What to say if you liked it
A chronicle of the cream of that beacon of British broadcasting – ITV.
What to say if you didn’t like it
If Jamie Oliver was to continue his crusade to make all the nation’s children healthy again by targeting TV, ITV would be the baleful Turkey Twizzlers.
What was good about it?
• Clips from the 1960s, which was either a bastion of innovative television – the
Avengers, Danger Man – or was selectively edited to appear so. But nonetheless, the dynamism of such shows was very impressive as was the eeriness and invention that’s so rarely a feature of ITV1 drama these days.
• Tim Roth in Made In Britain.
• The Sweeney and Minder appearing as rooted in their time as the ZX81, and seeming all the fresher for it.
• The tale of how Upstairs, Downstairs “gathered dust” on ITV’s shelves for a while before it was broadcast as a Sunday filler and achieved astronomical ratings. Perhaps there’s a message for contemporary ITV chiefs who have a number of promising dramas on their shelves, some as old as three years.
What was bad about it?
• Michael Grade saying the bank-busting Adventures of Robin Hood is “still running somewhere”, which is odd because we can’t recall ever seeing it on British TV (obviously after its initial run).
• Very little time was afforded to each show. Melvyn Bragg made it seem like a flick
through a magazine as you wait for a train. And the shows that did feature seemed to have been as much determined by who was available for interview as much as the quality of the drama itself. This meant that, because Roger Moore contributed, both the popular Saint and disastrous Persuaders were shown; but this meant that Cracker and The Prisoner, perhaps the best ITV dramas of the past 40 years, were passed over with a token quarter-screen brief clip.
• Remarking that Inspector Morse recognized the “good” things in life like “opera”, in yet another instance of cultural snobbery that people who like “opera” are somehow more enlightened that those who don’t because such a esoteric appreciation is the result of mental acuity rather than listening to awful, bombastic platitudes bellowed in a foreign language.