Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What a tangled web we weave

I guess it's wading through the Gruniad media blog thanks to anons links that has set me off on a political bent [media politics] But make no mistake, media politics play a great part in what gets commissioned and what doesn't.

Take the news that the BBC have just greenlit a remake of The 39 Steps, to be produced by BBC Scotland.

I know, the first question is WHY? Several films and a series have already been made. But hey ho, I happen to love the story. So I thought about it some more. It really makes a lot of sense. Jane Tranter prodigy Ann Mensah, head of drama at BBC Scotland has been coming under fire in the Scottish press for a complete lack of Scottish based commissions. Relying on such Scottish fare as Waterloo Road and Film 2008 wasn't cutting it. A large swathe of the drama budget going on a Scandanavian based detective show didn't help matters.

There is Hope Springs in the offing. A Shed Productions effort already being dubbed by insiders as Hopeless Springs. But on the even more down side I hear the flagship soap River City is in deep doo-doo. The geniuses have decided that rather than be a two half hour a week soap they are going to get rid of many of the characters and sets and turn it into a one hour drama with self contained stories. By the way I'm also informed that the geniuses set about demolishing and rebuilding exterior sets without applying for planning permission and after it was pointed out to them that is a 'little on hold' shall we say.
So....... Fuck the audience then? Change the format and nature of the programme after 6 years? Better to dump it now and start afresh. The audience is going to be spitting feathers so the new format is on a losing wicket from the off. More fodder for the Scottish press.

So with that in mind it makes perfect sense to commission yet another remake of a well known and loved tale. It's Scottish [mainly] It's branded. It's almost guaranteed ratings and even BBC Scotland would have a job screwing it up.

So there you go. If you were in the political know, you could have pitched Brigadoon.


Anonymous said...

I'm one of those 'insiders' Dave so obviously no name no packdrill. You nailed it.

The internet seems to be the only place where any form of dissention can be expressed without cutting your career to the next pay day. Loved your 'Borgisatic' description for the BEEB. Nailed it again.

Anonymous said...

Ooooops 'Borgiastic' sorry

AndrewT said...

Don't forget that those two 'Scottish' commissions, Film 08 and Waterloo Road were made in England and effectively produced in England. Neither were Scottish in origin, with the latter coming with Mensah from BBC Manchester when she was appointed to Scotland. I've met Mensah and she's a really nice and enthusiastic person, but I did get the feeling that she didn't come to Scotland through choice, rather it was a compulsary part of her career path at the Beeb. Even more so when I learned that she spends half of the week in Manchester and London!

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