Production Notes - April 2003; Publicity Release
AKA Pictures (Reckless, Best of Both Worlds), in association with Wark Clements (The Russian Bride, Bait, State of Mind) presents Alibi, a new two part drama for ITV starring Michael Kitchen (Foyles War, Reckless,A & E, The Secret Life of Michael Fry) and Sophie Okonedo (Clocking Off, Dirty Pretty Things), written by Paul Abbott (Cracker, Reckless, Touching Evil, Clocking Off) produced by Judith Hackett and directed by David Richards. The executive Producers are Eileen Quinn (Wark Clements) and Paul Abbott (AKA Pictures).
A romantic thriller heavily laced with dark humour, Alibi tells the story of two ordinary people unwittingly brought together by a corpse in the conservatory.
Greg (Michael Kitchen) throws a surprise anniversary party to try to salvage a rocky marriage to his beloved Linda (Phyllis Logan). Marcey (Sophie Okonedo), moonlighting as a waitress, feels for Greg's devoted efforts to please his wife and is concerned when she suspects Linda is having an affair with Greg's business partner, Martin. On her way home Marcey discovers she has forgotten her handbag and returns to the now empty, and darkened house.
As Marcey gropes her way through the house she stumbles upon Greg bent over the lifeless body of Martin. Greg eventually convinces her that this was a tragic accident and not the crime of passion she feared, since it becomes clear he had no knowledge of his wife's infidelity.
As time passes they realise how suspicious it will look to call the police , and make a rash decision - they fake a car accident to dispose of the body. Their complicity and combined anxieties as the police begin their investigation, and above all, the need to keep their story straight produces tense and funny moments, but can Marcey's practical approach keep Greg from falling apart?
Alibi also stars Adam Kotz, Hilary Maclean, Jerome Willis, Tom Knight, Paul Thornley and Francis Magee. The drama was commissioned by ITV and will be distributed by Southern Star Sales.
Alibi is a unique new television drama from the same creative team who brought the highly acclaimed Reckless and Best of Both Worlds to our television screens. The writer is Paul Abbott, the producer is Judith Hackett and the director is David Richards, who together form AKA Pictures. The executive producers are Paul Abbott and Eileen Quinn, Head of Drama for Wark Clements (formerly Monogram Productions).
Alibi grew out of a germ of an idea by Paul Abbott, David Richards explains: "The idea for this story began some years ago. Paul ,Judith and I started talking about working together before we made Reckless. I had been directing some of Paul's earlier material ['Coronation Street' and 'Children's Ward'], we became friends and started sharing ideas and decided to start our own company, the idea being that we could cherry-pick projects that we were all enthusiastic about and come together whenever possible to make them. Because of our mutual commitments it was a while before ALIBI came to fruition but last summer we finally sat down and started working on the script."
AKA knew they wanted to work with Michael Kitchen again ever since they made Reckless. Producer Judith Hackett says: "I think everyone was quite surprised to see him play that slightly comic role, and he loved it and felt it was a relief not to be playing some stiff upper lip gentleman, which of course he does brilliantly, and this is really the first chance we have had since then to work with Michael in a role written for him."
David Richards describes Alibi "as a story of a man who is very much in love with his wife, but someone who really can't get anything else together. He meets a young, ostensibly ordinary young woman who has an ability to organise, and moreover, to organise him. And their relationship develops through necessity."
But while all the programme-makers were decided that Alibi was a great idea for a script, they remain unanimously undecided as to how it should be described generically. David Richards explains: "Most telly you can categorise quite easily but when the three of us sat down round our kitchen table to discuss it, none of us could sum it up and we have never managed since. Even a writer with Paul's talent has difficulties," he laughs. "I knew I wanted to do something witty - this deals with an intense situation after all, but I wanted its treatment to be witty, and not too earnest. It is not a comedy, and it is not a straightforward thriller. I suppose it is an idiosyncratic take on a thriller about two very odd people who would not normally meet or have anything to do with each other."
Alibi is a co-production with Wark Clements, whose drama division (previously known as Monogram Productions) is headed by Executive producer Eileen Quinn. Judith says: " David met Eileen on another project and introduced her to Paul and myself. We talked about doing this as a collaboration and felt we would enjoy working together and hopefully there will be other drama projects we'll co-produce in future." Eileen adds, "It is a pleasure to see a team of good friends bring a good story together, and I am glad to have been able to take part in Alibi. Good talent and relationships are central to our strategy across the board, and it's hard to beat this particular line-up! We actively seek to partner smaller independents when the chemistry is right, and when the combination means that one plus one equals three. It's a terrific project and I am sure AKA will go from strength to strength."
David Richards continues, "AKA will continue to develop new projects, the intention being that we all have other projects we are involved with and we plan to carry on doing things for other companies as individuals because we all want to do a range of projects. What we want to do together within AKA are projects where we can use our combined talents, such as they are, to produce things that might be a little of out of the ordinary."
Judith Hackett adds: "We are at the point where we want to take it a step at a time, working with interesting projects and nice people. Paul Abbott is a great supporter of new writing talent, and because I have worked as head of development, I have a lot of contact with new young writers. Paul really identifies with how difficult the system is for new talent to break through, so the idea is that AKA would be a champion for new, as well as established writers, and hopefully they will get some benefit by working with us."