It came to my attention yesterday that a cast of pretty well known older actors has been strutting about suggesting that the latest series of their pretty well known detective drama isn’t terribly good, and it’s all the fault of the writers, who wrote banal, repetitious stuff that wasn’t sufficiently character driven. ie didn’t put them, the stars, front and centre and allow them to do whatever the hell they wanted to do. What’s more, they were quite happy to include guest directors when they were handing out drubbings, suggesting that they would happily give anyone the runaround, on set, who didn’t come into line with their way of thinking.
It wasn’t funny and it wasn’t clever, and I’m tempted to think that the fools just shot themselves in the foot, or, I suppose, since three of the four leads were quoted in the news article, feet.
I don’t watch television, but, if I did, and I heard an actor say this sort of thing, I would think two things. I do think two things.
- I won’t be watching this stuff if the actors think it’s so bad they won’t even meet their obligations to promote the material.
- I don’t want to support anyone doing anything, who is clearly a t*sser.
The so-called stars of this show, are, I suppose, in the small-scale world of UK television, bankable, and you could make an argument that the show might not be able to continue without them. However, and it’s a big but, I’m guessing they all saw scripts and storylines ahead of filming, and I’m also guessing that directors were slated for episodes in advance. If the actors really had problems with the material there are channels for making their feelings about the course the show was taking known. They could and should have used them long before the episodes were in the can, and very long before they were giving interviews to promote the new series.
Everyone has a job to do. Everyone is commissioned to do the job that they do. Writers are employed to write, directors to direct and actors to act, and it’s precisely when there’s a power shift that things start to go horribly wrong.
If I was the money man at the production company putting out this particular show, and, since it’s the BBC, as a license-fee payer, I am, and you are too, I’d be slapping some wrists bloody hard, seeking some public apologies and levying some fines.
This behaviour was unprofessional and singularly unappealing. I don’t know or really care whether the show will survive it, and, frankly, I don’t care whether the actors concerned have rendered themselves unemployable in the process. It would, I suspect, serve them right if they had.