herald

Thursday 13 December 2018

A towering talent whose drive and vision will be missed

The late Frank Deasy was among a number of writers prized -- revered even -- within the television industry.

Even if you don't immediately recognise the name, you'll certainly be familiar with a lot of his work -- especially 2006's Prime Suspect: The Final Act, which won him an Emmy award.

Those of us of a certain age, however, had long been aware of Deasy. His first screen credit, as writer and co-director (with Joe Lee), was for the 1988 film The Courier, a Dublin-set thriller featuring Padraig O Loinsigh as a motorcycle courier who tangles with a vicious crime boss, played with effortless menace by Gabriel Byrne.

The Courier was more than a little rough around the edges, but it was obvious from the then 27-year-old Deasy's screenplay that here was a young talent worth keeping an eye on.

A lifelong friend of Deasy's yesterday recalled how the writer had been deeply bruised by the negative reviews of The Courier, even jokingly citing it as the reason his hair turned white.

But he picked himself up and delivered on that early promise time and time again.

Deasy's most recent work, the excellent four-part thriller Father & Son, has already been seen on RTE and is to be screened on ITV this autumn.

Dougray Scott stars as a reformed Manchester-Irish hoodlum trying to save his teenage son, who's mixed up in a gun crime. Though Father & Son resonates with contemporary issues, it's also an immensely satisfying throwback to the gripping crime dramas of the 1970s.

In a week when the world lost another treasured practitioner from that TV golden age, Troy Kennedy Martin, the death of Frank Deasy, who shared much of the same creative drive and vision, is doubly sad. Television will miss his towering talent.

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