During this year I will be looking at the responsibilities that screenwriters have towards younger audiences, but I also feel it is important to stress the importance of adult based material and the effects and influences it can have on its audience. I will start by looking at the recent works of Jimmy McGovern and his TV screenplay Common.
After watching the 90 minute drama, Common, tonight, I was struck by the amount of topics covered. It had a clear objective, of notifying its audience about the current law named joint enterprise, which is being used in prosecution cases resulting in what would seem the wrongful imprisonment of people who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, simply by the process of association. I must admit this was relatively new information to myself as I hadn't previously encountered it. As a viewer however I was offered more than just a slice of knowledge about current UK law, I was given depth of character from all angles. We were given two examples of difficult paternal relationships, the immediate grief of two mothers losing their sons in very different ways. There was always a sense of impending lawlessness on the part of the Gillespie family that was never actually required on screen in order to provoke fear, as is the way in certain areas of the country where family crime is prevalent.
Painting with the same brush is often a problem we have as a nation regards our opinions. Whether these opinions are on people, religion, politics or beliefs, most of us are guilty to doing it or often witness it. This topic looked at guilt by association as being a cut and dry procedure. Our characters who aren't even being judged are scrutinized by their lack of fidelity or poor credit history etc. So is this an assumption of working class Britain? I would have to say I believe so, and with that, it seems as though the joint enterprise law is being used as a means to attach the lower ends of society to their peers crimes on mass.
Topics worth noting in this screenplay are:
These are things we all experience or are subjected to, all classes and people and creeds. Giving a mass audience the tools and knowledge to look into and discuss a pressing issue (such as questionable laws) gives rise to the opportunity of unity and shared understanding between all people. When this is a result of screenwriters and their stories I feel a sense of pride towards those responsible.