Kenith Trodd, the legendary TV drama producer who worked with Bob Hoskins on the classic 1978 drama Pennies From Heaven has spoken of his late friend’s brilliance in the part of travelling sheet music salesman Arthur Parker.
Trodd paid tribute to Hoskins’ acting in the classic drama which pioneered the Dennis Potter trope of having the characters mime popular songs.
However, the pair’s working relationship went back further than that: Trodd first cast Hoskins as a homicidal Broadmoor inmate in Jimmy O’Connor’s Her Majesty’s Pleasure, a drama he produced in 1974.
“It was a kind of cockney Cuckoo’s Nest clone for Play for Today, then, rather perversely we cast him as a pin-stripe business man in Potter’s Schmoedipus in 1976,” added Trodd who produced all of Potter’s seminal work including The Singing Detective and classic films such as Dreamchild and Blade on the Feather.
Of Hoskins involvement in Pennies from Heaven he told RadioTimes.com: “We had narrowed our auditions for the lead in Pennies From Heaven down to Alan Bates, Hywel Bennett and Jonathan Pryce when it hit me in the night that Arthur Parker was created to be Bob and only Bob.
“It took the briefest meeting with him – Bob instantly incongruous on a Television Centre sofa – for Dennis and [director] Piers Haggard to agree.
“Bob jumped many improbable heights in his career after Pennies but he never did anything better – a great friend, a preciously vulnerable man and someone who made us re-define greatness in an actor.”
Hoskins began his film career in the 1970s and found fame playing Harold Shand in the iconic 1980 gangster film The Long Good Friday alongside Helen Mirren. An Oscar nomination for best actor and Cannes Film Festival, Bafta and Golden Globe wins followed his lead role in another British film, Mona Lisa.
He retired from acting 18 months ago after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.
Ben has worked as a professional journalist specialising in TV and the arts for nearly twenty years. After a two year stint on local newspapers in the mid 1990s, he spent more than 5 years as the broadcast reporter at the Stage newspaper. Following that he enjoyed staff reporting positions at the Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Times breaking stories and writing features before settling as a full time freelance writing for an array of newspapers and magazines - but mainly for the Guardian, Evening Standard, Broadcast, Independent and the New Statesman where he wrote a column.