Thursday, February 12, 2009

We shall never see their like again

Not sure how much you care about ITV drama - perhaps not a lot, but it should be said it's a shame that a lot of stuff that's been in the can for some time will more than likely never been shown.

It's just been announced that three dramas: Octavia (a Jilly Cooper adaptation), Gun Rush (starring Timothy Spall) and Sleep With Me (with Adrian Lester) are unlikely to see the light of day, this year at least.

This is because ITV has to pay the independent production companies half the money when they make the show and the other half when they actually broadcast it. The credit crunch means they can't afford to do this.

So they join a long list of dramas made by ITV that have never been shown, some in my working journalist days I actually did interviews with the cast for, like Me and Mrs Jones, in which Robson Green played a journalist who falls in love with the Prime Minister (Caroline Goodall). I did interviews for this in 2001, one of them, with Goodall on September 11th. When I got back to the office it was all kicking off.

Then there's Hereafter (AKA Shades), starring Stephen Tompkinson and Dervla Kirwin when they had just split up. It was meant to capitalise on their golden couple status, but sadly the atmosphere on set was nothing less than chilly. It'll n ever see the light of day.

And what about Avenging Angels with Jessica Stevenson? That was made about nine years ago. Or series two of Distant Shores with Peter Davison and Samantha Bond? And what's happened to May Contain Nuts with Sophie Thompson? There's more, but I can't think of it. I'll add it as it comes to me.

So all that plus no more Heartbeat, The Royal, Wire In The Blood and John Nettles quitting Midsomer Murders and The Bill being cut to one episode and there's not a lot to see here.

I like drama. I think it's sad that it's coming to this. It's not a great time to be in the TV industry.


Clair said...

It's no wonder I so rarely watch telly any more. Mind you, if they start to repeat The Cedar Tree, The Crezz, Gems, General Hospital and Emergency!Ward Ten on primetime ITV1,I might be interested. But seriously - what the hell are they going to replace it with? I predict wall-to-wall karaoke/Vernon Kay/sleb fly-on-the-wall shows.

Benjamin said...

You can add Bombshell, that army drama starring Zoe Lucker off Footballers' Wives, to the list.

Does seem to me to be a bit harsh on the companies who were commissioned to make them.

Imagine if you asked a tailor to make a bespoke suit for you, only then to turn around and say you were only prepared pay half because you'd had second thoughts?

Five-Centres said...

I'd forgotten about Bombshell, but I think it's mainly because it's so truly bad that they'd rather not show it.

I agree, it is unfair on the prod.companies.

TimT said...

I didn't think ITV had actually cancelled Heartbeat or The Royal - they've just said they're not going to make any more for a while, as they've got the next 18 months' worth of episodes in the can already. Presumably this gives them the option to resume production once the economy picks up.

And Midsomer Murders is carrying on, albeit with a different lead. Personally I'll miss Joyce Barnaby more than John Nettles' character. She's Mrs T's role model.

Clair said...

'Imagine if you asked a tailor to make a bespoke suit for you, only then to turn around and say you were only prepared pay half because you'd had second thoughts?'

Hey, that happens in journalism, too. You're asked to write a thousand words, they publish 500 and sometimes that's what you get paid for. Or it's payment on publication. Grrr.

gervase_fen said...

Thursday the 12th with Ciaran Hinds, which I remember getting full pick of the day coverage in the Radio Times (well, pick of the day in that Alison Graham called it implausible tosh.) Pulled (or so ITV said) because it featured a fictional MP and the 2001 election had just been called.

Five-Centres said...

I thought that had gone out Gervase, as I interviewed Maria Doyle Kennedy for that about 100 years ago. But perhaps you're right, it may well have been pulled. Rings a bell.