This chapter explores Alan Clarke's work for the ‘unmistakable individuality and authenticity’, which, as Mark Shivas (1990) argued, made him ‘a real auteur in a way that very few British directors are’. It combines a broadly chronological study of Clarke's dominant themes and approaches with an awareness of various contexts: the institutional contexts in which he worked, critical debates on television form and the methodological problems that arise when attributing authorship to a television director. Clarke gave a voice to those on the margins of society, whether empathising with victims of neglect and poverty in Horace (1972), Diane (1975) and Road (1987), or unflinchingly exploring the racism of Tim Roth's neo-Nazi Trevor in Made in Britain and the hooliganism of Gary Oldman's Bex in The Firm (1989). He portrays characters resisting the ‘discourses’ of the state, whilst avoiding imposing a discourse upon them by refusing narrative embellishment or inappropriate stylistics.
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