Second Best is a winner

A lovely film on BBC2 last night called Second Best. Made in 1994, it starred William Hurt, improbably enough, in the role of a lonely, red-haired sub-postmaster of a tiny Welsh village who wants to adopt a troubled ten-year-old, played perfectly by Nathan Yapp (who, according to his IMDb entry, has done nothing since). Keith Allen also did a good turn as the boy’s vagrant father. Hurt’s accent oscillated wildly between Ireland and Somerset without touching Wales for more than a few syllables at a time, but otherwise he was utterly believable. Even though it was made nearly 10 years ago and shown on the channel’s graveyard shift, its simplicity, tenderness and quietness, as well as the excellence of the writing (by David Cook) and acting, reassured me a little that TV stations aren’t just obsessed with ratings and “dumbing down”. Things still ain’t what they used to be however – I remember in the eighties Channel 4 showing a great art-house movie every Thursday night. (Thanks must go to Metro Life‘s film critic Neil Norman for writing an enthusiastic review of Second Best, without which I might not have bothered staying up for it.)