23 Jun 2008
The Wilson Initiative 
Several hundred invited guests were treated to a largely improvised lecture by TV producer Russell T Davies on Friday night at the inaugural Royal Television Society North West Anthony H Wilson Wilson Lecture.

Introduced by RTSNW chair Helen Bullough, Swansea-born Davies spoke passionately about the welcome, freedom of expression, space and support given to him by the Mancunian television fraternity, amongst whom he developed his craft during the eighties and nineties, contrasting this experience with both London and his current base of Cardiff.

The talk was interspersed with clips of a rugby-shirted and braced AHW introducing the Granada arts programme The Other Side Of Midnight as well as other Manchester-produced dramas Queer As Folk, Bob & Rose and The Second Coming.

Describing AHW as a "maverick that popped up on TV...a northern light...an ambassador for the region", Davies confessed that AHW would be "spinning in his grave" to know that the lecture was being given by "a Welshman whose own musical taste stopped with Baccara and 'Yes Sir, I Can Boogie'".

He ended with a stark warning on the "devastating" effect of financial cutbacks on BBC childrens television as the whole production is moved to Manchester, and called on the - mainly television - audience to establish an 'Anthony H Wilson initiative': "Tell London to piss off! Demand that one in every ten meetings with Londoners should happen in Manchester and show them what an extraordinary place this is...and how lucky you are!".

Many thanks to Graham Allister at BBC NW for the invitation.


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Biting Tongues

In the grey days of late 1970s post-punk Manchester, youth culture was a serious affair: every musical performance was measured mostly by the conviction of its delivery. The term 'New Wave' opened up free vistas where acquired skills could once again be exercised after punk's monochrome blur. It could be applied to anything from a James 'Blood' Ulmer record to the latest Throbbing Gristle release, Magazine to Swell Maps. Move outside that terrain into Sun Ra, Parliament, Frank Sinatra and Martin Denny, and your options were suddenly without limit...

Then came Tony Wilson's Factory Club (at the Russell Club in Hulme) offering an open invitation to experiment that was taken up when Ken Hollings, Howard Walmsley, Eddie Sherwood and a few others decided to make some noise to accompany their 16mm silent epic Biting Tongues. A further performance followed a few weeks later, when Colin Seddon and Graham Massey disbanded their Post Natals project and joined up. The film itself, a flashing series of negative images, became a memory; the name remained.

- extract from the LTM Biting Tongues biography

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