Mon, Sep 7, 2009
[Photo by greenkozi]
Blimey, take a few days out to spend some time in the Spanish sun with the Little ‘Un and all hell breaks loose, in TV terms at least.
Seems that some of the industry’s great and good have been having a pop at various aspects of the media establishment and what it purveys.
First off – and in no particular order – Anne Robinson says that ‘TV is sexist and ageist‘, although not THAT sexist and ageist since she’s apparently been wooed back to front Watchdog.
Next, prolific Twitterer and lexicological living legend Stephen Fry joined forces with Jimmy Mulville – star of Who Dares Wins, and co-founder of indie giant Hat Trick Productions [Have I Got News For You / Fone Jacker / Father Ted] – to take a critical swipe at the current prevalence of ‘play-it-safe’ media production, with TV execs being so obsessed by issues surrounding compliance that shows have stopped reflecting real life.
Incidentally, from personal experience when running Sky TV’s Reach For The Sky initiative back in the day, it’s bloody difficult to read the news ‘clearly and distinctly’ when there’s constant stream of instructions and updates from the gallery pouring into your earpiece, but hey, what do I know?
And not quite sure why Sir Terry has been so angsty and newsworthy of late. It’s almost like he’s got a book to promote or something. Oh.
Channel 4 has been receiving no end of complaints from the viewing public about the state of its output too, in particular the quality of its comedy offerings. Given what I’ve been watching over the past few weeks, I can’t say that I’m surprised at this outpouring, but I think that this criticism can be applied to all broadcasters.
Being possibly the most subjective of all genres, comedy is notoriously difficult to get right, yet in the main, commissioners and producers continue to invest in established ‘faces’ or talent, preferring to flog dead horses rather than welcoming new blood into their stables.
This needs to change and we’re already – ahem – grooming some future thoroughbreds in this regard.
James Murdoch’s Bons Mots
Finally, as the industry gathered for its annual outing to the Edinburgh TV Festival, James Murdoch, Chairman and Chief Exec of News Corporation took to the podium to give the event’s headlining MacTaggart speech.
I’ll leave you to make up your own mind on the contents of his speech, but one chunk, a few words long, did have a particular resonance with me and the aspirations of Not From Concentrate:
“People are very good at making choices: choices about what media to consume; whether to pay for it and how much; what they think is acceptable to watch, read and hear…”
Power To The People
This statement underlines the power of ‘the people’. Widen the people’s access, provide a platform that allows individuals to shape and proactively contribute to the content that is being produced – for them – in this brave new multimedia world, and I believe that solutions to the questions and commentaries above will very quickly be uncovered.