And I quickly followed it up with
(that’s not to say it won’t be the next Blackadder of course, but with excellent fx)
And that’s part of it: the money involved in TV makes me dizzy. Should most people get paid more, while back up by more unpaid gofers too?
And then there’s the cost of making stuff, out of real things, or computer graphics. It’s scary!
I loved Little Britain on Radio 4, and I was delighted to see it making a big splash on Amazon a few years later when I was working in China. Being out of the country, I had no idea it had moved over to TV, but I was happy for them. I also didn’t realise that the unnecessarily cruel stuff that had been cut from the radio series, was deemed suitable for the broader TV audience.
Anyway, even while living in the UK, I had heard but never seen The League of Gentlemen, the Mighty Boosh, Fist of Fun… that last one was maybe what made me protective. I was snorted at derisively by a former (radio!) colleague when she mentioned seeing it. “Oh, did they made that for TV too?” I foolishly asked. This topped off my ignorance of essential generational culture.
Well, get stuffed. I didn’t grow up in this country, so I don’t know what was on Channel 4 on Thursday evenings at 10:30. Hell even if we hadn’t been on the wrong side of a hill we’d still have had S4C anyway. Just as no, Brooklynite, I don’t drink coffee or drive. Big deal. You know about Zig and Zag on the Den? Queueing for a Living? Scrap Saturday? Or, indeed, 中央人民广播电台的《拇指英雄》? No? Pfff, I’m ashamed to be seen in public with you.
At a recent In The Dark event, we touched on the subject of radio people doing telly. Some of the UK and Ireland’s most respected radio producers said they were enjoying TV work, some are keen to try, and some said they’d avoid it if they could. As for me? I’m always honest with clients: I can use the video editing software, I know the basics of shooting, I can plot out a story. But I haven’t studied video story-telling in depth (I’ve learned about TV news and assessed kids TV, and picked up lots from family who work in TV and film, but I respect my counterparts enough to know there’s a lot I don’t know). There may be things I do that a professional video producer would cringe at.
TV can be a-maz-ing. It can be engrossing, and superbly entertaining. I have a vague sense of injustice for the praise and fortune bestowed on Hollywood movies and drone-heavy TV docs, when one of the greatest stories ever told, Finding Emilie, is just sitting there, without the big bucks. Maybe my gripe is more with Hollywood than television. I’m still happy to pay my TV licence for the one programme I watch over-the-air, F1 on the BBC, and the two I watch online, Qi and Bang Goes the Theory. If I didn’t have the little USB adaptor and associated TV licence to watch the F1, I’d get Radios 3, 4 and 5 entirely for free. And I guess that’s exactly what I don’t want. Great radio deserves recognition, and plaudits, and pay.
p.s. I bet the TV version of Bleak Expectations will be huge, and bring more listeners and practitioners to radio comedy.