Tony Jordan has just had two connected projects commissioned by ITV. One is 'Moving Wallpaper' a comedy drama about behind the scenes on a soap. The other is Echo Beach.- The soap itself.
Now when I first read that I thought 'Cool Idea!' And having thought about it I still think 'Cool Idea'
But will it work? That is the question.
See, as I understand it one show will go out on ITV1 and the other immediately after on ITV2. So what you are going to have in effect are two entirely different audiences. One for the comedy show the other for the soap. Granted some of the comedy viewers may tune over to see the soap and how it came together after the behind the scenes shenanigans, but that will mainly be to snigger.
The soap viewers may probably not watch the comedy of the behind the scenes as this could spoil their enjoyment of the soap. Especially if they know some of the comedy viewers are watching along and sniggering. Soap is all about believability.
I suppose it depends on the tone of each of the shows. But with a title like Moving Wallpaper, I don't expect the comedy to be all that complimentary to soaps.
So when I think Cool Idea do I really mean 'Interesting Idea' - because if I really thought it was a Cool Idea I don't think I'd have so many doubts about whether it can actually work.
It's about the imponderable X factor again. They may have it. They may not. But imagine if Eastenders had a comedy called ' Walford Wankers' showing immediately before it based on the goings on behind the scenes of Eastenders. I don't think that would help Eastenders ratings. Not unless they changed the tone of Eastenders.
[I'm available for both, either, Barmitzvahs, Christenings and Funerals Tony]
And let's take a look at the writers' situation. Out of the two, which would you rather watch, the comedy drama or the soap? Let's say 99% would say the comedy drama. Because probably 99% of us would prefer to write it.
So most of the writers on Echo Beach are going to think they won second prize. Unless they are the same writers of course, which I would doubt. Soap is one beast and comedy drama is another, and not many do both well. It's going to take the managerial powers of Zeus to prevent a full scale blood bath in story conference.
I hope this works. I can't help feeling it could be a disaster waiting to happen.
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