“If ever there was an example of ‘security’ factors being used as a pretext for political vetting, it is at the BBC. When their security procedures were revealed in 1985, the corporation said that vetting was restricted to a relatively small number of people who had access to ‘sensitive information’. But in reality a large number of BBC employees – ranging from Graduate Trainees and journalists to arts producers and drama directors – were vetted by MI5 via the Personnel Department.”
Subversive Is As Subversive Does
14 September 2004
The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that the Dutchman was alluding to the information my insider shared with me. Especially since she was informed by a proxy to an MI6 operative in early 2002, that MI5 had blacklisted my name as ‘a potential subversive’ in Autumn 2001.
Essentially, I was placed under long-term surveillance because I was the only witness to her testimony who wasn’t compromised. They also knew she had commissioned me to turn her story into a book or a movie, since they were reportedly bugging our calls from the 14th of September 2001 – the day we started our ‘sensitive’ discussions.
Additional ‘vetting’ was then triggered just one month later by the firm commitments of two heads of department at the BBC, who agreed to help facilitate production of a television series I wrote called GEORDIE BOYS.
This naturally meant that MI5’s operative in the BBC Personnel Department was given my details, so that they could run a standard background check, which obviously unearthed the fact that I had already been placed under surveillance indefinitely as a ‘potential subversive’.
Well, subversive is as subversive does, when all is said and done.
Sabotaged From Within
I was commissioned to write and direct the series by two seasoned television producers, Martyn Auty and Ian Gordon, in the summer of 2001. They have both worked on various BBC television productions over the years, including Gentleman’s Relish, with Dougie Henshall and Billy Connolly. It was actually Dougie’s introduction to Martyn which led to the commission.
The producers effectively lost the £35,000 they paid me to write three feature length episodes, when the new BBC head of drama passed on the project in the spring of 2002, instead of green-lighting it, so that we could begin production that summer, as planned.
She did so despite former head of drama, Peter Salmon, pitching it to her with his enthusiastic endorsement of what he believed would become ‘Event TV’ the previous October.
The Hidden Hand
The proposed £2.25 M financing of production was secretly vetoed when I failed the standard MI5 background check. The last thing the BBC controllers wanted was for my ‘subversive’ voice to be heard, given what MI5 knew I knew about the real perpetrators of 9/11.
Lest we forget, the BBC had a journalist standing in front of the little-mentioned Building 7, announcing that it had been destroyed before it actually had been.
This must be recognized as the ‘smoking gun’ which proves the BBC had prior knowledge of events of that day, along with every major broadcaster which had crews in place before the events unfolded.
Which naturally means that the BBC has a vested interest in preventing me from becoming the loudest voice in the ailing British film industry, simply by making popular movies with messages worth hearing, outside of their system of control.
As I alluded to in the foregoing, subversive is as subversive does. Nevertheless, in Shakespearean terms, today feels like The Ides of March in September, so I’m already preparing myself for the worst of all outcomes.
If I don’t keep my wits about me, nobody else will.
Make or Break
Olivier and I have been due a conference call with Allied Irish Bank for several weeks, following their commitment to cash-flow the Letter of Credit last month.
If they do so, we can finally start shooting NEFARIOUS next month, which a cast and crew of more than sixty have been ready to do since November 2000, just a few months after Christopher Walken said he was “really psyched” to play a cocaine baron called ‘Elkiar’, provided we can cash-flow production and pay his $500,000 fee.
Should that not happen, I’m pretty sure that we won’t be able to persuade most of the cast to wait any longer and I’ll be forced to shoot the film on Digital Video, instead of 35 mm, probably with a cast of complete unknown or amateur actors and a skeleton crew.
In which case, I will know for a cast-iron certainty that a Bilderberg-controlled bank pulled out of the deal because I turned down an offer I wasn’t supposed to refuse.
We would then have to expect similar results when we ask the same of every other bank capable of cash-flowing film production, on any of our projects.
Given that the AIB chairman was a Bilderberg attendee in June this year, the portents are far from good, since that means the Dutchman merely has to make one call to somebody he already knows, in order to blacklist my name at AIB.
Notwithstanding the carnage that might arise in my life, should that outcome manifest itself, I know in my heart that I did the right thing. There wasn’t a single moment when I considered selling my soul, no matter what consequences I have to face as a result.
In any event, I’ve already been graced with the love and affection of beautiful women, as well as critical and public acclaim for my work; whilst I’ve never been driven by the pursuit of fame and riches, let alone becoming remotely “Bono-like”.
So even if the Dutchman had offered me Kurosawa-like status in world cinema, a truckload of glittering awards, billions in cash and a harem of gorgeous nymphomaniacs, he still would have been on a hiding to nothing.
Blacklisted by MI5, the BBC and the Banks
Whatever else transpires, the next ten years of more of my life will be determined by the events which have unfolded since my previous entries in this diary today.
Our telephone meeting with Allied Irish Bank finally happened this afternoon. The singular agenda for the call was supposed to be securing a firm date for the deposit of our Letter of Credit and the cash-flowing of production. However, Bilderberg had other ideas.
We were told that the decision to renege on the deal had been made anonymously, from the highest executive level at the bank, without any explanation being offered. Just a simple instruction that NEFARIOUS would not be cash-flowed by AIB.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, another investor, who had agreed to provide 40% of the budget for the rest of our slate, pulled out because their line of credit has fallen through.
This implicitly means that we cannot rely on any bank to cash-flow films to which my name is attached because they are all controlled by the Bilderberg controllers.
To make matters worse, Olivier and I only have a three month window to re-finance our three A list projects. The originating producers don’t have to pay us the $600,000 we are due under contract, along with 5% of the net profits, if we can’t raise the financial commitments we need from new investors before the end of the year.
That means I could well end up not being suitably credited as the producer who rescued BOBBY from ‘development hell’, which would be so typical of this largely corrupt and unscrupulous industry, in which trustworthy partners are as rare as hen’s teeth.
UWP would then lose its 5% of the net, which translates into potential losses of a few million dollars on that film alone, if it makes the $120 M I’ve predicted it will in my sales estimates.
So Much For Bad News… Here’s The Terrible News
In all sincerity, I honestly don’t know how I got through all the calls I had to make to deliver the terribly bad news this evening but somehow I did.
I lost count of the number of times one of the cast, producers or crew broke down in tears, when I told them that production of the film is not going ahead as planned because the bank refused to deposit our investor’s funds.
No matter how much I wanted to, I didn’t have the heart to ask any of them to help me make it the hard way, without getting paid and having to cover our own expenses. Even though I know that’s the only way I’m ever going to get this film made, now that I’m Persona Non Grata in every film finance plan.
The Icemen Cometh
Then I was reduced to a puddle of tears on the floor, when Kim offered to play ‘Elkiar’, if Christopher Walken pulls out, as I know for a fact he will without a guaranteed fee.
Kim is a true friend and will one day be richly rewarded for everything he has done for me, if there is any justice in this fucked-up world.
Not long afterwards, my friend, mentor and co-producer, Paul Tivers, who learned his trade working with James Cameron, Stephen Spielberg and Ridley Scott, was predictably gutted by the news, having re-mortgaged his house to get through the last three years.
He is nevertheless in agreement that there can now be absolutely no doubt in the mind of any critical thinker – I really have been ‘blacklisted’. Just like Ken Loach was in the wake of his hard-hitting BBC television play, Cathy Come Home.
The difference being that Ken was an openly committed and radical Socialist when he was blacklisted by MI5. Whereas, I was tagged as a potential subversive because of what I agreed to do with my Bilderberg insider’s information. The establishment clearly views that as far more dangerous than mere radical political persuasion.
This day’s events will no doubt force me back into the underground film scene, from which I emerged in 1998, without a pot to piss in. So I have no fear of facing all of that again, if it comes to it. But I am devastated at the thought that everything we have put into this film might be for nothing.
The End of the Beginning
Today was the day the beginning of my life came to an abrupt end. Every step of the way, prior to this point, I have always been graced with success in all my creative endeavours.
Now I have hit an impasse, which necessarily means I have no choice but to make NEFARIOUS the hard way, at the potential cost of everything I have worked so hard to build over the last fifteen years.
One of my co-producers on our three US projects called me this evening. He virtually begged me to put NEFARIOUS on hold, so that I can focus all my efforts on re-financing the other films on our slates.
He and almost everybody else are desperately trying to convince themselves that my claim that I’ve been blacklisted is just the paranoid fear of a dope-smoking recalcitrant, who simply needs to conform to what’s expected of him.
However, I have reminded them all that I only got into this business to make my own films. So there is no way I would ever agree to shelve NEFARIOUS. Even if that means I lose out on every other project.
Reciprocations of True Friendship
The call with Dougie Henshall was by far the most difficult. Nobody, except Kim and Paul, has sacrificed as much for NEFARIOUS. I could hear in his voice that he was floored by the news. But I didn’t expect him to say this:
“I would never have said this if things had been different today. And you already know that it’s not because I don’t believe in you, Michael. But even if you end up getting the money to make it, I’m getting too old to play ‘Lez’.”
I just about held back the tears and told him that I completely understood. Despite the fact that I simply can’t imagine any other actor playing the pivotal role of ‘Lez’.
If the audience doesn’t love that character, they won’t love the film and Dougie is one of the most lovable and charismatic actors of his generation, so finding a replacement for him is nigh on impossible.
Time To Let Go
Nevertheless, the painful truth, which Dougie has never even alluded to, is that he’s long since been advised that his commitment to me has hampered the previously meteoric progress of his career, whether we like it or not.
Therefore, I had no hesitation ending that at my first opportunity, by letting Dougie move on from NEFARIOUS today. Without trying too hard to persuade him to change his mind.
I also did this without accepting his offer to play the bent DEA agent, ‘Dawson’, if we can get the investment cash-flowed, which the sinking feeling in my gut is telling me will never happen now.
It’s the very least I can do for Dougie, even though it will almost certainly mean we don’t communicate for a while. That is going to be tough, after being so close for the best part of the last four years, since we bumped into each other at Cannes in May 2000. He has been another true friend, without doubt, through some very difficult times.
I must be philosophical about the situation, rather than being triggered by my obviously frayed emotions.
That which is difficult to acquire is seldom difficult to lose. Which means we must appreciate those things while we have them and cherish the memories of them when they are absent from our lives.
The more I reflect upon the trajectory of this truly sorry tale, the more I am convinced that nobody will believe a word of it, unless they are fully availed of the extraordinary course which the life I have lived to the full has taken.
Especially when I have every intention of rising from the ashes of my burning career, with a film that nobody can ignore.
Even if I have to do almost everything myself and no matter how long it takes, I will find a way to vanquish my adversaries and pay everybody back for what they have done for me.
I owe it to Kim, Paul, Dougie, Olivier and everybody else who has invested their energy, credibility, talent and resources in every creative project I have conceived, written, produced or directed. Least of all, I owe it to myself.
Almost always, the best place to start is at the very beginning.