STEPHEN GALLAGHER

Screenwriter and novelist

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Screenplays

As writer and director:

OKTOBER (Carnival/LWT) - 1998

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Adaptation of the novel, in three one-hour episodes for ITV. Starring Stephen Tompkinson, Maria Lennon and Lydzia Englert. Initially developed for BBC Drama, the proposal was greenlit one year later by the ITV Network Centre. Filmed entirely on location in London, Broadstairs, Geneva, and Chamonix.

Directed at breakneck pace, there is never a dull moment. The plot is beautifully paced to keep the viewer's attention throughout, a testament to the ability of Gallagher to rework his story for a very different medium. It's not often something of this quality comes along. If you missed it first time round, find someone who videoed it, or wait for a repeat. This is definitely one that deserves to be seen.
A rare successful foray into SF for the ITV network, this is a cracking paranoid thriller with a top notch central performance from Stephen Tompkinson as the bewildered hero. The reality bending plot demands attention and rewards it with a well structured narrative that never fails to grip.

…from the Oktober entry in The Encyclopedia of Fantastic Film and Television, which also carries a full list of cast and crew along with comprehensive background data.

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It's been a ride and I've learned a lot. Like: even the most experienced advice can be wrong. You'll take the blame for all mistakes, so make sure they're your own. Stick to your guns about eyelines and how they'll cut together - others may know the rules but they don't know what you're working towards. The director's chair is where you leave your coat. Just because your camera operator thinks a scene is boring, that doesn't mean it is. If he thinks it's interesting, that probably means you'll have to cut the camera move off the head of the shot. On-set morale is as good as your caterers. The Arriflex camera is a lousy design for handheld work. The moment you say Steadicam, you lose an hour while they set it up. The first assistant director is your life-support. Buy new thermal underwear and wear your oldest clothes - the set may be pristine but lunch will be on the far side of a muddy field. Animals and children are a doddle to work with compared to anything that floats. There's no such thing as a simple little scene inside a car - they're bastards to light and shoot.

For the complete account of the filming see The Oktober E-mails.

The articles section contains a piece on the adaptation of novels into film.