Friday, January 13, 2006

The box is getting better

Last week, we saw the last of the first series of BBC's Rome.

It was a textbook case of how to market a TV programme. Work out what the hypocrisies of particular newspaper readers are, and play to them. So...
  • Guardian readers pretend to above soaps, but they are secretly addicted to them
  • Daily Mail readers have a prurient fascination with sex on TV. They don't want it banned, but they like the sound of their own voices calling for a ban.
The marketing brief for the show was, therefore:

"Tell the Mail that it contains full-frontal nudity, and tell the Guardian that it's a soap."

Moving on, the luscious forthcoming Poliakoff season on BBC Four is a good enough time as any to complete a post I've been composing, mentally, for some time.

I'd be interested to know if anywhere else in the world benefits from such a fantastic array of quality popular TV as we do in this country?

As far as I know, we invest more in original drama, and the level of public satisfaction with the broadcast choice on offer is second to none. It's always been OK in this country, but, from where I'm sitting, there is a real purple patch at the moment.

Take Verity Lambert's Love Soup a few weeks ago. Or C4's Peep Show. Or the fantastic Sweeney Todd that was shown last week. Or C4's Shameless - soapesque characterisation and great dialogue. Or even Dr Who - a show I look forward to as much as my seven-year-old twins do.

Even Rebus was a pleasant surprise - better than I expected.

I used to study the way that the changing technical environment effects the way we watch TV, but I've not done so for years. But one thing occurs to me:

Now I've got a digital box, I spend a good deal more time watching the better repeats available on the new BBC and ITV channels. I get to watch the Eastenders late showing if I want to, and shows that I like (Shameless or QI for example) allow you to switch over and watch next weeks show at the end of this weeks.

I am watching a lot more of the TV I like without increasing my time in front of the box. Does this mean that a lot of the mid-evening rubbish that the old main channels used to screen are suffering plummeting audiences? Are the main channels under a lot more pressure to produce better drama? Is this why TV is improving?

1 comment:

Deaglan said...

Count yourself lucky in telly stakes. This week I saw that TV3 (crap Irish commercial channel) was actually REPEATING "Celebrity Love Island."
A show which was universally derided for being eye-bleedingly bad (and unsuccessful) and what do they do? Repeat it.
I give up.