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28 October 2014

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My Life In Film

Art, Beth and Jones

Art is a genius. It's just the world hasn't cottoned on yet. Until then, he spends his time making low budget films, working in a cinema and allowing his obsession with all things celluloid to seep into every day life.

That was the premise behind this short-lived 2004 sitcom, starring Kris Marshall, which originally aired on BBC Three.

Created by first time TV writer Mark Chappell, he got the initial inspiration when Channel 4 rejected a script he'd submitted, criticising it for being "disjointed".

Butch and Sundance

Disgruntled his own talents hadn't been recognised, Chappell remembers, "I came up with the idea for a new character - a writer unable to convince the world of his genius. You know, the kind of serial self-deluder who can listen to hours of stinging criticism and remember it seconds later as praise."

Drawing heavily from his own life (Chappell also worked in a cinema) My Life in Film followed Art's day-to-day struggles as he, plus flatmate and fellow 'visionary' Jones, do their best to achieve recognition.

Complicating things is Beth, Jones' girlfriend who Art loathes for complicating their friendship.

Rear Window

So far, so ordinary, however the show had one neat story-telling device - each episode was based around a classic feature film, allowing domestic disharmony to roll into riffs on Rear Window, The Shining, Shallow Grave... or Top Gun.

Hence, when Art attends a driving academy, he finds himself taking on the role of Tom Cruise, while his instructor becomes an ersatz Kelly McGillis.

My Life in Film was certainly imaginative, but crucially, not quite funny enough. After six episodes, the series was cancelled. Art's genius seems destined to remain undiscovered.

Cast

Kris Marshall
Art
Andrew Scott
Jones
Alice Lowe
Beth

Crew

Mark Chappell
writer

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