Sunday, October 12, 2008

Stephen Fry in America

How lucky the British public are in having Stephen Fry as their brethern. He's a renaissance man of the modern world, a ranconteur, writer, actor, comedian, director, documentarian, activist, humanist, newspaper columnist, novelist, blogger, Macintosh geek, techie freak, manic-depressive bundle of plummy British teddy bear joy. In his new documentary "Stephen Fry In America", which airs tonight on BBC1 in the UK, the forever curious Fry unfolds the wares of his travels across the United States within the past year or so, when he brought a camera crew, his laptop and his open minded British perspective on a country that claimed its independence from his own nation a few hundred years before.

My admiration for Mr. Fry began in the late 80's, when he and comedy partner Hugh Laurie ("House") brought their freshly baked Cambridge Footlights satire to the UK airwaves, appearing in various sketch comedies, culminating in their own BBC show "A Bit of Fry and Laurie", which evenutally appeared on these shores via PBS and Bravo in the early 1990's. Their encarnation of Woodhouse's "Jeeves and Wooster" aired on Masterpiece Theatre, and further solidified their resume of fine work both here and abroad.

In the tradition of the Great British BBC documentary, Mr. Fry, quite the man of words, provided a companion book of the same name to go with the broadcast. No one can explain the thrust of this project better than Stephen. Here's an excerpt:

"For years then, I have harboured deep within me the desire to make a series of documentary films about ‘the real’ America. Not the usual road movies in a Mustang and certainly not the kind of films where minority maniacs are trapped into making exhibitions of themselves. It is easy enough to find Americans to sneer at if you look hard enough, just as it is easy to find ludicrous and lunatic Britons to sneer at. Without the intention of fawning and flattering then, I did want to make an honest film about America, an unashamed love letter to its physical beauty and a film that allowed Americans to reveal themselves in all their variety."

Stephen Fry in America on BBC 1 on Sunday October 12th @ 9.00pm (And hopefully on American channels soon).

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