Tonight marks the end of a radio era for me when Ian Collins presents his final show on TalkSPORT.
The very title of this website comes from Ian (“a bit of film detail”), whose show I started reviewing films on back in March 1999 when the station was called Talk Radio.
He was generous enough to let me come in every Friday and discuss the latest releases or interesting titles from the past.
His show has gone through several incarnations, not least a station name change, various moves around the schedule and different co-presenters and producers.
Aside from ‘what is your favourite film?’ the question I’m most often asked is ‘why don’t you write for ______ magazine?’.
The main reason – apart from the fact that I never really pursued it – is that I prefer the medium of radio to print.
I owe a great deal to Ian (and various team members down the years, some sadly no longer with us) for letting me come in and talk about films to the nation.
On Monday I was on Ian’s show and we had an hour long chat about the history of the film slot and various aspects of modern cinema, which you can listen to by clicking here (I have no idea why the web copy is completely wrong, but never mind).
But tonight (Thursday 1st September) is his last night, so I thought I’d publish a film-related timeline of the show from 1999-2011, which includes world events, some random things that happened, notable and quirky film stuff, my favourite films to be released between 1999-2011 and significant film trends of the period.
A RADIO TIMELINE
- Review of Arlington Road (1999) begins the ‘FILMdetail’ slot on the Ian Collins show on Talk Radio in London (the offices of ICM and Working Title are just a floor below)
- Tony Blair and Gordon Brown do an interview in the same studio later that day (Blair sat in my seat).
- Stanley Kubrick dies
- The Thin Red Line (1998) opens in the UK
- Star Wars: The Phantom Menace opens in the UK
- Christopher Nolan’s Following (1998) is released at one cinema in London
- Ian and the Creatures of the Night team go to a restaurant in North London, right near where Christopher Nolan grew up and filmed some of Following. Parts of which were also filmed in Central London (near the Talk Radio studios) and Southwark (not far from the TalkSPORT studios).
- Y2K apocalypse doesn’t happen
- Ian talks about Being There (1979) in a pub inDevon
- Talk Radio becomes talkSPORT and moves from Oxford Street to Southwark
- American Beauty (1999) opens in the UK
- TalkSPORT begins transmission on DAB Digital Radio
- Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia (1999) opens in the UK
- Danny Boyle is spotted buying a copy of The Observer in East London
- Early version of FILMdetail.com launches as a bunch of .html files on a web server.
- Mr Khan calls the show again to say he is ‘loaded with money’
- Christopher Nolan’s Memento (2000) premieres to acclaim at the Venice Film Festival
- Wikipedia launches
- A man who ‘sounds like a Shakespeare character’ phones in
- September 11th attacks
- AI: Artificial Intelligence (2001) opens in the UK and features futuristic scenes of the Twin Towers
- Harry Potter film franchise begins with The Philosopher’s Stone (2001)
- Ian predicts that Harry Potter will be a smash but that Lord of the Rings trilogy will flop
- A listener to the show spots George Lucas in a London branch of HMV
- Attack of the Clones (2002) opens in the UK
- ITV screen a celebrity look-a-like awards ceremony
- England beat Argentina 1-0 in the World Cup but later get knocked out by Brazil
- Ian’s show moves to the weekend
- Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man (2002) opens in the UK
- Speed (1994) comes out on DVD
- Christopher Nolan’s Insomnia (2002) opens in the UK and he has an onstage chat at the BFI just around the corner from the studio
- Kate Winslet is seen at Shepperton Studios smoking a cigarette in a Victorian dress
- Danny Boyle spotted in Soho Square
- US & UK forces invade Iraq
- Press screening of the Steve Martin and Quenn Latifah comedy Bringing Down The House (2003)
- Arnold Schwarzenegger is elected Governor of California
- Finding Nemo (2003) opens in the UK and eventually becomes the biggest grossing film of that year
- Ralph Fiennes is spotted in a bar at the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank
- Saddam Hussein captured byU.S.forces in a ‘spider hole’
- Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ (2004) opens to controversy but earns over $600m worldwide
- Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse in Iraq revealed
- Jeff Beck offers members of the show tickets to see his concert at the Royal Albert Hall – but it coincides with the England Portugal game.
- Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) opens in theUK
- Alfred Molina says that Boogie Nights (1997) and Magnolia (2004) are ‘very good’ films
- Saw (2004) opens in the UK and begins the ‘torture porn‘ phenomenon
- Billy Bob Thornton is interviewed in a London hotel whilst wearing sunglasses
- President George W. Bush re-elected
- Johnny Depp rings up the station and explains his love of The Fast Show
- All six Star Wars films are screened back-to-back in London
- Liverpool win the Champions League in Istanbul
- An early version of YouTube launches online
- Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins (2005) opens after filming scenes in London and an air hangar in Bedfordshire
- David Sylvian of Japan is very polite on the phone to Ian
- 7/7 attacks in London
- Hurricane Katrina devastates New Orleans
- Director Tony Scott rings up talkSPORT to talk about his latest film and is mistakenly put through to a phone-in about Arsenal in another studio.
- The 150-minute cut of Terrence Malick’s The New World (2005) screens in London
- Members of the team meet director George A Romero at a hotel in London, where he offers us some vodka and ice.
- England crash out of the World Cup in Germany
- A TalkSPORT employee misses a screening of Superman Returns (2006) because he is “stuck in Henley”
- Director Stephen Frears refuses to believe that anyone is called ‘Ambrose’.
Sometime in Autumn 2006
- A famous Hollywood actor in a hotel wants to know if he will be asked “anything about his personal life” even though we never did that anyway.
- Daniel Craig explains to the show that every potential Bond has to audition by acting out the same scene From Russia With Love (1963)
- The Celebrity Big Brother racism controversy flares up. Shilpa Shetty later speaks to the show and audio of the interview later turns up on a dance record by the percussionist of Faithless.
- The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) films in Waterloo Station.
- The iPhone is unveiled before going on sale later that summer.
- Digital projection in UK cinemas appears to be on the rise.
- The show finally meets Danny Boyle, who explains how Richard Branson ripped off the Trainspotting poster for a Virgin campaign back in the 1990s.
- The Simpsons Movie comes out and creator Matt Groening reveals his favourite celebrity guest on the series.
- Ken Loach explains to us that he listens to talkSPORT on the way to games
- Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto is assassinated
- Charlie Wilson’s War (2007) opens and a character played by Julia Roberts says the line “I did not kill Bhutto”.
- Heath Ledger dies in New York just days after filming scenes from The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus (2009) on Southwark Bridge in London
- There Will Be Blood (2007), Juno (2007) and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007) all open at UK cinemas nationwide on the same day
- Sylvester Stallone explains to us that whilst filming Rambo III (1988) he didn’t realise the Afghan rebels he dedicated the film to would go on to become Al-Qaeda (“who knew?”)
- Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight (2008) opens and becomes one of the highest grossing films of all time and he worked on the IMAX version at a cinema down the road from the TalkSPORT studios.
- We meet a ‘real’ version of Pixar’s WALL-E
- Collapse of Wall Street investment bank Lehman Brothers triggers a global financial crisis and the worst recession for a generation.
- President Bush signs the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, which uses $700 billion of tax payers money to bail out Wall Street banks.
- Economics correspondent later tells us that during this period the UK is 48 hours away from ‘cash machines not working’
- Barack Obama elected as President of the United States.
- He has a relative who lives in Bracknell (where some of Harry Potter was filmed) and once attended a stag night in Wokingham in 1996.
- Friend of the show Danny Wallace talks to us about how his book Yes Man became a film starring Jim Carrey and Bradley Cooper (with the latter playing ‘Ian Collins’ character)
- Barack Obama sworn in as US President whilst Dick Cheney looks on like a bad action movie villain.
- A member of the show witnesses a senior UK television executive display an embarrassing lack of knowledge about US politics in front of a veteran British actor.
- Danny Boyle tells the show about how Slumdog Millionaire (2008) almost went straight to DVD
- John Lasseter explains how Pixar went from computer graphics company to the groundbreaking animation studio that Disney bought for billions.
- Danny Boyle spotted at the Oscars winning Best Director, where he jumps up and down like Tigger whilst accepting the award from Reese Witherspoon.
- Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal talk about The Hurt Locker (2009), a drama about the Iraq War which goes on to win the Oscar for Best Picture
- James Cameron’s Avatar (2009) is released and goes on to become the biggest film of all time as well as triggering a boom in 3D movies.
- The iPad is unveiled by Apple.
- A volcano in Iceland which no-one can pronounce (‘Eyjafjallajökull’) erupts causing air traffic to be grounded.
- Jenny Agutter talks about The Railway Children (1970) and hears how co-star Bernard Cribbins once got angry with a member of the show.
- An actor in Four Lions (2010) explains how director Chris Morris once wanted him to play Noel Edmonds’ golf caddy in a sketch for Brass Eye (1997).
- Spain win the 2010 World Cup
- Christopher Nolan’s Inception (2010) becomes the first summer blockbuster to ever film scenes at Farnborough Airport
- The Arab Spring begins in Tunisia before spreading across the Middle East to countries including Egypt, Libya and Syria.
- Inside Job (2010) wins the Best Documentary Oscar for a film about the financial crisis and director Charles Ferguson calls for arrests, saying it is also a “heist movie in which the banks rob the people”.
- Massive earthquake and tsunami devastates the east of Japan
- A member of the team sees The Adjustment Bureau (2011) in the same building where Talk Radio used to be based
- President Obama announces that Osama Bin Laden has been killed
- Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life (2011) opens in the UK
THE BEST FILMS TO BE RELEASED 1999-2011 (in chronological order)
- Magnolia (Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson, 1999)
- The Insider (Dir. Michael Mann, 1999)
- Three Kings (Dir. David O’Russell, 1999)
- The Thin Red Line (Dir. Terrence Malick, 1999)
- Memento (Dir. Christopher Nolan, 2000)
- In the Mood For Love (Dir. Wong Kar Wai, 2000)
- Mulholland Drive (Dir. David Lynch, 2001)
- Spirited Away (Dir. HayaoMiyazaki, 2001)
- Hero (Dir. Zhang Yimou, 2002)
- Adaptation. (Dir. Spike Jonze, 2002)
- The Fog of War (Errol Morris, 2003)
- The Triplets of Belleville (Dir. Sylvain Chomet, 2003)
- Touching the Void (Dir. Kevin MacDonald, 2003)
- Finding Nemo (Dir. Andrew Stanton, 2003)
- Sideways (Dir. Alexander Payne, 2004)
- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Dir. Michel Gondry, 2004)
- The New World (Dir. Terence Malick, 2005)
- Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (Dir. Shane Black, 2005)
- United 93 (Dir. Paul Greengrass, 2006)
- Pan’s Labyrinth (Dir. Guillermo Del Toro, 2006)
- Children of Men (Dir. Alfonso Cuaron, 2006)
- The Lives of Others (Dir. Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, 2006)
- There Will Be Blood (Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)
- No Country for Old Men (Dir. The Coen Brothers, 2007)
- The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Dir. Julian Schnabel, 2007)
- Zodiac (Dir. David Fincher, 2007)
- Taxi to the Darkside (Dir. Alex Gibney, 2007)
- Michael Clayton (Dir. TonyGilroy, 2007)
- I’m Not There (Dir. Todd Haynes, 2007)
- 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Dir. Christian Mungiu, 2007)
- Hunger (Dir. Steve McQueen, 2008)
- Waltz With Bashir (Dir. Ari Folman, 2008)
- WALL-E (Dir. Andrew Stanton, 2008)
- The Class (Dir. Laurent Cantet, 2008)
- Il Divo (Dir. 2008)
- A Prophet (Dir. Jacques Audiard, 2009)
- The White Ribbon (Dir. Michael Haneke, 2009)
- A Serious Man (Dir. The Coen Brothers, 2009)
- Carlos (Dir. Olivier Assayas, 2010)
- Exit Through The Gift Shop (Dir. Banksy, 2010)
- Inception (Dir. Christopher Nolan, 2010)
- Inside Job (Dir. CharlesFerguson, 2010)
- The Social Network (Dir. David Fincher, 2010)
- Senna (Dir. Asif Kapadia, 2011)
- The Tree of Life (Dir. Terrence Malick, 2011)
- The Interrupters (Dir. Steve James, 2011)
SIGNIFICANT FILM TRENDS (March 1999 – September 2011)
- The Rise of Digital: Movies are increasingly shot on digital cameras and now digital projection is common in both multiplex and arthouse cinemas in the UK
- Pixar: Their astonishing run of animated films from the mid-90s continued with films like the Toy Story sequels, Finding Nemo, WALL-E and Up, which won Oscars and spawned many imitators.
- The Decline of Retail: HMV is pretty much the only physical music and film retailer left standing after a decade in which Amazon and online shopping has eroded their profits.
- HD: The rise in widescreen, high-definition televisions in the latter years of the decade has meant that many people have upgraded their home sets. But sales of Blu-ray have not replaced DVD and streaming (or downloading) content online looks to be the long-term future.
- YouTube: One of the most significant websites of the last decade could have been sued out of existence but its survival – after being bought by Google in 2006 – has changed consumer attitudes to content (TV, film and music) and also become the world’s largest video library.
- Netflix and Downloads: The US DVD rental and movie streaming service has displaced Blockbuster in the US (the UK equivalent is Love Film) and looks set to expand globally in the coming years as downloads replace optical discs.
- CGI Tentpoles: The end of year box-office has been dominated by big-spectacle franchises like Pirates of theCaribbean, Spider-Man, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, the Star Wars prequels and The Matrix.
- Special Effects: Increased computing power has allowed ever more sophisticated effects, most notably in The Matrix (1999), The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-03), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), Avatar (2009) and Inception (2010).
- Documentaries: Films like Bowling For Columbine (2002), Touching the Void (2003), Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) broke through at cinemas whilst near the end of a decade filled with global turmoil, films like An Inconvenient Truth (2006), Taxi to the Darkside (2007) and Inside Job (2010) helped explain key events. Later Exit Through The Gift Shop (2010) and Catfish (2010) played with the form in bold and inventive ways.
- The Fall and Rise of The Indie: After indie movies got increasingly expensive in the 2000s, the bubble burst in 2008 and a newer generation of indie movies – made with cheaper digital technology – has come along with films like Catfish, Winter’s Bone, Another Earth and Monsters.
- Torture Horror: The huge success of the Saw franchise and countless remakes of 1970s horror films has seen new levels of sadism and torture enter the multiplex.
- Adult Comedies: Towards the end of the decade Hollywood realised that there was a gap in the market for slightly ruder comedies like Knocked Up (2007), Superbad (2007), The Hangover (2009) and Bridesmaids (2010).
- War Films Prove a Box Office Turnoff: Mainstream US audiences rejected seeing movies aboutAfghanistan and Iraq, with even the Oscar winning The Hurt Locker (2009) only making its real money on DVD.
- Chaos Cinema: Mainstream action movies such as The Bourne trilogy and Transformers increasingly used quick cutting and jerky camera movements to dizzying effect. Was modern technology to blame for the worst of these films?
- The Best TV Got Really Good: The best US TV got really good with shows like The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Wire and Mad Men proving that movie production values could work on the small screen. It put a lot of crap British TV to shame.
- Promising Signs in the UK: After a lean period of lottery-funded crap, homegrown UK cinema experienced something of a renaissance with films such as Hunger (2008), Fish Tank (2009) and Submarine (2011).