Published on: 09 December 2021 in Career Development

PODCAST + TRANSCRIPT: It’s A Sin — Script to Screen Masterclass with Peter Hoar and Christine Lalla

Reading time: 70 minutes and 3 seconds

The Directors UK Podcast is back!

In this fascinating episode, Peter Hoar, the RTS Award-winning director of It’s A Sin, talks to fellow director Christine Lalla about how he crafted some of his favourite moments from the series.

Breaking down specific scenes, Peter gave our members a look at how he brought a fantastic script to life on screen.

You can listen and subscribe to the Directors UK Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, SoundCloud, and other podcast platforms.

You can also read a full transcript of the conversation below.

Christine Lalla: Hello, everyone, I’m Christine Lalla and thank you for attending this masterclass with the rather marvelous Peter Hoar, in which we’ll be discussing his approach to directing his five part series It’s a Sin. If you just put all your questions in the chat box as we go along and I’ll stop every now and again to answer them. So, Peter, welcome and thank you so much for your time today. 

Peter Hoar: Thank you. Thank you for being here to ask me questions. 

Christine Lalla: Before we get into clips and storyboards and all that, I wanted to lay down some background to you coming on to the series. So, can you tell me how you came to the project? 

Peter Hoar: Unconventionally, I guess is the answer. I got a phone call from Phil Collinson, who was the producer, saying, ‘Would you be interested in doing a five-parter written by Russell T Davies?’ So, three seconds later I said, ‘Yes, I would be very interested.’ I didn’t think this was at all possible. I don’t think I knew that it was even happening but basically he said, ‘Look, I’m going to send you some scripts. Have a read over the weekend and I’ll be in touch on Monday.’ Which he was, and I said ‘They’re amazing. What do I do next?’ And I was in Manchester on the Tuesday to have an interview or a chat or whatever it would’ve been called with Nicola (Shindler) and Russell and Phil, and then they said, ‘Could you start tomorrow?’ I’m like, ‘Can I go home first and then start?’ So I started on the Thursday. So basically what had happened is they had started the production with a different person, and that relationship had not worked out for everyone concerned, so they made a very difficult decision after four weeks of pre-production to end that relationship and then look for me, I guess. So I was obviously now more than incredibly grateful that it happened at all if that way, but, yes, that’s how it started. 

Christine Lalla: Have you ever replaced the director before on a project? 

Peter Hoar: Not that I’ve always been told, but I have a theory — and this might be shared amongst the people here — that I often get scripts sent to me that say, ‘Can you come in in three days?’ And I’m like, ‘Three days, that’s not very long to turn this thing around and be ready and prepared.’ And then when I get there they suddenly then also tell me that, ‘Yes, we’re looking for someone to start in a couple of weeks.’ I’m like, ‘You’ve left it very late to get a director.’ The penny drops and I’m like, ‘Someone’s walked off haven’t they?’ I think it happens all the time, right? 

Christine Lalla: And so when you were speaking to the producer and to Russell, did you ask the why the relationship didn’t work with the previous director or did you just move on? 

Peter Hoar: Well, I guess I didn’t ask it straight away. I probably asked other people first just to make sure I didn’t ask any of the wrong questions, but I think ultimately what it was is that that director had a different way of working. He wasn’t used to working within the British system and I think there’s a, sort of, hierarchy. There’s a big hierarchy in TV, to be honest. We all know who’s at the top of the tree, and I think the individual was used to working more like a features director would be. A lot more in control, a lot more script editing and all sorts of things and that just weren’t going to happen. So, yes, that’s what I found out anyway. 

Christine Lalla: That brings me onto my next question. It’s something that I think about a lot, which is how there are a lot of series now that are actually writer-creator driven. 

Peter Hoar: Yes. 

Christine Lalla: So the power dynamic is obviously very different to when you just go on to shoot an episode of Shetland or an episode of Vera. How is it working with a writer and director? I know you’ve worked with Russell T Davies before — 

Peter Hoar: No, I hadn’t actually. No, I’d met him. I met him in a nightclub in Manchester in 2004 and I was determined to ask him about Doctor Who, which I knew he was doing but it was very top secret — so I got drunk enough and went up and asked him about it and we spoke for a couple of hours and he told me everything he shouldn’t have. And he remembers that conversation as well which is nice. What was the question? 

Christine Lalla: Writer, creator. How is it different working with a writer creator than it is when just dealing with a script editor and a producer. 

Peter Hoar: I guess that every show is different. Every writer creator is different. I’d done a little bit of work in America so I had the ultimate version of that, let’s say, where the show runner is king and everything goes through them. It’s a little bit of a break, actually. As long as you don’t absolutely detest the choices — and I think if you did you shouldn’t have accepted the job based on the script anyway. I mean with Marvel, yes, with the American system I had lots of input. Lots of things no one will ever know about because I wasn’t the show runner — but that’s okay because I knew that and I went into it that way. I think what’s slightly different about the British system is that you sometimes get offered the opportunity to be more creative, perhaps down to the fact that the showrunner doesn’t know what they want to do and they want to use the director’s insight. But, yes, you don’t get anything for it back in the UK. I think maybe people are starting to get deals where they have some sort of creative credit. Something like that to back it all up. Like you said with, Vera and Shetland, the writers were very much quieter in that system and I basically rebooted Vera and I did do the first episode of Shetland and the writer was present. We talked, we discussed, but it felt very much like myself and — in both those cases Elaine Collins — were the people moving it forward and discussing its look and its feel and the casting and everything. So, I’ve done a bit of everything really. 

Christine Lalla: So, you said that the previous director had four weeks’ prep already. Is that right? 

Peter Hoar: Yes. 

Christine Lalla: So can you break down the prep, shoot, down to post. How many weeks did you have? 

Peter Hoar: So the original schedule was ten weeks’ prep. Fifteen week shoot, and twelve weeks in the edit and initially I remember thinking, ‘Twelve weeks, how wonderful.’ It never works out like that because the first week we had a huge amount of material. Russell writes a lot of scenes which is great because I love working with that material, so I never ever said, ‘Let’s cut this,’ because I knew that I would be benefiting from it in the cut. So, yes, that first week of the edit’s gone because I give it to my editor to do the best that she can with the material before I see it — otherwise we’re wasting our time. So, that week’s gone, and then you think, ‘Oh, actually, we’ve only got a week before we’re supposed to show it for the first time to…’ I think it was Phil. So it worked out that I had about five days as a director’s cut within each of that. So I had five episodes to cut. Within the twelve weeks, I had probably four or five days to cut my version of it before I started dealing with the notes. But again, I had just done, like, a few years in America and that’s what you get there. You get four days. So I was up for that challenge. The good thing, of course, is even when they come in and we collaborate about things — and Russell was very good at this — I would explain my point of view and he would go with it. A lot of the times he would say, ‘Yes, you’re right. Let’s do it.’ So I was very lucky there, and that’s what you don’t get in America. You never get the opportunity to explain yourself, why you did what you did. They just go, ‘Oh, that doesn’t work. Quick. Change it.’ 

Christine Lalla: So, if I go back to the prep, so you lost four weeks then. So you had six weeks. Did they offer you the five episodes, what did they do? 

Peter Hoar: Well, they sent me four to read because Russell hadn’t written five at that point. He was in the process of finishing it off. So I’d read all four and then when I got there they said, ‘Look, we understand there’s not long to go. You’re going to have to get yourself together first before you even think about how, where, what, and whatever. So, you know, you can do the first two if you want.’ And by that point I’d read episode three and four but I’d particularly read episode three — and if anyone has seen it they’ll know, that I just thought, ‘There’s no way anyone else is doing episode three. I’ve got to do it.’ And by that judgement I just blurted it out and I just said, ‘Can I do all five?’ And Russell was thrilled and went, ‘Yes.’ And that’s what they agreed to. I guess it’s still a risk because, you know, six weeks of pre-production, plus the DP already booked on the job had to leave for personal reasons so that meant I had to go look for someone else and I got David Katznelson who was an absolute joy, treasure, and talent. And then he only had, like, two weeks’ prep so we didn’t have a lot of time between us. We spent a lot of time doing, wrap, recces and pre-shoot and all of that. I guess it was alright because I knew that coming in with less prep meant I was going to have to do quite a bit of that. 

Christine Lalla: You’ve not done a five-parter, have you? 

Peter Hoar: No. I’ve only ever done that… in fact, in a row, I’ve only ever done two haven’t I? I think. I actually used to be one of those people who said, ‘I don’t think it’s fair. It’s not right. It’s not right that one person does all of that show. Why didn’t I get an opportunity to do one of the episodes?’ And now having done it, I guess with this it was slightly different. A limited series. You know, five episodes, I think is achievable, particularly as I went over Christmas which was a total bonus. If I had to do fifteen weeks straight, I would’ve been much more tired and those two weeks over Christmas were very useful. So, yes, I mean it is the first time I’ve ever done anything like this and I didn’t know if I could but, again, you never know until you do it… and now I don’t want to do anything else. 

Christine Lalla: And what did you inherit from the previous director? I mean, the casting, was that you or was that them?

Peter Hoar: Most of that had been cast, yes. I mean because I think the process started even before he got there so I think Olly was already secured. Neil Patrick Harris had been approached and I think they were doing a deal. Stephen Fry had been approached. Keeley was still in the process but that was, sort of, happening when I arrived. I think I was involved in the decision about Shaun Dooley which was a no brainer. He was wonderful. I got Gregory on board. I think everybody was already there, and I think I did a lot of the other parts below our main five, six. So, yes, I did. They said that thing to me which was, ‘If you don’t like any of the casting then we can definitely start again.’ And I looked at these wonderful young faces and I thought, ‘How could I do it to them?’ And they were great so I didn’t need to. I didn’t even think about it. I just knew they’d be great. 

Christine Lalla: You were right weren’t you? 

Peter Hoar: I was right. 

Christine Lalla: That’s amazing. Both parts, that they gave you that option and also you prepped five episodes in six weeks, is quite astonishing. 

Peter Hoar: Yes, well I prepped four in about two weeks and then we had five arrive — and five is very different to the others, which I actually think means it’s almost my favourite episode because it’s such a different beast, and there’s part of me that worried a lot about that and thought, ‘Is this going to fit with everything else?’ It was, sort of, greyer than every other episode for lots of reasons because we were in locations that didn’t lend themselves to much colour. But I loved it. I think it came across very well. But the thing is that I also inherited an art department that were very busy, at the same time lots of prep had been done. Lots of ideas had been circulated and they were very capable. They just needed a direction, so I think that was one of the first things we jumped in on and then eventually again the bigger thing was we decided to build the set, the main set, Pink Palace. That sort of decision, as you know, takes time for everybody to agree to. Then it takes time for it to be drawn and then constructed and whatever. So, the art department were very keen to make that decision so they could get on with it and Russell was not keen on building. He loves authenticity. As do I, very much, but I just couldn’t find what we needed and, you know, it seems now, again, why would you not do it? It was a little bit big. You know, these four people on low to minimum wage, which didn’t exist then, to living in this real palace and this massive corridor, but he loved it and we pulled it off and managed to get the windows looking wonderful. So, yes. 

Christine Lalla: Do we have any audience questions before I move on? 

Directors UK: We don’t have any questions yet which usually means that everything so far has been very clear! So I’ll let you continue Christine. 

Christine Lalla: Fab. I was in my 20s in the eighties and I remember this period really, really well and I think this is one of the reason why it really spoke to me, the whole piece. I was shooting at the time when I saw It’s a Sin, and I spoke to some of the cast members of what I was shooting on and some of them weren’t aware of the AIDS epidemic. It astonished me that the history that I grew up in would be forgotten. And also it made me think about how the 1980s is actually a period piece. You’ve actually made a period piece. Anyway, have you done a period piece before? How did you approach it? Was it different to, say, the Umbrella Academy

Peter Hoar: Absolutely. I mean, what was great about the Umbrella Academy is that it was a, sort of period piece because it was full of nostalgia. We nicked so many things from so many other films and TV programmes as did the original text. So, yes, this was a period piece. It’s always a bit scary when you start shooting the period that you lived in as a period piece… at least I could say, ‘Yes I do remember that,’ or, ‘No, that would never have happened,’ as did Russell. We both were very quick on, ‘That doesn’t look right.’ And our art department were phenomenal at finding stuff. There was always a lot of it, so we would spend some time always thinking, ‘That but not that, but that but not that.’ And I’d probably do that anyway, and they always said, ‘We’re going to give you more than you need because that way you’ll get exactly what you want.’ But it was so rich, the detail in those sets. It was phenomenally good and that Pink Palace… as I say I went into that thinking, ‘I have been in this house. I’ve had a party here, and I can smell it.’ So that felt good, weirdly. I did The Last Kingdom which was medieval, obviously. Well, not even medieval, was it? Yes, it is. Dark Age-y sort of thing, and because not many people can tell you that that wasn’t right it was a bit easier on me. 

There are people that want to tell you it’s not right and they do. I don’t know if anyone’s seen the trailer for The Last Duel. There’s a lot of haircuts in that under discussion right now which is so unfair but there you go. I digress. Honestly, I would say across the board with our hair, make up, costume and art department, I think we nailed the 80s and we did it with affection. A lot of times it’s gaudy and bright and brash, and I think we managed to do a little bit of everything, really. You know, keep it real but enjoy it and live in it. 

Christine Lalla: I felt it was really believable and it wasn’t overplayed. I think sometimes the 80s, like you say, it gets very gaudy and more headbands and leg warmers and that’s it. But this was a different style and I really thought it was great. So, now, let’s talk about sex. 

Peter Hoar: We’ve just met but, yes, okay. 

Christine Lalla: Can we see the clip one please? 

Clip one. The Hooked on Classics scene is from episode one, starting at 23 minutes 45 seconds and ending at 25 minutes, 54 seconds. 

Christine Lalla: Thank you. Right, I wanted to speak to you a little bit about working with an intimacy coordinator, who it was, and had you worked with one before? 

Peter Hoar: Never. No, and I wished I had immediately within minutes of the conversation starting. The intimacy coordinator was called Ita O’Brien and she had done it a few times before. She’d done I May Destroy You. And had many stories to tell from that about how it worked and how it empowered Michaela Coel and of course as we know now Michaela mentioned it in her at the BAFTAs, and dedicated it to Ita. We had a team of people that came on different days. But it started really with the rehearsal period which is why these were created, these story boards, and we treated it like you would treat a stunt. So, basically, it was a very transparent discussion. I would explain what it was I was looking for and the, message, as it were, or the point of it. You know, to explain, in this case, Ritchie’s success with sex. He’s just getting more and more confident and better at it and taking charge and all that sort of thing, and I would explain all that to Ita and the team and they would then take that into separate rooms with the actors and then work out the story. They’d discuss how to do it. They are actors themselves so they understand that language, and I was never there for that, which I think is also a good thing because it allows those actors to express things that they may not want me to know. 

If there were any real concerns about what I’d asked for, it would get back to me and we wouldn’t do it. It was simple as that. But, yes, it was an incredible process. I have done it before It’s a Sin, and it’s a very lonely place to be, because most people just, sort of, cross their arms and go, ‘Go on then. Get on with it. Be sexy.’ And, like, the poor actors and myself are trying to talk it through, work it out, and actually in the past I’ve spent time talking to creators in preparation which doesn’t always seem to have happened on many occasions. But there’s no guidance, and it felt like with this it was such a relief. It was so effortless and well-managed and people’s brains, people’s mental health was being looked after, or even thought about. So, you know, Olly who played Ritchie was doing every single one of them, one after the other after the other. So we, learned a lot about how we might shoot that from the prep and we also broke it up accordingly. We also, very much on the day actually, he was exhausted and we were like, ‘Okay, let’s jump ahead to another scene, give you a break and you let me know how you feel.’ And he came back great, bouncing, ready to go. You know, all sorts of things that would probably have been overlooked in the past. So, it was phenomenal, you know, and as I say, if nothing else I just felt like I’m not alone in this. It’s like there are people that want to make it as good as I do and work with the sensitivities, not be scared of it. 

Christine Lalla: Did you draw these storyboards yourself or do you have an artist to do that? 

Peter Hoar: I had a storyboard artist do that for me. I can’t remember their name I’m afraid, which is very embarrassing, but they came and did a whole load of these for me and they’re fantastic. Interestingly, looking at them now, I mean, this scene that you have up here. That never happened. That whole scene didn’t take place, it was cut. And some of the other positions that I’d asked her to sketch, they also didn’t happen. And then there’s lots of reasons for that, sometimes it’s time, sometimes it’s physicality. Like that top shot there, we couldn’t get the camera where I wanted it to go, and we all thought we could and we couldn’t, so that didn’t happen. But actually as well when we were shooting and setting these things up, what would happen is they would go into the room with the coordinator. We would leave. They would get themselves into the position with their underwear on and feel relaxed, feel comfortable and simulate the motion that we were asking for and it was shot by shot by shot, and once they were comfortable then they would disrobe completely other than whatever parts were covered. Then they’d reconnect and then we would come back into the room and they’d already be in that position ready to go — and then we would get our cameras ready. 

We’d already decided where they were going to go but, of course, like any performance, you get into the room and then you’re like, ‘Oh, right, that camera doesn’t get the right angle, that doesn’t see the thing we want to see so we’ll just move around a little bit more.’ And then we would shoot. And then in this particular case I’d have the music playing, which was so that the movements were all in time with the music. I also think it took the edge off a little bit because it was so preposterous listening to that music — and also it was about joy. I never wanted to shoot anything that didn’t look like it was fun. Even if it’s slightly scary in that first case where he’s like, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing.’ But, you know, it got better and better because obviously that’s how his story goes and the laughter at the end, I just love. Every time I hear them giggling and laughing I just think it’s wonderful. 

Christine Lalla: And so was there anything, apart from the ones that you’ve showed us, was there anything that maybe the exec said, ‘We can’t do that’? 

Peter Hoar: No. My immediate execs, i.e. Nicola and Russell, never said no. I think Nicola said, like, ‘Just be aware that there will be a point. There’s always a point that somebody will turn around and say, “This isn’t right.” But I was never going to be gratuitous about it. That isn’t the way I do it. But there was a moment where we got a message about the sort of things that would’ve… I don’t know how to put this. But basically we were told that there would be certain things, certain images that would be more acceptable than others, and I’m very happy to say that me and Russell both went, ‘No way are we going to do what they say is more acceptable.’ So I just said, ‘Yes I agree, and let’s move forward.’ And then one of those things that was allegedly not acceptable was legs up in the air and whatever, but I think what we did, as I say, we didn’t shoot it gratuitously and actually some of these frames are a little bit wider than we did. I think they are probably more pornographic than what we did. We were much more suggestive, but what it gave Ita was an idea of what the position was. If you sketch a close up sometimes you don’t know what it is. So, yes. Most of this was scripted. Some of it was not. You can definitely see a lot of this was more adventurous than I ever got to do but, you know, again, we’re on a schedule and if I felt good about it, if I got the images I was after, then we’d move on. 

Christine Lalla: So do you think, because you’ve done so much prep into what you want within the scene, do you think the scene was shorter to shoot? 

Peter Hoar: Not really, because in the same way that you would do a stunt, it’s like you put a lot of prep into a stunt. You do storyboards. You have meeting after meeting after meeting and you still stand around waiting for things to happen. One reason is safety. You can’t just blow things up willy nilly. You shouldn’t be putting, as I say, people’s mental health on the line willy nilly. You don’t know, really, how someone’s feeling about doing something like that, about a sex scene. And also let’s be honest, it’s not just the sex. It’s intimacy generally. There’s kissing or closeness or touch or whatever. You know, these all come under this banner, and I think it’s vitally important to have a discussion in a safe space where those actors can say, ‘Actually, I don’t like this. I thought I could and I can’t.’ And, you know, myself and Russell would be the first people to go, ‘Right. We’ll find something you are comfortable with and we’ll do that’ So, yes, I think it took as long as it took but I was never going to rush it. Unfortunately, as well, we were in dorms for those sex scenes, they were real dorms in Wigan, I think. I can’t remember now and they were tiny and they were not very well ventilated so they got very hot. So, we didn’t want to hang around for too long. But I love what I got and, as I say, I think the reason it’s all okay is because we spoke about everything so that we could then do this. 

Christine Lalla: Did you share the storyboards with the actors? 

Peter Hoar: Yes, absolutely. I did. I didn’t necessarily sit them down personally. I gave them to Ita and she shared them with them. So, again, the reason for that is when you’re confronting a director sometimes they don’t know what to say. Particularly a young cast that haven’t been in front of a camera before, and some of them hadn’t. So, they would probably feel like they have to say yes to everything, and I think this is another reason it’s good to do it that way. To give it to the coordinator and for them to say, ‘Right, this is what the director’s trying to get.’ Because if they look at it and go, ‘What? I ain’t doing that.’ They would never say that to me. I wish they would because I am that person that would listen, but I just know how it is. It should change. That’s another conversation but, yes, I know how it is. So, that was a valuable part of the process. 

Christine Lalla: It was really protective, then, of the actors. 

Peter Hoar: And actually, you know, during the rehearsal process, there were definitely a lot of things that came out in discussions with some of the actors about things they didn’t realise were problematic for them. And as I say, on occasions we would perhaps take a left or a right to get around that to make them feel comfortable but the storyline was pretty simple. You know, Ritchie goes out, has sex with a succession of people and gets better and better and better and more confident and there’s lots of ways you can do that. So, yes, we did take a few steps here and there, but we would never have known that until the day. Obviously, yourself and myself are caring directors and we would’ve listened to whatever the actor tells us, but you end up then stopping and that whole process of the film crew stopping for that reason makes that actor feel even worse than they already do. So, you know, without question, this is the way forward.

Christine Lalla: Before I take questions, I just wanted to ask you, Hooked on Classics, was that in the script? 

Peter Hoar: Yes, it was. Yes, I remember it, Russell said, ‘I don’t know if any of you remember this,’ I’m like, ‘Sorry, I bought both versions,’ I think there’s part one and part two. I have the… well, everything is vinyl, wasn’t it? But I had them, and it was so terrible and so cheesy but that’s what he loved about it. In fact, Russell’s choice of music was always that way, was always a bit more absurd. Like he said, I’m not going to go for the big classics, I’m going to go for the things that really made us who we are. And he wrote probably a couple in each episode, there was music over a montage or for a certain reason — and then I added all the rest. So anything that was transitional or just background-y or whatever, I did that and I just, sort of, went a little bit crazy but I loved it. 

Christine Lalla: Thank you. I think there are some questions now, I believe? 

Directors UK: Yes, we’ve got one here, it says, ‘How many cameras were used and did the number change depending on the type of scene?’ 

Peter Hoar: Is this across the board or just in the intimacy sections? 

Directors UK: Across the board. 

Peter Hoar: Okay, well, I’ll tell you with the intimacy, there was two and it was a miracle we could get two cameras as well as a sex scene in some of those dorm rooms. Anyone who’s been to university will know. But across the board, yes, two cameras, really. Two cameras the whole time. We had three, we had four or maybe five on the big protest scene for episode four. That was purely down to time, we got more stuff than we would have without it, but, as you’ll all know, if it gets a little bit crazy and you’re sending cameras off here, there and everywhere, then half the footage is unusable because it’s got another camera in it. But because we had so little time to get that whole day, I think it was the only way forward. So, I think, on that day, we had three plus a high-and-wide that was just running all day to get stuff for some various CG appropriations. But yes, two everyday. Always two. 

Christine Lalla: Lovely, so I think we’ll move on to our clip two, here’s our montage. Can we have a look at that, please? 

Clip two, the Ritchie breaking the fourth wall montage, it’s from episode two. Starting at seven minutes 56 seconds and ending at ten minutes, 22 seconds. 

Christine Lalla: Oh, I love that sequence. So, can you tell me, I mean, what was it like on the page? 

Peter Hoar: It was structured in sections but they were vague and Russell said to me, right from the offset, he said, ‘This is yours, so go do what you want with it, it’ll be absolutely fine, this is your show-piece. I just know that I want this, sort of, Pied Piper-esque feel to the whole thing, he needs to travel, he needs to go from place to place and then gradually, more and more and more people come along with him and they’re all listening intently and taking it all in.’ So yes, I mean, I think I’ll try and remember exactly how it all broke down. I’d like, also, to mention at this point my camera operator, Dan Nightingale, and my editor, Sarah Brewerton, without which that sequence would not be anything like as impressive as it is. And there’s one edit in there — and any of our eagled-eyed viewers or any directors might have winced during the opening — when the shot first goes into Heaven, as in, into the actual dance floor, there’s an edit and I hated that edit and I still do to this day. Because it was completely unnecessary and there were many conversations about it and there were many points. But basically Russell said, ‘Pick a hill to die on, this isn’t it,’ and he’s right, because we had a lot of other things to talk about, including a picture of a willy in a magazine from the very early part of the episode. I’ve never had so many conversations about genitalia… or certainly emails. 

I remember, I definitely added a few more looks to camera, I think it was less active around the table and him shaking the glasses and whatever. It became more of a floor show on the day, actually. It was scripted as he goes in, sits down and everyone listens to him, and I just wanted to make it more active, and so he’s pouring the drinks. We just made a lot of that up on the day, which I think is also always worth bearing in mind because you can plan a sequence like that completely — and you obviously have to know where you’re going and what’s going to be lit — but after that, you have to let go a couple of times and go, ‘This is better, do this.’ And Russell loved it so, you know, we kept going. We kept going. 

Christine Lalla: Well that’s interesting, actually, because I want to ask you about that — do you do camera plans? 

Peter Hoar: No, not really. I don’t do shot lists, I don’t do camera plans. I talk a lot. I’d go to locations with my team and — I mean, on this, we didn’t get to go to half of the locations properly, you know — ideally you’d go find it, you’d go back with the design aid, you’d go back with the DoP, you’d go back on your own, maybe. We just didn’t have any of that time, and I think a lot of the time we would go and see something, I think we saw probably five to ten locations for the first time on the recce. But there was no other way to do it and, actually, we had a great team and I’d see photographs, I wasn’t seeing these things cold. But, yes, it was a lot of talking, a lot of flexibility. I’ve never liked doing plans, right back to when I started in Hollyoaks where we were told to do plans. It was an offence not to do plans and, they would sometimes come and check them! So I just scribbled something down, I’d never do it but I’d just scribble a few things down. And then, I just feel like, if you’re that prescriptive and then an actor comes in and says, ‘I don’t want to do that, I don’t want to come through the door, I want to sit over there and talk’ you can spend as much time as you want persuading them or trying to tell them that it would be better if they come through the door. But inevitably, it’s because your camera wants it, not because the story needs it. 

So I always think, ‘Let’s know what the options are,’ the DoP knows that it could go in either direction and we’re really talking about the scenes where people are standing in a room talking, or sitting down talking. Which, they’re the bread and butter of what we do — but, I think if we’re too flexible on that it’s not a very exciting place to be. So I tend to run with what we get and we’d see a little reaction between two people around a table. ‘God, they’re working really well together, quick, get the camera there, get the camera there.’ And as a result, the DoP will often light for that so that I can move around a lot more. 

Christine Lalla: So, literally, you saw it on the page, and then you’d have a rough idea of what you want? 

Peter Hoar: I mean, Russell’s very descriptive, right? I’d say, apart from the montage we just saw where he gave the headlines, where he said, ‘Look, you know, do what you want with it.’ But a lot of the other times, he is very… prescriptive doesn’t sound fair because that sounds like it’s a negative thing… but he just knows. He’s incredibly precise and, when you read a Russell script, there’s no script. I read recently a script of Russell’s and it was so-, it was a first draft and you would never, ever know. But the reason is because he’s done all of the work in his head beforehand, he’s edited himself enough times so that, when he hands it over, you just slide through it and you’re like, ‘Wow, this is amazing.’ So I was never left in the dark and, if I was, I’d ask him and we’d find out the answer between us. So I had a really good idea of what was going to happen and where it was going to go down, sometimes I would change things. But I would never have done that without speaking to him first, because I wouldn’t have wanted to upset anybody. 

Christine Lalla: Did you do the edits, did you do it remotely, was it during the pandemic or before? 

Peter Hoar: Actually, I think we were very lucky, we got episode one done with everybody in the room. And so, therefore, we had started the show together as a team and I had Russell in the room, I’d have Nicola in the room, and Phil, and we’d discussed our sensibilities in public. And that was a really good thing because then, basically, after that, the shutters came down and we went home. And we did the rest remotely. But I love and adore my editor, Sarah, who is more than capable of doing it on her own without me. So I think she went off and did that most of the time. We’d speak in the morning and speak in the evening or whenever there was a tricky part. I’d give a load of notes and just go walk away, and I like that way of working, I like to try and remove myself from the detail so that, when I go and look again, I just have a better eye. 

Christine Lalla: And, this particular sequence, how long did that take? Did you shoot it over a number of days? 

Peter Hoar: Yes, a lot of days. I think one of the shots was done in the first week and one of them was done in the last week. In fact, I’ll let you into another secret, we missed one. There’s one line, and actually, you can tell, it stands out to me, unfortunately, we missed a line. And we don’t know why, and this is film-making, everybody. This is what happens. Everybody was convinced we shot it and then Sarah was like, ‘I can’t find it.’ And because I’d done each line so specifically, you know, shaking the table or pouring the drinks or whatever else, we had to just make something up. So we did. But yes, it was shot over a number of different days. But really, it was in the pub where it all seemed to start coming together because that’s when it was really apparent that he needs to do more. He can’t just go and sit, it would’ve been a very boring scene if he had, so that’s why they all gathered around that table and he was rocking and shaking. And then, I said, ‘Oh, let’s change the scene,’ and he went over to the pinball machine and all of that. So yes, we worked with what we had. 

Christine Lalla: And was that a Russell choice of music or a Peter choice of music? 

Peter Hoar: Well, that was a Russell choice of music to start with, we initially had a different track. And it was Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s, Relax, which was playing over the whole of that. And we didn’t get the permission that we needed to use it, but unfortunately, that happened after we’d shot it, so I had planned it all out with Relax and we’d played it in when we needed to and we’d certainly played it into Heaven. And that very last line is a lift, in fact, we changed it very slightly in the dub but he says, ‘Hit me with those laser beams,’ and we changed it to, ‘Lasers please.’ In fact, I think we probably could’ve stayed with beams, that’s a legal thing. But anyway, we didn’t get the rights to that track so I put in Sylvester, which is what we heard there. And I thought it worked superbly, it reminded a lot of people who were aware of the situation in the 80s, that this is our show, this is our story, the UK, it’s our story about HIV, AIDS, but using that also brought a lot of people in because I have a lot of friends in the States and they were like, ‘Oh, I’m really glad you got that Sylvester track in because he unfortunately died of AIDS about three years after that came out.’ So, it all felt very right to do that, actually. 

Christine Lalla: I think so, I loved it. I had no idea it wasn’t the original song choice. I think we have more questions. 

Directors UK: There’s one here. ‘Peter, could you talk about the type of CGI or special effects that were used, and the extent to which those effects were used? And were you able to pre-plan what was needed, or was it more about tidying up shots in post?’ 

Peter Hoar: Well, basically, the character of Colin, I don’t know if you remember the character Colin, he was completely CG. He was an AI construction, he didn’t exist in real life, every single shot of him was all made up. No, that’s not true. That’s the sort of thing that David Fincher would do, because he’s crazy. Crazy good. No, we did a few set extensions, the Pink Palace’s widest shot — we shot that on a street in Manchester, which everybody knows because it’s very famous, that record shop is very famous. But we did an extension from Streatham, actually, literally, a lift of a Streatham high street. So basically, there’s the building there, if anyone knows it, is red brick Victorian-ish. Or maybe Edwardian, I think it’s Victorian, it must be Victorian if it’s Manchester. But anyway, it reminded me of Streatham so we would send somebody down to there, we did an extension there, obviously we added cars and things of the period for movement, they did an amazing job on that, all of that remote, as well. They had set themselves up to be remote so I think that anybody that went through that initial period of lockdown knows it was not easy, but they did a superb job. Obviously the seagull at the end was all CG, with the ice cream. Yes, taking away the things that shouldn’t be there for the period, adding signage where we needed to, you know, lots and lots of invisible stuff — which I loved. Because no-one knows, well, not nobody knows, certainly nobody appreciates it. But I love the way that that magic works. 

Christine Lalla: Before we move on to that, I wanted to talk to you about the New York sequence because I love New York. 

Peter Hoar: Oh yes, there was lots of CG in that, obviously. Sorry. 

Christine Lalla: Where did you shoot the exteriors, or was that all CG. Was it Manchester? 

Peter Hoar: So that was Liverpool. And again, anyone that’s ever been to Liverpool, to those great buildings there, knows how iconic they are and how New York they are. So I felt a little bit like, when I first started that process, I wanted to be different. I wanted to be the director that goes, ‘No, we’re not doing it there, it’s too easy, it’s too obvious.’ And I found this street which I loved, no idea what it’s called now, and there was one side of it which was basically a completely different shot, it was much more Greenwich village, actually, which is what it was written as. And it was much more compact and there was this one big red brick building and the road was smaller — and the additional CG extension would’ve been smaller but taller, although we ended up doing a pretty good job with that. But it was a big job. A lot of cars, a lot of re-routing, it was taxis and all sorts whereas, down there, it’s quite easy to get it locked up. They’re quite used to it, lots of shows have been down there, so I was a little bit disappointed I didn’t get to do my version of it. But I understood why and, again, when you’ve only six weeks’ prep, you have to take a few of these things on the chin because otherwise nothing will get planned. And actually, I loved what we got, I really loved what we got, it was great fun to shoot, the extensions they did were phenomenal. We did use the same building for something else so we had to take away bits of that so that nobody thought we were being cheap. But I don’t think anyone did, I didn’t get an email telling me I was being cheap! 

But yes, I loved it, I loved it, and we did a zoom, actually, and we got a zoom lens for one shot which was Colin coming out at night. We just zoomed out with him and the world just got bigger and bigger as he crossed the road and got his little map out and all that sort of thing. And I just thought it was very period, it’s a tiny little part of me, really. I just looked at lots of films from the 70s and early 80s shot in New York and they had loads of zooms going and I’m like, ‘I’m going to do one.’ So it’s a very directorial thing to do, nobody else gave a shit, I don’t think. But I liked it! 

Christine Lalla: I liked it. So right. Can we see clip three, please? 

Clip three, the scene where Valerie walks the hospital corridors to find the doctor is from episode five. Starting at seventeen minutes 40 seconds and ending at nineteen minutes 40 seconds. 

Christine Lalla: Thank you. I loved the blocking you did on that, I absolutely loved it. 

Peter Hoar: Thank you. 

Christine Lalla: Before I knew I was doing this event, when I first watched it, it really stood out to me, I loved it. So I want to talk in this section here about actors and working with actors. Keeley, obviously, is so experienced and so brilliant. And then, working with the young actor who played Colin, was it his first job, am I right in thinking that? 

Peter Hoar: Yes, it was Colin’s first job ever. Having not left college, and it was Nathaniel’s first job as well, Nathaniel Curtis, who played Ash. 

Christine Lalla: So, how did you approach working with someone like Keeley and working with Nathaniel? 

Peter Hoar: Well, I mean, honestly, I approached everybody in the same way because I didn’t want to disrespect the younger actors by thinking that they weren’t to be treated in the same way as anybody else. I don’t really have a hierarchy in that respect, I look after everybody. And what was really important to me is that those actors, particularly because we were announcing that we had chosen a queer cast for this show, I wanted them all to be able to go forward from this knowing what a shoot should really be like and how well they should be treated and how respected they should be, regardless of their experience. And so they can call it out next time if it doesn’t happen for them. And actually, that’s also what Keeley, Shaun Dooley, Neil Patrick Harris, Stephen Fry, what they all wanted for those guys as well. I felt myself relying on those other talents because I knew I could. You know, Keeley was phenomenal, as you say, we had a little bit of a conversation but not much, she didn’t get to the read-through because she was already working on something else and so we met, our first day was in the nightclub-y thing where she goes to see Ritchie perform in the Isle of Wight. That was lots of fun. 

And then, the next day was a week later and we were doing the scene by the beach at the end with Jill. So, we did have to have a sit down and a conversation before that about a lot of things, about where everything was going and coming from, but ultimately, Keeley’s such a pro that she was, like, ‘Let’s just go out there and do it.’ Plus, again, I had very different levels of experience in that scene. Jill, Lydia, she’s done a lot already for someone her age. But, you’d never know, this is what’s so great, her with Keeley, Callum with Neil Patrick Harris, Omari with Stephen Fry, you would never know that this wasn’t the case for any of them. And that’s what it should be. So we treated everybody the same, really. I think. 

Christine Lalla: So, if I just go back to the clip — I love the blocking on that. You talked earlier about how you’ve got an idea and you have to convince the actors, what you want them to do. It seems to me that, clearly, you have to have them on-board. But how did you approach that, did you have that idea or did you workshop it? Is that how that blocking was done? 

Peter Hoar: No, no. Again, because Keeley was available to us only a certain number of days, we couldn’t get her up early to do a rehearsal. We managed to get a period before we shot, so basically, that whole scene is fifteen pages and I was given two days to do it. But I have a schedule, I know lots of people out there will be used to do ten cases a day but, for our schedule, that was a lot to do. However, it was contained and I had everybody at the top of their game. So I thought we could do it and our DoP David had got a plan to light it quickly and efficiently. But we did have a conversation with them before Russell came in, as well, on that. Because, inevitably with those sorts of sequences, everyone panics about it. So, as a director, you end up feeling a lot of that, which you don’t want to do, you want to feel the opposite, you want to feel confident and enabled. But — and I don’t blame anybody for this but I know lots of people were worried — there was ‘Are we going to get it done, is it going to work, are they going to get it?’ You know, because it’s all about Keeley, and I don’t know if enough of a conversation had ever really happened between Keeley and Russell, let alone Keeley and me. So yes, I explained, as she was sat in front of me in costume, I think, you know, an hour before we were about to start, I said what I had planned to do. I mean, initially, Russell said, ‘Episode five is going to have a scene that’s fifteen pages long, right team, off you go, good luck.’ And I’m like, ‘Okay, great.’ 

But the reason he wanted that is he wanted this feel, the tight, continuous feel, uncomfortable, the pressure cooker environment. He never described it as, ‘Those teens along the corridor as one shot,’ but, in fact, there are edits. Which we did do for the right reasons, as it turned out. And again, be ruthless with your own material, that’s another lesson. I regret that cut in the club because I didn’t choose it but all the other ones I was very on-board with because, inevitably, this one-shot thing can really screw you over if you become so entrenched with it working. And if it doesn’t work at any point and there is an edit that’s presented to you that does work, you’d be a fool not to take it. Anyway, a lot of it is flowing, but ultimately, I thought, ‘Oh, one shot, the whole thing, fifteen minutes?’ Yes, let’s go for it but there’s no way because you’re around a bed and you’re around a table. And actually, what I love about what we’ve got is that by shooting those bits conventionally and then the flowy stuff down the corridor, you had rise, you had peaks and troughs. Which is what all good drama should be about. That little tiny kitchen is phenomenal, it’s very simple, there’s nothing complicated about the way we shot that. But it’s just so, and then whoosh, out they go again and they’re down that corridor. And one of the reasons for the steadicam was that Russell wrote, ‘Clip, clip, clip,’ on the heels. 

And I just thought I’ve just got to be in there, I’ve got to be in that moment with her, and the fact that the most complicated part was the second where she comes out and she goes and finds her husband, Shaun, and then she hits him — there is a cut in that. Again, without it, it wasn’t as good. Simple as that. But I only put one in and I feel like it earned its place. And because the whole sequence has edits, I don’t think it was a problem. 

Christine Lalla: Lovely. And, I mean, I’m going to ask the question… but do you have a favourite scene in the whole five episodes? 

Peter Hoar: I loved watching this all back, I haven’t seen it in a while. I do love the hospital scene for lots of reasons. Because I think everybody started it by panicking that we’ll never get it done, we actually finished about two or three hours early. So we found something to do, isn’t that brilliant? But yes, you know, it was an example of an incredible team working extremely hard, really, all invested, we all came for Russell, we all did. There’s no question, but I think what we proved with the way we did it, to a lot of other people around the edges of the group, it’s nice to have a job where you can see it unfolding. You can see these young talents emerging and also have a really nice time every day when you come to work. And they were so invested in the show, going forward. Like, some of the sparks had never experienced as much love on a set, I don’t think. They were getting hugs from all over, ‘Oh, goodbye, goodbye,’ and they loved it. They loved it, they were an incredible bunch. 

Christine Lalla: How did you get Neil Patrick Harris? 

Peter Hoar: Well, we’ve got some photographs and they’re rather embarrassing so we said that, if he didn’t do it, we would show the New York Times. No, apparently — and this is a true story — this did happen before me, but basically they asked him. I think it was Russell, directly, but it may have been Nicola first and then Russell. Basically they asked him ‘Look, we’ve got this part coming up,’ and I think it was also partly a discussion with the American co-production about having an American star in it. But because of the notion of having a queer cast where possible, and having this character who had such an important impact, yes, it was a British character, and I’m sure people could go, ‘Couldn’t you find a brit?’ Yes, we could have, but Neil was so good, so amazing, there was so many layers to who he is as a person and what he did as a performance. And he brought to this, as well, that life he lived as an actor at sixteen to now. 30 years in the business. And I just think it was an inspired choice, I really do. And I don’t know who made that choice, it could’ve been Russell, Russell’s very good at casting. So it probably was him. But yes, they just asked him and he said, ‘Oh, yes, I’d love to,’ and that was that. 

Christine Lalla: Yes, he’s great. If you did it again, what would you do differently? 

Peter Hoar: I would remember that shot that stands out in the montage and I’d treat it properly. I would fight more for that edit not to happen in that. Because ultimately, whether that cut happened would not have made the show any more or less successful, therefore, in my eyes, let’s not have it. Let’s leave it as one beautiful, flowing camera shot. Anyway. What else would I do differently? I don’t think I’d actually ask for more prep time because I think we did okay and, sometimes, you know, I’ve got a couple of things in development at the moment where there are no deadlines. We have no deadlines and it’s like this amorphous thing, and it’s like, ‘Tell me when to do something.’ I like a deadline. I like the fact that you have to do something in a certain time, it fires my brain up. So I don’t think I’d ask for more time, weirdly. I think David Katznelson might have loved a few more. Another thing, it’s like why does a DoP not start when a director does? On something of that magnitude, when you’re shooting the entire thing, I think a DoP should start day one with the director. But that’s just me. 

Christine Lalla: Do we have any questions? 

Directors UK: We do. Just before I ask the other one, there’s some nice messages here. So, Miranda says that she thought the corridor scenes were amazing and Jonathan thought all the performances were fabulous, particularly from the newcomers. But Jonathan is wondering how much rehearsal time did you have throughout, if any? 

Peter Hoar: We had a week’s rehearsal beforehand, and I don’t do conventional rehearsals because I’ve never really learnt how to. I talk to actors. What I like is to get everybody in the room and talk about the whole thing, the thing as a whole. What it is, what it means, what it means to them as well as what it means to me. And then that starts a very interesting conversation about how they are coming into it and if there’s anything awry. Then I can sort of straighten it. Particularly with the younger cast, they might need a bit of steering here and there before they really throw themselves into it. I did want to also use that time to discuss with the younger, less experienced cast how to pace themselves and stuff like that. Russell was there too because I wanted him to be able to answer their questions, so they could hear it direct from him, and that was a joy. He came in for a couple of days of that. 

But, yes, a week’s rehearsal, but then I also lost them to intimacy which I do not regret — but I did lose them. So they were rehearsing that rather than anything else, and of course costume and make-up and hair fittings and stuff like that. So you never get a week out of a week’s rehearsal. But on the shooting days, not really very much. We would react a lot more than we would really rehearse. But, and I have to say this more and more to make sure people realise… that cast were so good. I didn’t feel like I was ever in need of that much. You know, they brought their A-game. And again, that goes back to what my job is. My job is to make them feel like they are able to do whatever is required, and I think then they just came on every day, full of beans, and delivered. 

Christine Lalla: Do Russell’s scripts change at all once you start filming? 

Peter Hoar: No, they don’t tend to. We did have some notes. Obviously, the funny notes that I can’t even remember.... This did not happen but let’s suggest that it was a note that said, ‘Do you really need that montage scene?’ and he’d be like, ‘Right, I’m leaving.’ Yes, he did answer a few things. Inevitably, there’s always a clarity issue, an understanding. What we think is all perfectly acceptable, somebody doesn’t get so we have to deal with that. There was perhaps more of that in the cut than in the script, and again not really a lot of wrestling, but I think they’re very fast, Russell’s scripts. He writes a lot of scenes and they move and he’s very ruthless in his own work, as am I, so I think we had to make sure at some point we had a few more moments. I think, if I could do anything differently, going back to your other question… You see, again, why would I? Because this is like saying, ‘Oh, a director’s cut,’ and I hate director’s cuts. There’s no point in them, but I think that there are occasions where I wished I could’ve had a few more moments, a few more breaths, a few beats — but Russell’s like, ‘Go, go, go.’ But honestly, I felt that at the time, and I bet you if I sat in a room and did that, I’d hate it. Which is why I don’t like director’s cuts. 

Christine Lalla: So, did you learn anything from this show? 

Peter Hoar: I thought you were going to say did I learn anything before I started working as a director! The honest answer is no, I didn’t. I didn’t learn anything before I came a director. I had no idea what I was doing. There’s a quote from some guru. Probably an online meme creator, that said, ‘Always start before you’re ready. Never wait to be ready because you never will be.’ I effectively did that, because I just got a job as a director of Hollyoaks and I was sat in a pub across the road where they put you up and I was looking at the script and thinking, ‘Tomorrow I’m going to tell people what to do and get paid for it and I have no idea what I’m doing. No idea at all.’ But as soon as I got out there it felt like it was something I was always supposed to do and I can’t really describe it any better than that. And, you know, it worked. 

Christine Lalla: I know that pub. Many a Hollyoaks director knows that pub. 

Peter Hoar: Oh, exactly. You know, but you asked me about did I learn anything? Always. Always learning. 

Christine Lalla: Yes. On this show. I mean you’ve done so much in the past, but this was new for you, a five-parter. 

Peter Hoar: Yes, I think what I would say, and this isn’t so much learning but realizing: having a break was amazing, so if you’re going to do five episodes of something put a break in. And they’ll never want to do it and actually I’ve tried on other things and it always gets whittled down. And it’s like, ‘Oh, we’ll have five days off for the cast and crew.’ Or rather cast, because the crew are often doing pre-lights and whatever else and they don’t want to go away, they want to earn money. But I think if you can have a little break for your brain, I think it’s really good. So just tell them to shoot it over Christmas some way or other. Or Easter. Intimacy, as we’ve spoken about, is an invaluable asset to any director, to any production. I guess I learnt a little bit about shooting something that you are invested in. Like, this is the first time I’d ever told a story from my own point of view, so to speak. A gay, queer story, and it’s empowering to do that. It’s empowering to be able to be the voice that, when you want to tell an actor a certain thing, you’re like, ‘I know exactly what the right answer is here.’ And a lot of time as a director you always say you should know exactly what the right answer is, but you don’t because you’re making it up, or it’s in space or whatever. But it was lovely to really know exactly what this show was and what it meant and how important it would be. 

And I didn’t know how popular it would be, but I certainly knew it had a lot of important things to say and it was just a great piece of writing. But yes, that was a lovely experience and I’ve never felt so able to be myself, which was also something rather special. You know, I’ve been directing for 20 years and I’ve never had a problem with being a gay director. It’s not a big deal but it just felt lovely to be the true me once in my career. Maybe going forward as well, hopefully. 

Directors UK: Phillip has asked, can you let us know what your inspirations were in terms of other films and TV shows that had an influence on not just the show but your direction? 

Peter Hoar: Oh, blimey. There is a French film called 120 BPM which we watched. It wasn’t so much a reference but it was a comparison. It was like we wanted to see something that had been made from a non-US point of view within recent memory, so we found that. That was about the ACT UP organisation but it had some very poignant moments around the illness and the treatment and the behaviours towards gay people in that period. So that was important. There’s a Wong Kar-Wai film called Happy Together which we watched just to feel it. I don’t think I would say anything about the way we shot it was particularly similar, but there’s things that he does as a director that I wanted to feel again — and so, yes, there were certainly some parts of that that we dipped into. I’m just trying to think of my mood board which was very hastily put together as you can imagine. I always tend to go for lots of influences at the very start of a job because that’s how you get a job. You put a load of stuff down and you say, ‘Here’s my look book,’ and they go, ‘Oh, that’s exciting.’ Does it look like that? Well, maybe in part it does. I tend to try and forget the look book — well, not forget it but I don’t look at it every day — because I think that’s pointless, because you’ve got it in front of you. What it is is what’s in front of you, and if there’s something wrong with it you change it. But, yes, certainly I try to watch a few films and feel something, try and remember that’s what I wanted to do — and I did my own version of those films. 

Directors UK: Do you know what Russell’s inspirations were? 

Peter Hoar: His friends, basically. The whole story is loads of anecdotes and real stories. He knew these people, some of which survived and some of which died of HIV/AIDS. He’d always known he wanted to write a story about that experience. He didn’t know when he would be able to do it because it’s, you know, difficult. I think he started something like three years ago, or maybe a bit longer actually. It’s always a long process in development. But yes, he suddenly decided, ‘Now is the time I’m ready to do this.’ And I actually think it was one of the best things about it, because it’s basically 40 years since the first recorded case of AIDS. We didn’t anticipate that, but it felt like those 40 years have given us a lot of time to think and reflect and decide about which way we wanted to tell a story, and he said that what he hadn’t seen as much was the joy of living in that period. The love and the laughter that went along with the tears because inevitably, you know, these people had just found their way into a new life and they’ve got away from the trappings of the middle class suburbia or even the horrors of what Roscoe Babatunde went through, and they’re like, ‘I’m having the time of my life. I’m not going to give up. I’m not giving this up for that yet. It’s all made up.’ Which is why that montage exists. Because lots of them were denying that it did. You know, they didn’t believe it was real. How could it be real? So, yes, I think Russell staunchly supports the joy because he says some of his friends would rise from the graves and destroy him if he didn’t show the fun and the joy and the love that they all experienced during that period as well. So, they were his influences. 

Christine Lalla: Lovely. Thank you so much, Peter. 

Peter Hoar: Thank you. 

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