Sunday, November 19, 2006

I Have Sinned

Confession time. I watched Torchwood last Wednesday.

I know, I know, after catching the first couple of episodes I would have preferred radioactive pubic lice to seeing any more. And it was the one with the freaking evil fairies from the bottom of... er, the wood, which doesn’t make it any better.

My excuse was PJ Hammond wrote the episode. As writer of the 1970s children’s adventure series Ace of Wands and creator of the enigmatic and atmospheric Sapphire & Steel almost a decade later, I was interested to see how it would play out. While the episode wasn’t great, within the puerile story parameters laid down, it wasn’t that bad.

I met Peter Hammond some years back. Whereas Russell T Davies turns the spotlight on himself every chance he gets, Hammond is quiet and unassuming, happy to let the work speak for itself. While it may be purely coincidental, some time later his next episode of Midsomer Murders featured a family of characters with my surname. Although I think they turned out to be nerdowells as I recall. What that says about the impression I made on him is for you to decide.

Judging from the recent BARB figures it looked like Torchwood could do with an additional viewer. Shown on BBC3, the first episode grabbed 2.52 million viewers. Episode two, shown immediately afterwards, dropped 21,000 viewers.

Only 1.76 million came back the next week for episode three. By episode four the figures were down to 1.39 million, which is quite a rate of descent. Even the BBC2 repeats, which followed the same pattern of screening episodes one and two the same night, started with 3.03 million viewers then lost over half a million by the next week.

The fall is pretty obvious. The stories are just bad. Flicking channels the previous week I caught a snippet from the episode with the fanboy wank-fodder Cyberwoman.

In the scene, the team discovered security cameras discovered security cameras had been disabled. Luckily the ‘computer expert’ on the team retrieved the missing data from the memory (or something like that). It turned out the cameras had been switched off by the guy who cleans up after their little adventures. Right. So wouldn’t he have wiped the memory as well? Of course, but it would have meant putting more thought into the story.

If the writers don’t give a shit, why should the audience?


At 12:07 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somehow they've managed to make girl-on-girl makeout action untitillating, and totally blown what should have been the highlight of my TV year: a smackdown between a cyborg and pterodactyl. There is no hope.

But falling ratings are no indication of quality. Look at The State Within: from 5.7 million, to 3.8, and 3.1 last week. Dire performance, but a truly compelling drama. Most of that audience was lost to dreck like Catherine Tate and Strictly Confidential, so maybe sometimes audiences are as dense as networks think they are.

At 12:36 am, Blogger Good Dog said...

People who watch Catherine Tate, whatever her cancerous half hour is scheduled against, should be ground up into fertiliser.

Okay, that may seem a little bit extreme to some, but she just isn't funny. Which for comedy is always a bit of a handicap. Simply relying on catchphrases is just the underside of the bottom of the barrel.

Shame about The State Within. I'm loving it, but it probably means another three or four years before another good conspiracy thriller swings around.

At 4:28 pm, Blogger Bang2Write said...

The highlight of the year a smackdown between a cyborg and pterodactyl?!? Right, this is SO it. I am getting out of trying for this TV writing. There's just no fathoming it... Especially when THE STATE WITHIN is so fabulous and no one is watching it. 3.1 million!!! That's less people than we read the mofo SUN newspaper!!!!!!!! ARGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

At 9:50 pm, Blogger potdoll said...

hi, what's spitballing mean? is it the same as brainstorming?

At 11:48 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...


Yep, you've got it.

At 12:27 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well of course the highlight should have been a smackdown between a cyborg and a pterodactyl.

I'm with Lee on this one.

At 11:49 pm, Blogger potdoll said...

ah. ta.

At 8:42 am, Blogger Good Dog said...

Holy crap! If the highlight of the TV year was anything close to a cyborg and pterodactyl slapping into each other I'd pluck my eyes out and stamp on them.

P Dolly,

No problem kiddo.

At 3:26 pm, Blogger Bang2Write said...

Hell, I'D stamp on your eyes too Good Dog. Mine were already burnt out by the sight of too much bad TV these past six months. THE PROBLEM IS THEY DON'T HIRE ME GOOD DOG! If they did, all problems of the world would be sorted. You know it's true.


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