Well, my first draft of episode one of BBC4 18TH CENTURY LITERARY ADAPTATION has gone off to the Beeb to see what they make of it. The ideal result would be a tiny amount of rewrites, minor spelling checks etc, followed by hugs all round and a commission for an entire series, but let's see what happens. In the meantime, I'm having to adapt to the idea of writing a period-set drama, pretty much the most expensive kind of television you can make, with a BBC4 budget, which is to say: nuppence.
In theory this means scenes beginning with 'INT' ('interior') = good. Scenes beginning with 'EXT' ('exterior') = very very bad. I can probably justify a couple of central locations, as long as they're used every week, with perhaps one extra 'precinct' each week, as the story demands.
'Desperate Romantics', which I've been watching with interest, counting INTs and EXTs, probably used up the entire budget of BBC4 18TH CENTURY LITERARY ADAPTATION in about the first ten minutes. Not mention people just sort of wandering around in the background all of which have to be retrieved from the right period via the BBC time machine, told to muck about a bit and ignore the cameras, then given intensive therapy sessions before being returned to their own timestreams, all this being cheaper and more practical than using extras. Personally, I reckon they could shave a few extra quid by turning the orchestral score down a notch, but there we are.
Anyway, 'Desperate Romantics' is an hour long (a quarter of which are Tom Hollander's pained silences, which are AWESOME, best in the biz etc), whereas mine will be 6x30mins, so to be fair, the comparison doesn't quite stand.
So that's half hour episodes, limited locations, oh, and a small cast, because apparently actors need paying these days as well. So you really have to work hard to justify any lines in the script not spoken by any of the central characters, something I am attempting to do by having many of them be 'OS' (off-screen) and in a variety of accents, so I can do them myself to save cash. This is not entirely a joke.
More to follow. Hopefully.