.

  • Comment number 93.

    I felt every vein in my body – Thank you BBC.

  • Comment number 94.

    Congratulations on a fantastic piece of tv- What a master class in acting and a sublime and refeashing interpretation of poetry – more please, more auntie Beeb

  • Comment number 95.

    this programme made me realise what an awful load of dross I watch and is on offer generally on tv. This is what tv could be like - intelligent, inspiring, thought provoking, something that stimulates discussion. So much of tv is dumbed down, could this be the beginning of the turning of the tide - I hope so!

  • Comment number 96.

    I thought Song of Lunch was wonderful drama - original, challenging and intelligent. Yes a bit luvvie-ish; but fabulous all the same. More please.

  • Comment number 97.

    Am correcting myself again..Mary Whitehouse. Doh!! Will definitely get my coat now and run although I stand my sentiments in my original post.

  • Comment number 98.

    A rare delight. Beautifully carried off, Thompson made the perfect foil for Alan Rickman. I registered for the blog specifically to comment; that's rare as well!

  • Comment number 99.

    Friday evenings are usually so abysmal as far as insightful TV programmes. What a wonderful surprise to find this gem of excellent acting, thoughtful content and that nuance of deja vu for many, no doubt. The time sped past - was it really a whole hour? Thank you for some worthwhile viewing instead of tired repeats, violence and bad language.

  • Comment number 100.

    50 minutes of immersion in a sublime production that both chased butterflies and extrapolated the emotions of frozen moments. In turn sensual and cringing, heart-rending and hateful. Indelible, exquisite memories josselling with the self-destructive beast that drives 'He' through the mists of time, exacerbated by jealousy. I could listen to Alan Rickman's voice for hours and Emma Thompson was gorgeously tolerant as 'She' – attending against her better judgment. Christopher Reid captures regret and misguided expectation in 'He's' character wonderfully, stripping back the layers as he unravels, hitting the pause button on the tremors of recollection as the wine moves from critical sips to gulping satiation. There were some lines to die for..."He closed the door on the sleeping dog of his departure"... if memory serves. Fabulous, thank you so much.

 

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