Thursday, July 16, 2009

Blimey, it's all kicking off.

Tony Garnett argues BBC executives need to open up the production process

"When a senior executive says, without shame or the merest blush, that they do not believe in authors, they believe in strategy, what she means is that they follow the advice of the marketing executives who have pored over focus group results. The programme makers are then instructed to construct a series which will attract young men, because that is the strategy; or that a show will not be renewed because the large and appreciative audience is too old, and that is against current strategy. The game now is not about the writers having the freedom to make their sense of the world; it is about creating products and brands which the research has indicated will sell."

Ben Stephenson responds by inviting any critics up to his London office for a fight cup of BBC coffee

Then a load of writers take issue with TG, including Steven Moffat:

"I feel creatively stifled by the BBC every single day - but I'm a writer and 'creatively stifled' counts as anything short of an instant series commission, a guaranteed second series, a cuddle, a guaranteed third series, and a whispered invitation back to 'my place' (where I'll explain that really I've got a five-series arc in mind, and a spin-off.)"

SM's response (as well as comments by Tony Jordan, Heidi Thomas and Billy Ivory) here

I was going to write an incisive and interesting (whilst humorous) counterpoint article to all of the above, and then I realised I had an 18th century literary adaptation to write. So I'd better get on with that.

12 comments:

Jason Arnopp said...

Hello Sir! That last link, to SM's response, isn't working for me. I don't mean I disagree with it - the link literally just isn't working. How dare you stifle my surfing behaviour?!

james henry said...

Sorry about that! Should be fixed now. Please resume your non-productive day.

Jason Arnopp said...

Thank you, Sir. I was all out of displacement activity, and now I'm nicely topped-up. Next stop: making a big cup of tea, in a leisurely fashion.

Piers said...

Genius! I was just out of displacement activity after reading all the drama-fight-news.

Tea-making will commence... now.

james henry said...

Ooh I might have a tea now. And a biscuit!

Boz said...

10.40ish is definitely time for a spot of tea. I'm brewing up as I type.

Love a good bit of professional huffiness. I get in a professional strop *all* the time. It gets me nowhere, but being a in grump for half an hour in the office is most satisfactory.

james henry said...

This is the problem with working from home - no-one notices when you have a big strop, apart from the cat.

Rose said...

Ooooh, are there biscuits? Jolly good.

I find myself agreeing a little bit with both sides (although without any actual experience of what they're talking about).

terraling said...

Well, that all sounds super (the story, rather than the tea and biscuits, which are splendid, and about to be rounded off with some licorice), until I got to the bit where All The Small Things was held up as an example.

- Nigel

Tim Footman said...

Sorry, did Billy Ivory say that All The Small Things was among the "best drama on TV"? Is that some kind of TV writer irony that us mere mortals aren't supposed to get? It was arse.

By the way, how come your wife has no time to blog, but you do? Something iffy there.

james henry said...

Fortunately, I haven't seen most of the dramas on those writers' CVs, so can't comment, phew.

My wife seems to have some kind of 'full-time job', unfortunately. I do my best to put her off, but there we are. Whereas my job consists more of 'arsing about'. Sad but true.

Brennig said...

You make a good point, well. I've just had feedback from a publisher that the first draft of my second novel would be better if the genders of the co-protags were switched. But that's the whole point of the thing. So what if more women than men read books? The point of the work is that...

Sorry. Ranting here.
:-)