Friday, 29 March 2013

Bird of Prey - Richard Griffiths

For most people Richard Griffiths will be Uncle Monty, the Dursley or heaven forbid the cooking copper in Pie in the Sky. Of maybe people will think if him from the History Boys. For me I will always associate him with something much earlier in his career. It was 30 years ago, and  Griffiths played the lead in a computer conspiracy thriller called Bird of Prey.  I have never seen it since and suspect it might have not stood the test of time. But there were a number of remarkable features. Firstly, being made in 1983 it was made at the threshold of the digital age. Kids as school had ZX spectrums and they could do nothing of interest with them. This thriller about digital conspiracy felt so new and on the edge. TV inspired by Kraftwerk. But secondly it was that Griffiths had the lead role, playing a repressed, beaten down civil servant working opposite (but not with) an even greyer colleague.
Griffiths gentle voice and distinctive shape got him many character roles. But I still think nobody today would risk casting like this in a high profile thriller. Griffiths character proves, after many reverses to be tenacious and brave. It was luddite at heart, fearing a Kafkaesque world that through manipulation of computers peoples lives are changed.
I am now going to put Bird of Prey on my Birthday wish list.