Derek The Dentist

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A documentary on the last month of a retiring dentist in Camden Town, London.

Derek and Lesley, his receptionist/nurse/verbal sparring partner have been working together for over twenty years, and like any relationship it has its tensions. But there is something very special about this dental practice and his clientele, who range from film stars to road sweepers, are aware it is the end of some sort of era.

A film about work, death, community, relationships and teeth.

* * *

I had been a patient of Derek Blackmore for around ten years. I had always wanted to make a film about his dental practice, not least because of the extraordinary and hilarious conversations between Derek and Lesley as I sat in the chair with clamps and drills in my mouth. Derek was also a very good dentist and served a very wide range of clientele (including a very famous movie actress who appears briefly in the film). Most importantly, Derek's surgery was a community service, offering very reasonable (and often very flexible) rates and the sort of business which is almost impossible to sustain in the 21st century. Derek was reluctant for me to make the film (although Lesley was always keen) until it came to his retirement in the summer of 2013.

The film is intended to amuse and entertain, but I also hope it has a few things to say about community values and ways of life that are under threat.

I shot the film over a period of a month, on my own, using a Panasonic HPX250 (1080p25) and a pair of radio mikes. The film was first shown in February 2014 at the Working Mens College, Camden Town.


Derek The Dentist   2013  20 minutes

Shot, directed and edited by Roland Denning