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Dennis Potter's 'Pennies From Heaven' - 'We'll Make Hay While The Sun Shines'

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Published on Jun 12, 2010

'Pennies From Heaven' by Dennis Potter. Episode 4: 'Better Think Twice'. In London, travelling sheet music salesman Arthur (Bob Hoskins) is persuading wife Joan (Gemma Craven), who has been left a little money, to set him up in a proper business, off the road and - maybe - away from temptation. His own record shop. As they inspect the empty premises, Joan is still doubtful about the idea but Arthur is euphoric as ever, and, with 'only one thing' on his mind, suggest an appropriate 'christening' for the place. Why not make hay right here - down behind the counter?

The uplifting melody fits the moment perfectly, using a simple and effective much copied back lighting device to 'paint a picture' as the lyrics unfold. Escaping into the feel-good music of the Depression era, Hoskins turns on the charm as he lip-syncs through lyrics with Craven drawn in with child-like enthusiasm, ending with Hoskins' cheeky suggestion.

Music: 'We'll Make Hay While The Sun Shines'. Billy Merrin and his Commanders. (Vocal: Sam Browne). Recorded 1934.

Dennis Potter's award-winning 'Pennies From Heaven' (BBC 1978). Directed by Piers Haggard, produced by long-time Potter collaborator Kenith Trodd, with choreography and design by Tudor Davies and Tim Harvey. One of the finest pieces of television the BBC has ever produced.

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