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Hatfield Court


Nr Leominster



Phone: 01568 760333

21st April 1997

Dear Ben

‘Hippy Children’ and ‘Minky, Pinky, Peach’

In February you wrote agreeing to my suggestion for a meeting about ‘Hippy Children’ (now called ‘Fierce Dancing’) of which you’d had the story line since last August but had momentarily waylaid. I am wondering if that could now take place?

Fierce Dancing’, like ‘Peach’, has a strongly feminist theme, even though its primary subject is ‘the land is ours’.

In the hope that our meeting can now be soon, I’ll telephone.

Thanks also for getting back to us about ‘Minky, Pinky, Peach’. I was, however, astonished and eager to fight my corner on hearing from Philippa that you labelled it ‘politically incorrect’.

Certainly Tony Garnett (see enclosed letter) didn’t allow such feelings to stand in the way of his enthusiasm and it has won many other fans.

Peach’ is, I believe, a relentlessly feminist artefact. It savagely portrays an unacceptable face of men’s lust. It pulls no punches, but is also, I think, very funny. Some might argue that it is too slanted against men. There’s not a single decent one in the story, and on that count it may be sexist.

I hear that you claim that Peach is too much a victim. In the original outline which ends in her death, she certainly was, and I was at that time agreeably surprised that you did not let this stand in the way of your enthusiasm.

The great news for me about the new screenplay version is that Peach now triumphs over the forces of evil that are stacked against her. She’s no longer destroyed by them, despite her youth and innocence, or perhaps because of her youth and innocence. Is not that triumph beautifully understated in her final wink? Though, with hindsight, I realise we could have pointed it up more.

Evaluation of aesthetics must contain a dash of personal judgement, de gustibus non est disputandum. None can quarrel if you say the story doesn’t work for you. Evaluation of where the politically correct goalposts lie, however, can and must be more objective. I wonder whether your verdict is not different to what will be that of most of those seriously in the arena of sexual politics?

I appreciate that you had some months to mull it over and so it is a considered verdict rather than one arrived at lightly. I do wonder, though, whether you passed over the significance of what happens in Amsterdam? (The various 99 scenes?) And, of course, the new happy ending.

Maybe we can discuss these things (briefly) when we meet about ‘Fierce Dancing’?

Best wishes

Jeremy Sandford

P.S. I’m delighted to see that Tony Garnett did not let reservations about the political correctness of ‘Peach’ stand in the way of his enthusiasm and I have found that, like Tony, everyone to whom I have shown it so far has been enthusiastic about it - please see the enclosed letter.


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