Monday, July 27, 2009

The Ivory Tower

The Guardian has published a defence of the BBC, by a number of BBC scriptwriters. One of them in particular stands out- Billy Ivory. DJ has already said much of what needs to be said about him but that is no reason not to pile on to Mr Ivory.

It's not just his ridiculous attempts to show what a working class hero he is- "the middle classes always want to claim the good art, the thoughtful art, the liberal art, for themselves...... especially in the criticism of BBC drama is an example of that same insidious snobbery."

It's not his addiction to buzzwords- "consistently evolving", "ambitious", "enabling", "aspiration", "passionately committed", "empower", "passionately" (again), "innovate"

It's not even his addiction to the most absurd cliches to evade criticism- "misty-eyed remembrance of times past is inadequate".

No what I find objectionable is his complacent insularity- "British TV drama is still the best in the world, (NOT American, where we see but the tiniest fraction of a huge trench of stuff, most of which makes CBeebies look like Tolstoy)". So how many BBC TV programmes would be good enough to be on this list? Life on Mars, The Office and maybe a couple of others over the last few years but not many, certainly none of Ivory's output which appears to consist primarily of lovable ex-cons who decide to go back into a life of crime at which point assorted japes occur, would make the list.

It is one thing to say that the lessons of US TV can't simply be imported directly over here, but quite another to airily dismiss the output of a country that judged by either viewing figures or critical acclaim is streets ahead of its rivals is just smug.

Update: One BBC series I have seen and liked recently, which I'd recommend watching when it next show, is Being Human.


James Higham said...

British TV maybe had its heyday in the 70s and 80s, especially in comedy. Not many remember Village Hall or All Gas and Gaiters but they were of a type we won't see made again and that's a pity.

madne0 said...

Ive yet to like a British drama series. Comedy? That's a completely different story, even though the quality has gone down this past few years (The Office and Extras the exceptions).

Blognor Regis said...

Mad Men. Fantastic. I've recently watched the first series in a about a week. Marvellous. Haven't seen any of the listed output of the Guardian's mob save for Life on Mars. That's not through snobbery, it's because time's to short to be spoon fed by TV. We pick and choose nowadays.

Ross said...

"Ive yet to like a British drama series. Comedy? That's a completely different story"

Yes I'd agree with that.

"We pick and choose nowadays."

That is true, almost everything I really want to watch, I see either on the internet or on DVD, rather than waiting for it to be shown at a specified time.