If you hear the name Alan Bleasdale, you’ll probably think of Boys From The Blackstuff and GBH. But slipped between these two famous names was a real lost gem from 1984 – Scully. Originally a Play For Today, the show became a Channel 4 series a few years later, with Andrew Schofield keeping the title role – despite being well into his 20s (I’m guessing) when he played the 16-year-old Francis Scully.
I’d describe Scully as early Brookside meets Billy Liar. It’s a comedy/drama based around a teen tearaway and obsessive Liverpool fan, who dreams of breaking away from his dysfunctional family (including trainspotter brother Elvis Costello) and his attention-seeking best mate Mooey to play for his heroes. Inevitably, they all conspire to stop him from turning his dreams into reality.
And that’s before the teachers, the probation officer and Isiah the local copper get their hands on him.
The script is sharp, treading a fine line between comedy and gritty
drama (this was Liverpool deep in a recession after all), with the
added novelty value of footballing legends in 80s tight perms, casual
fashions of the day and Kenny Dalglish dressed as a fairy godmother.
And it boasts an impressive cast – with supporting roles from the likes
of Cathy Tyson, Mark McGann and half the cast of long-running sitcom
Bread (but don’t let that put you off).
It’s not Bleasdale’s best work, but it is a very entertaining series
that you’ll appreciate if you enjoyed "Blackstuff". And it’s yet
another reminder of how TV drama ain’t what it used to be. Well
Extras on the DVD:
Alan Bleasdale on the South Bank Show plus a Bleasdale interview from the Weekend show.