From his childhood in working-class, war-torn Birmingham to his passionate battle to bring controversial topics into the public eye through film and TV, The Day the Music Died is the memoir of BBC director and producer, Tony Garnett.
'An extraordinary book by an extraordinary man' Ken Loach
Tony Garnett's story begins in working-class, war-torn Birmingham where he movingly describes the trauma of his mother's death following a back-street abortion. Nineteen days later, stricken with grief, Tony's father committed suicide and Tony was sent to live with other family members. He eventually moved to London and was part of the counterculture scene in the 1960s.
Tony takes us behind the scenes of a selection of his more famous productions, offering secrets and anecdotes, some moving, some amusing. He gives accounts of angry clashes with the BBC and movie executives as he battles to make films that are thought too controversial. Year after year he fought the BBC and movie bosses to bring to the public films about police corruption and psychiatrists' cruelty; films advocating abortion law reform and the abolition of the death penalty; films about the homeless and the waste of young people in poor schools.
A truly remarkable life, which he [Garnett] retells here with passion, wit and unsparing honesty . . . The book is both a fascinating memoir from a pillar of post-war British television and a vivid social history document . . . But it's also a moving story of a man's lifelong attempt to come to terms with unimaginable tragedy, in which he examines himself with the same uncompromising clarity he's brought to all his projects - Independent
A must read - Marsha Hunt
Simply the best television drama creator and producer there has ever been - Mark Thompson, former Director General of the BBC
This is an extraordinary book by an extraordinary man. It tells of a childhood tragedy with consequences that lasted a lifetime.Read it and weep. But this is also an account of a life spent producing innovative and challenging films and television programmes, tangling with the hierarchies of the BBC and Hollywood. Drawing on his unique experience, Tony Garnett makes a devastating critique of contemporary broadcasting. This is a book of many insights, public and deeply personal. - Ken Loach
Brutally honest and beautifully evocative as Garnett reveals the unimaginable horror that shaped the life of one of the greats of British screen - Simon Hattenstone
Brilliant, beautifully written, sincere and moving, from a British television icon.
Tony Garnett's description of his extended loving Birmingham family, the lost world of the industrious working class, the culture and fortitude, is absorbing.
But underpinning it all is a grim wartime tragedy, sweeping away his mother and father, a traumatic life changing event for a young child to witness, which now explains the shaping and making of this exceptional man, and the radical drama he created. - Maggie Brown