It seems to me that most UK Dramas fail to break past the 5 million band of ratings. The State Within is now posting just over 3 million, Robin Hood, Spooks and Vincent are all now around 5 and a half. The Beebs latest, The Innocence Project didn't even make it past 3 million.
Is there any rhyme or reason to this when Heartbeat regulary gets 8 million plus? I'm not knocking Heartbeat. Clearly it is a show that must have a wide appeal. Possibly it is ideal digestive biscuit and a cup of tea Sunday night viewing. It hits it's mark.
Doctor Who regulary averaged 7 million plus. Again ideal sit down with family early Saturday evening viewing. It hit it's mark. It also had a huge built in fan base of several generations which wouldn't do it any harm.
Robin Hood started off strongly but has shed a couple of million viewers. Everyone will have an opinion on why that is. And everyone will be right. I think it's a decent enough show, but the barometer for me is 'are my son's mates talking about it at school'. And the answer is no. Maybe it's just not cool enough despite the Robin Hoodie advertising. And maybe to hit the mark in the early Saturday evening slot a show has to be cool.
Or maybe there's just too much soap creeping in to drama. The Bill [slumped to less than 5 million recently] is really a soap with police stories, Casualty and Holby the same but medical stories. They have a loyal but static audience and in my opinion are well past their sell by dates. Shouting, tears and melodrama do not themselves good drama make.
I recently wrote a spec slick action thriller. It got a good response apart from two of the biggest players who gave feedback to the effect that they really enjoyed the script but felt there should have been more character development. So - either they didn't really enjoy the script or they thought I should chuck more character development in there for the hell of it?
It is what it is. That's the way I deliberately wrote it and that's the way it's staying. I've got a meeting with one of those players this week. And if the subject is brought up again that's exactly what I'm going to say.
I don't want to do 'mid-life crisis with testicular cancer' or 'woman realising her marriage is a sham' stretched out to six hours . There is a place for those kinds of dramas, of course, but I don't watch them. I want to do 'appointment TV'. Bold, in your face, escapism. And I'm pretty sure a lot of the viewing public feel the same way. That's the mark we have to hit if we're to break the 5 million barrier.
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3 years ago