Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Troy Kennedy Martin

Troy Kennedy Martin

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Troy Kennedy Martin'
Start a new discussion about 'Troy Kennedy Martin'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Troy Kennedy Martin was a Scottish
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

-born film and television screenwriter best known for creating the long running BBC TV police series Z-Cars
Z-Cars
Z-Cars is a British television drama series centred on the work of mobile uniformed police in the fictional town of Newtown, based on Kirkby in the outskirts of Liverpool in Merseyside. Produced by the BBC, it debuted in January 1962 and ran until September 1978.-Origins:The series was developed by...

, and for the award-winning 1985 anti-nuclear drama Edge of Darkness
Edge of Darkness
Edge of Darkness is a British television drama serial, produced by BBC Television in association with Lionheart Television International and originally broadcast in six fifty-five minute episodes in late 1985...

. Kennedy Martin's best-known work for the cinema was the screenplay for the original version of The Italian Job
The Italian Job
The Italian Job is a 1969 British caper film, written by Troy Kennedy Martin, produced by Michael Deeley and directed by Peter Collinson. Subsequent television showings and releases on video have established it as an institution in the United Kingdom....

.

Early life


Martin was born in Glasgow
Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

 and educated at Finchley Catholic Grammar School
Finchley Catholic High School
Finchley Catholic High School for Boys is in North Finchley, part of the London Borough of Barnet.-Admissions:Finchley Catholic High School is, as its name declares, a faith school; it is also - up to the end of Year 11 - exclusively for boys...

 and Trinity College, Dublin
Trinity College, Dublin
Trinity College, Dublin , formally known as the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth near Dublin, was founded in 1592 by letters patent from Queen Elizabeth I as the "mother of a university", Extracts from Letters Patent of Elizabeth I, 1592: "...we...found and...

.

1960s


He began writing for BBC Television
BBC Television
BBC Television is a service of the British Broadcasting Corporation. The corporation, which has operated in the United Kingdom under the terms of a Royal Charter since 1927, has produced television programmes from its own studios since 1932, although the start of its regular service of television...

 in 1958, beginning with the play Incident at Echo Six, and he wrote four further plays for the Corporation over the following three years, before in 1961 creating his first series, Storyboard, a six-part anthology series which consisted both of original Kennedy Martin scripts and adaptations. The same year, he wrote the police drama The Interrogator.

It was the genre of crime and policing, which gave rise to his next and probably most famous television work, the drama series Z-Cars
Z-Cars
Z-Cars is a British television drama series centred on the work of mobile uniformed police in the fictional town of Newtown, based on Kirkby in the outskirts of Liverpool in Merseyside. Produced by the BBC, it debuted in January 1962 and ran until September 1978.-Origins:The series was developed by...

, which he co-created in 1962. Set in "Newtown", based on the town of Kirkby
Kirkby
Kirkby is a town in the Metropolitan Borough of Knowsley in the metropolitan county of Merseyside in England. The town was developed from the 1950s through 1970s as a means to house the overspill of Liverpool. It is situated roughly north of Huyton, the administrative HQ of the borough and about...

 near Liverpool, Z-Cars
Z-Cars
Z-Cars is a British television drama series centred on the work of mobile uniformed police in the fictional town of Newtown, based on Kirkby in the outskirts of Liverpool in Merseyside. Produced by the BBC, it debuted in January 1962 and ran until September 1978.-Origins:The series was developed by...

was revolutionary in that it depicted a hard-edged, grittier and much more realistic vision of the police force than had ever been seen on British television before - as a result, it was initially very unpopular with the real police. Although Kennedy Martin left the programme after the two series, the series ran until 1978. Kennedy Martin returned to write the final episode.

1970s


Over the following decade he contributed to various television programmes, and also made his first foray into the world of feature films when he wrote The Italian Job
The Italian Job
The Italian Job is a 1969 British caper film, written by Troy Kennedy Martin, produced by Michael Deeley and directed by Peter Collinson. Subsequent television showings and releases on video have established it as an institution in the United Kingdom....

, which was released in 1969 and starred Noël Coward
Noël Coward
Sir Noël Peirce Coward was an English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer, known for his wit, flamboyance, and what Time magazine called "a sense of personal style, a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise".Born in Teddington, a suburb of London, Coward attended a dance academy...

 and Michael Caine
Michael Caine
Sir Michael Caine, CBE is an English actor. He won Academy Awards for best supporting actor in both Hannah and Her Sisters and The Cider House Rules ....

. The following year he wrote another film, Kelly's Heroes
Kelly's Heroes
Kelly's Heroes is an offbeat 1970 comedy/war film about a group of World War II soldiers who go AWOL to rob a bank behind enemy lines. Directed by Brian G...

, and he scripted two more films during the 1970s - The Jerusalem File (1971) and Sweeney 2 (1978).

Sweeney 2 was the second cinematic spin-off from the television series The Sweeney
The Sweeney
The Sweeney is a 1970s British television police drama focusing on two members of the Flying Squad, a branch of the Metropolitan Police specialising in tackling armed robbery and violent crime in London...

, which had been created by Kennedy Martin's brother Ian Kennedy Martin
Ian Kennedy Martin
Ian Kennedy Martin is a British television scriptwriter. He is best known for his creation of the popular 1970s police drama series The Sweeney, produced by Euston Films for Thames Television, which ran on the ITV network from 1975 to 1978. It also spawned two feature film spin-offs...

, and for which he had written several episodes. This was a return to his police drama roots, albeit in a more action/adventure vein rather than the attempted social realism of early Z-Cars.

He is perhaps less well-known for writing a little-seen television sitcom based in the British Civil Service, If It Moves, File It (1970), featuring amongst others John Bird
John Bird (actor)
John Bird is an English satirist, actor and comedian.-Early life:Born in Bulwell, Nottingham, England, and educated at High Pavement Grammar School, Nottingham, Bird briefly joined the Socialist Party of Great Britain, while still at school...

, who now stars alongside in the satirical Bremner, Bird and Fortune
Bremner, Bird and Fortune
Bremner, Bird and Fortune is an award-winning satirical British television programme produced by Vera Productions for Channel Four, uniting the longstanding satirical team of John Bird and John Fortune with the satirical impressionist Rory Bremner.The show started in 1999. The fourteenth series...

.

1980s


In the early 1980s Troy Kennedy Martin was no less successful, with two highly popular series on different networks in the same year, 1983. One, The Old Men at the Zoo
The Old Men at the Zoo
The Old Men at the Zoo is a novel written by Angus Wilson, first published in 1961 by Secker and Warburg, and by Penguin books in 1964. It was adapted into a 1983 BBC Television serial by scriptwriter Troy Kennedy Martin.-Cast:...

, was an adaptation of the novel by Angus Wilson
Angus Wilson
Sir Angus Frank Johnstone Wilson, CBE was an English novelist and short story writer. He was awarded the 1958 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for The Middle Age of Mrs Eliot and later received a knighthood for his services to literature.-Biography:Wilson was born in Bexhill, Sussex, England, to...

 and screened on BBC One
BBC One
BBC One is the flagship television channel of the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom. It was launched on 2 November 1936 as the BBC Television Service, and was the world's first regular television service with a high level of image resolution...

. The second was the hugely popular Reilly, Ace of Spies
Reilly, Ace of Spies
Reilly, Ace of Spies is a 1983 television miniseries dramatizing the life of Sidney Reilly, a Russian Jew who became one of the greatest spies to ever work for the British. Among his exploits in the early 20th century were the infiltration of the German General Staff in 1917 and a near-overthrow of...

on ITV
ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

, based on the book by Robin Bruce Lockhart
Robin Bruce Lockhart
Robin Bruce Lockhart was a British author.The son of the British spy R. H. Bruce Lockhart, he wrote the 1967 book Ace of Spies about the super-spy Sidney Reilly, which was made into a 1983 television miniseries Reilly: Ace of Spies, starring Sam Neill...

 and starring Sam Neill
Sam Neill
Nigel John Dermot "Sam" Neill, DCNZM, OBE is a New Zealand actor. He is well known for his starring role as paleontologist Dr Alan Grant in Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III....

.

Greatly influenced by the political landscape of the early 1980s, Kennedy Martin had drafted a script for a political thriller
Political thriller
A political thriller is a thriller that is set against the backdrop of a political power struggle. They usually involve various extra-legal plots, designed to give political power to someone, while his opponents try to stop him. They can involve national or international political scenarios....

-cum-science fiction
Science fiction on television
Science fiction first appeared on a television program during the Golden Age of Science Fiction. Special effects and other production techniques allow creators to present a living visual image of an imaginary world not limited by the constraints of reality; this makes television an excellent medium...

 drama serial
Serial (radio and television)
Serials are series of television programs and radio programs that rely on a continuing plot that unfolds in a sequential episode by episode fashion. Serials typically follow main story arcs that span entire television seasons or even the full run of the series, which distinguishes them from...

 entitled Magnox. This would become Edge of Darkness
Edge of Darkness
Edge of Darkness is a British television drama serial, produced by BBC Television in association with Lionheart Television International and originally broadcast in six fifty-five minute episodes in late 1985...

. Kennedy Martin was interviewed about the genesis of the series for Magnox: The Secrets Of Edge Of Darkness documentary, an extra on the show's 2003 DVD release:
"We had the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

. The Falklands. The Nuclear State. The prospect of a miners' strike. Greenham Common. It was Thatcher's Britain. At the BBC, there was no political dimension in their popular drama whatsoever. And I was really depressed about it, as indeed were other writers that I knew. And so, I said to my closest colleagues: 'The only thing one can do is actually write stuff that one knows is not going to get made, but at least we'll get it out of our system.' And that's how I started to write Edge Of Darkness. I didn't really think that it stood much of a chance of being produced."


The concept attracted little interest from television executives until incoming BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 Head of Drama Series & Serials Jonathan Powell picked it up in 1983, assigning experienced producer Michael Wearing
Michael Wearing
Michael Wearing is a British television producer, who has spent much of his career working on various drama productions for the BBC. He is best known as the producer of the highly-acclaimed serials Boys from the Blackstuff and Edge of Darkness , which created for him a reputation as one of...

 to the project. Edge of Darkness
Edge of Darkness
Edge of Darkness is a British television drama serial, produced by BBC Television in association with Lionheart Television International and originally broadcast in six fifty-five minute episodes in late 1985...

, was eventually screened on BBC Two
BBC Two
BBC Two is the second television channel operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom. It covers a wide range of subject matter, but tending towards more 'highbrow' programmes than the more mainstream and popular BBC One. Like the BBC's other domestic TV and radio...

 in late 1985. Although Kennedy Martin experienced many creative differences with director Martin Campbell
Martin Campbell
-Life and career:Campbell was born in Hastings, New Zealand. He directed two James Bond films, 1995's GoldenEye, starring Pierce Brosnan, and 2006's Casino Royale, starring Daniel Craig, and was the first Bond director since John Glen to direct more than one film, as well as the oldest director in...

 and star Bob Peck
Bob Peck
Bob Peck was an English stage, television and film actor.-Early life:He went to Leeds Modern School in Lawnswood...

 (who is reported to have vetoed the scripted ending with the remark "I'm not turning into a fucking tree!"), the drama was a resounding success, picking up several awards and being remembered as one of the best British television drama productions of the 1980s. Following Edge of Darkness, he wrote another feature film screenplay, Red Heat
Red Heat
Red Heat is a 1988 buddy cop film directed by Walter Hill. The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, as Moscow narc Ivan Danko, and James Belushi, as Chicago detective Art Ridžić...

(1988, co-written with director Walter Hill), which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger is an Austrian-American former professional bodybuilder, actor, businessman, investor, and politician. Schwarzenegger served as the 38th Governor of California from 2003 until 2011....

 and James Belushi
James Belushi
James Adam "Jim" Belushi is an American actor, comedian, and musician. He is the younger brother of comic actor John Belushi.-Early life:Belushi was born in Chicago...

.

1990s


Kennedy Martin did not return to television scriptwriting until the one-off BBC Two
BBC Two
BBC Two is the second television channel operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom. It covers a wide range of subject matter, but tending towards more 'highbrow' programmes than the more mainstream and popular BBC One. Like the BBC's other domestic TV and radio...

 drama Hostile Waters in 1997. Other later work included the adaptation of Bravo Two Zero
Bravo Two Zero
Bravo Two Zero was the call sign of an eight-man British Army SAS patrol, deployed into Iraq during the First Gulf War in January 1991. According to one patrol member's account, the patrol were given the task of "gathering intelligence;.....

for BBC One
BBC One
BBC One is the flagship television channel of the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom. It was launched on 2 November 1936 as the BBC Television Service, and was the world's first regular television service with a high level of image resolution...

 in 1999, co-written with the book's author Andy McNab
Andy McNab
Sergeant ‘Andy McNab’ DCM MM is the pseudonym of an English novelist and former SAS operative and soldier.McNab came into public prominence in 1993, when he published his account of the failed Special Air Service patrol, Bravo Two Zero for which he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal in...

 and starring Sean Bean
Sean Bean
Shaun Mark "Sean" Bean is an English film and stage actor. Bean is best known for playing Boromir in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and, previously, British Colonel Richard Sharpe in the ITV television series Sharpe...

.

Death


Martin died of liver cancer
Liver cancer
Liver tumors or hepatic tumors are tumors or growths on or in the liver . Several distinct types of tumors can develop in the liver because the liver is made up of various cell types. These growths can be benign or malignant...

 on 15 September 2009, aged 77, at Ditchling
Ditchling
Ditchling is a village and civil parish in the Lewes District of East Sussex, England. The village is contained within the boundaries of the South Downs National Park; the order confirming the establishment of the park was signed in Ditchling....

, East Sussex
East Sussex
East Sussex is a county in South East England. It is bordered by the counties of Kent, Surrey and West Sussex, and to the south by the English Channel.-History:...

.

Film

  • The Italian Job
    The Italian Job
    The Italian Job is a 1969 British caper film, written by Troy Kennedy Martin, produced by Michael Deeley and directed by Peter Collinson. Subsequent television showings and releases on video have established it as an institution in the United Kingdom....

    (1969)
  • Kelly's Heroes
    Kelly's Heroes
    Kelly's Heroes is an offbeat 1970 comedy/war film about a group of World War II soldiers who go AWOL to rob a bank behind enemy lines. Directed by Brian G...

    (1970)
  • The Jerusalem File (1972)
  • Sweeney II (1978)
  • Red Heat
    Red Heat
    Red Heat is a 1988 buddy cop film directed by Walter Hill. The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, as Moscow narc Ivan Danko, and James Belushi, as Chicago detective Art Ridžić...

    (1988)
  • Red Dust
    Red Dust (2004 film)
    Red Dust is a 2004 British drama film starring Hilary Swank and Chiwetel Ejiofor. It was directed by Tom Hooper. The story, written by Troy Kennedy-Martin, is based on the novel Red Dust by Gillian Slovo...

    (2004)

Television

  • Storyboard
    Storyboard
    Storyboards are graphic organizers in the form of illustrations or images displayed in sequence for the purpose of pre-visualizing a motion picture, animation, motion graphic or interactive media sequence....

    (1961)
  • Z-Cars
    Z-Cars
    Z-Cars is a British television drama series centred on the work of mobile uniformed police in the fictional town of Newtown, based on Kirkby in the outskirts of Liverpool in Merseyside. Produced by the BBC, it debuted in January 1962 and ran until September 1978.-Origins:The series was developed by...

    (1962–78)
  • Redcap
    Redcap
    A Red Cap or Redcap, also known as a powrie or dunter, is a type of malevolent murderous dwarf, goblin, elf or fairy found in Border Folklore. They are said to inhabit ruined castles found along the border between England and Scotland...

    (1965–66)
  • The Sweeney
    The Sweeney
    The Sweeney is a 1970s British television police drama focusing on two members of the Flying Squad, a branch of the Metropolitan Police specialising in tackling armed robbery and violent crime in London...

    (1975–78)
  • Reilly: Ace of Spies (1983)
  • Edge of Darkness
    Edge of Darkness
    Edge of Darkness is a British television drama serial, produced by BBC Television in association with Lionheart Television International and originally broadcast in six fifty-five minute episodes in late 1985...

    (1985)
  • Bravo Two Zero
    Bravo Two Zero (film)
    Bravo Two Zero is a 1999 two hour television miniseries , based on the book of the same name by Andy McNab. The film covers real life events - from the perspective of Andy McNab, patrol commander of Bravo Two Zero, a British SAS patrol , tasked to find Iraqi Scud missile launchers during the Gulf...

    (1999)

External links

  • A BAFTA Tribute to Troy Kennedy Martin, 27 April 2010
  • Obituary, The Times
    The Times
    The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

    , 16 September 2009
  • Obituary, Daily Telegraph, 16 September 2009
  • Obituary, The Guardian
    The Guardian
    The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

    , 16 September 2009
  • Obituary, The Independent
    The Independent
    The Independent is a British national morning newspaper published in London by Independent Print Limited, owned by Alexander Lebedev since 2010. It is nicknamed the Indy, while the Sunday edition, The Independent on Sunday, is the Sindy. Launched in 1986, it is one of the youngest UK national daily...

    , 17 September 2009