Wednesday, 8 July 2009

A donkey crossed with a turkey

A new BBC sitcom was shown this evening. It's about TV foreign reporting and written by John Simpson's former significant producer. Unusually, it's an hour long and I spent most of what was a tedious hour - a good part of it shot on location in Africa - wondering how on earth something with a budget sufficient to fund a drove* of excellent Drop the Dead Donkeys got greenlighted. (Actually, I was webbing most of the time, as I'm sure a lot of people do now when they're peripherally 'watching' TV. But I feel sure I didn't miss any laugh-out-loud crackers). The BBC's bureaucratic commissioning process doesn't seem to help in assessing the merits of a script. It wasn't just unfunny it was needlessly inaccurate about the details, the grammar of TV journalism.

One thing that struck me is how often actors and scriptwriters fail to convey the tropes and mannerisms of a journalist's piece to camera (this time the actor was the usually good Martin Jarvis). I think this may be because they try too hard to ham up a format that is essentially formulaic and aspires to impersonality.

It may improve, once it gets going. But it does look like a tremendous misapplication of resources.

*Collective noun for donkeys.


Gadjo Dilo said...

With a bit of luck they'll never put this out of BBC Prime - but they never put out old Drop the Dead Donkeys either, which is a shame.

Gaw said...

I think DTDD was on Channel Four, which I imagine means it can't be on prime.