Where Have All the Script Editors Gone?
My memory may be playing tricks on me but I'm sure that those splendid Wednesday Plays and Plays For Today of my youth were seldom more than an hour long.
Last night we had an ITV 'drama' as they're now called, Who Gets The Dog?, that was almost two hours. Many of us Green Wing fans will have tuned in (why do we still say that? there's no tuning involved) to see the splendid Steven Mangan. I wonder how many people stuck with it beyond an hour.
In this case, never mind script editors. What was the commissioning editor thinking of? What was anybody thinking of?
This was a turkey that arrived a month early. The biggest, most overcooked turkey you're ever likely to see. A turkey that moved at the speed of a snail on valium.
In the short period of my remaining life that I wasted with it, I found myself wondering if the reason that Kevin Whately wasn't actually shagging his bit on the side was because she had an incipient moustache. Or maybe it was just the fall of the sunlight as they lay by a mountain stream like the one that used to be in the Consulate cigarette ads.
I was also concerned that this woman left her folding chairs in his car after they returned from the picnic. They may have belonged to the centre for disturbed teenagers where she worked. It was from there that she carried them when they set off. I had time to do this because the shot of Kevin Whately in his car after she'd left lasted a full ten seconds (I counted). Maybe he was wondering if she'd remembered the chairs. Or whether she'd take it the wrong way if he popped into Boots and bought her some depilatory cream.
Last week we had Channel 4's drama 'Boy A' about a boy who had murdered another child and, now a teenager, was released with a new identity. This also came in at two hours. It was an interesting subject but again I only lasted an hour. I'm probably in a minority here but I found it tedious beyond belief and the central performance as 'Boy A' intensely irritating. I don't blame the actor but he came across as someone with autism, which I don't think was ever the intention. It was also horribly predictable. After half an hour or less, the rest of the plot was all too apparent.
Where are the people who can explore complex subjects and move us to tears within sixty minutes?
Maybe it's that in a variation of Parkinson's Law, programmes have expanded to fill the time available.
In the old days, the Epilogue at 11, followed by the national anthem and close down must have concentrated minds wonderfully.