Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Ratings and Rantings

I'm looking at the BARB figures for week ended 3rd June. And if I'm scratching my head then you can bet that network execs are shitting their pants. I'm intrigued. They are seeing their pensions flying out the window. Well apart from the BBC where failure upwards is the preferred method of promotion.

I wrote my last episode of Casualty maybe 18 months ago. Close on 10 million viewers. [See the Writers Guild blog and Gregory Evans' ballsy Casualty post for an insight into how disposable we writers are] For week ended 3rd June? 6.3 million.

Holby City, which used to push Casualty in the ratings is down to 5 million. [Okay blame the Yorkie Bar Kid for screwing with the scheduling so he could pimp the abysmal Holby Blue]

The Bill [ used to write for this too, around 7 million if I recall] 3rd June? 4.3 million.

BBC's biggest non soap drama? Are visions of blue police boxes flashing through your head? Well close. Hypothermically blue policemen would be closer, because it is New Tricks with a whopping 8.5 million.

I think it is quite watchable by the way and I don't care if you make jokes about my incontinence pants.

The Chase was equalled by BBC2 live nature programme Springwatch. Nuff said.

Here's the English Dave solution. Give the vast majority of the population a reason to come back to network TV. Get rid of the apparatchicks and get creative people making creative shows.

You know the main reason I'm scratching my head? I can't understand how they've screwed it up so badly. How they've let the most powerful medium the world has ever seen be relegated to a Woolworths pick n mix. Some are okay but mostly you have a bag full of crap.


Good Dog said...

Just looking at the figures myself...

Ignoring EastEnders, only six hours of drama in the BBC thirty. Was Holby Blue on that week? Has it (rightly) sunk without trace?

Heck, I watch New Tricks and I enjoy it. There's the US drama NCIS on Five which I catch when I can. My enjoyment of the show is similar to New Tricks in that frankly I don't care what the investigation is about.

Instead it's about the actors and their characters and how they interact in any given episode. Throughout the drama there is a lot of humour that doesn't intrude on the story.

Is that's what's missing from the various Holbyland series? Even ER, which can be really fucking grim at times still has moments of laugh-out-loud humour, even if it's black as midnight.

David Bishop said...

One question to ponder: has the quality of Casualty, The Bill or Holby City changed significantly in the past 18 months? Or is the rise of multi-channel viewing and the inevitable splintering of audiences it causes the major factor in declining audiences for terrestrial TV drama?

English Dave said...

I don't think the quality of these shows has decreased, but I do think they are outdated in their tone and content. They are past their sell by date and really only cater to a small percentage of potential viewers. How many 20 to 40 somethings do you know who have Casualty or Holby on their must watch list? Is it water cooler tv? Absolutely not. And water cooler tv is what is needed to get viewers back.