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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Yes, Jayne. She's a witch. She has had congress with the beast."
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March 11 2005

Buffy on Five in the UK? Is it just me or does this come as a surprise to anyone else?

Just been having a look at the Radio Times online television guide and i was very surprised to see Welcome to the Hellmouth listed as showing on Five on Saturday, 19th of March at 6:40pm. I had no idea at all that Five were getting the rights to the show. Wonder if that means they will be getting the first two seasons of Angel as well?

I've linked to the Radio Times site. Just do a search for Buffy from the front page to bring up the listing if you want to check it out for yourselves.

I've directly linked to Radio Times Buffy search result. In fact if you go to the Five website and do a search for Buffy, you'll see that it looks like it will be on every day. I assumed that the BBC still had the rights to Buffy but I guess not. But seeing as Five made a complete shambles of showing Angel much the same way as Channel 4 did, I am not terribly amused that they now have the rights to show Buffy.

Angel did have a cult following here in the UK but it could have had X-Files recognition if the terresterial channels thought carefully how to schedule it.

It's not often I praise Sky One but they did do a terrific job in showing Angel.
BBC rights to show BtVS ended sometime ago irrc and they closed their very busy forum two weeks ago.

I hadn't heard anything about Five picking it up. They did have AtS S3 & 4 (but not S5) and they managed to move that so no-one could keep up with where it had gone.

It would be good if they were going to start showing both programs. Any exposure of the whedonverse is good in my opinion. Then they could follow it up with Firefly :)
Sky were great with Buffy and Angel, BBC started alright with Buffy, they showed the full two hour premiere at about 9pm on a Saturday and Sunday, and it went downhill from there. Channel 4 were awful with Angel they skipped episodes, and were very scissor-happy when making cuts to show it at 6pm.

Five make such a mess of all their genre shows, (except bloody Charmed).
In reply to Simon - the other listings on the Five search are just supplied via DigiGuide which bring up the Sky One & Mix results.

Still nothing beyond that Saturday for Five.
Just double checked that myself on the Radio Times guide, Tafka. The weekday episodes are just the ones that Sky One and Sky Mix are showing. I would have been very surprised if Five had decided to have a daily run of Buffy, really not their style with genre shows.

I have to agree that neither Buffy or Angel have had the best treatment on our main five channels here in the U.K., Channel 4 being the worst offender with it's insulting run of Angel's first season. Sky One, however, has always treated both series with a great deal of respect. Well, there was that one time that they nearly axed Buffy from their schedule altogether with the episode Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered and it took a great deal of fan campaigning to get it back on the air again, but we can let that slide now i guess, hehe.
Seems to be an early timeslot, which means cuts cuts cuts....

This always seems short sighted of the studio in letting a network cut a show. The result is a sub par show with most of the bits that make the show really great and funny (Buffys hand gesture in Hush for example) cut out, so anyone who watches it for the first time will say "Huh, can't see what everyone raves about, it's nothing special." and the long term reputation and value of the show and the franchise is reduced.

How many people after seeing a cut show where some lines don't make sense, where fight scenes seem badly edited and jumpy and the show lacks some of its spark will go out and buy the DVDs or watch a sequel?

It would be in Fox's long term interest to accept less money for the show on condition the network agrees to show it uncut, even if this means a later time.

Maybe we should start e-mailing Five and asking them to show it later, or have an uncut late night airing like BBC2 did?
I get the feeling that will happen sooner or later anyway, zz9. Unfortunately that might result in it ending up in the usual midnight slot that Angel and Alias fans have become accustomed to.

I hate to be the one to suggest this "pairing" but the best slot for it might be just after Charmed. The audiences are similar at least. Perhaps that could be suggested in any e-mails that are sent.

Having said that, Five are slightly less scissor happy when it comes to censorship issues than the BBC so maybe Buffy will remain largely unscathed in this timeslot.
"I hate to be the one to suggest this "pairing" but the best slot for it might be just after Charmed."

That does make sense but a big part of me is just thinking.....

"here's Charmed'" and then, "here's how it's really done" ;)
The way I look at it is that any showing of the verse whatsoever is a good thing. I discovered Angel watching daytime TV at home when I was off work being very ill. Luckily is was a strip syndication deal and after the third day, watching the third episode in a row, I was lost forever. Got better. Went out and bought all the DVDs I could lay my hands on. Lightning might strike at any time Ė so the more itís out there, even at odd times, the better. And may I add that Mr Boreanaz, while not quite being able to raise the dead, sure can get the nearly-dead off their sickbed!

BTW, I wrote to Sky One when Angel got cancelled and they did send me a very nice note back. Obviously, they couldnít do anything about it, which I fully understand as it was down to the WB (a pox on their heads, a curse on their house, a traffic warden wherever they park *spits*), but I got the impression they had a lot of feedback and were taking notice.
A Saturday teatime slot is going to clash with the new Dr Who on BBC1. :(
In the US, reruns of Angel are shown right before reruns of Charmed. I guess it works, because they have been doing it that way for a long time now (in TV terms, that is.)
JudithS said:
A Saturday teatime slot is going to clash with the new Dr Who on BBC1. :(

Ah, so that explains why they're doing it.
GhostSpike, are you being sarcastic? It's hard to tell! If so: We "Who" fans are used to such derision, we are a hardy breed ;)
What i think Ghost Spike meant was that Five are likely putting Buffy up against Dr Who on purpose in the hope of stealing some of the potential viewers away from the BBC.

Simple solution, just tape Buffy (assuming you don't already own the DVD's anyway) and watch Dr Who. I'm not really a fan of the old series but i'll give this new one a go, if only for the very cute Billie Piper.
That is what I meant, I'm looking forward to Doctor Who, and I feel the other channels know that (at least for the first few weeks) it's going to be difficult to compete with the BBC on a Saturday evening.
This was posted on the BBC Buffy cult website on Jan 5th 2004

"Details of what series of Buffy the BBC has the rights to show.

Here at Cult we've had a number of enquiries as to what Buffy episodes BBC Two still has the rights to show.

We contacted the people in the know who told us that the situation is thus:

BBC Two currently has no rights to show seasons one to four
The channel does have the rights to show season five until July this year (2004), but there are currently no plans to do so.

BBC Two holds the rights to show seasons six and seven, but these run out some point in 2005.

Of course rights can be renegotiated, so this doesn't mean that Buffy will disappear from our screens."

So presumably this means Five have the rights to show Buffy up until season 5
This may be a little late in the thread to ask this, and being an american Yank I'm just revealing my cultural delinquency here. However... uh, what the hell is "FIVE"?

I thought there was BBC one and two, both owned by the British Broadcasting Company, and that they didn't compete with one another because, why? They're all owned by the same people? There's a FIVE? That competes with the other channels for ratings? That sounds almost.. *gasp!* American!

Actually, come to think of it, There's a THREE and FOUR? I only knew of BBC 1 and 2. Predominantly because Monty Python used to make fun of BBC2. However, again come to think of it, I don't know if Monty Python first run was on BBC 1 or 2. That would shed some light on moments when I felt I should have been laughing, but just didn't get it. I mean if they were making fun of BBC2 and they were ON BBC2, that would have made more.. no waitaminute that woulda made less sense. Okay. I'm completely in the dark here.

So. Buffy reruns will compete with a first run new Doctor Who series. Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

...Oh. And where the hell is RIPPER? Wasn't that supposed to be a BBC franchise produced by Whedon and starring ASH? Can't y'all brits like, I dunno, picket the BBC corporate headquarters until they get that boat out of the dock, or something? So five years later maybe we'll see it in the states? I mean, ASH is IN England now, right? Whedon's got five whole months left of post production on Serenity, which must be completely in the can by now, and nothing else to speak of on his agenda other than playing with his kids...

I know! We american fans can come up with a complex plan where we kidnap Whedon, tie him up and put him on a plane to England. You british fans of Whedonesque dealings can storm the Head Estates with torches and pitchforks, drag his happy butt to the BBC studios, we get these two guys in the same room with a camera, lock it, and refuse to let them out until they make the pilot.

We'll need to synchronize our watches....

[ edited by ZachsMind on 2005-03-11 23:22 ]
Not all of the terrestrial channels in the UK, are BBC. There are 5 (or 4 1/2) terrestrial channels, BBC 1 & BBC 2 (and BBC3 & 4 on digital), then there's ITV, then Channel 4, the Five (which isn't available via terrestrial everywhere, and apparently some places will never get it (except through digital)).

[ edited by Ghost Spike on 2005-03-11 23:25 ]
There are five national terrestrial (non-digital) channels in the UK; BBC1 and BBC2 are funded through the revenue provided by the television licence that all television owners are required to purchase (renewable on an annual basis). Because of this means of funding, neither channel has advertising, but it does mean they are indirectly accountable to the government for the content of their programming. Theoretically, BBC2 caters more for the arts and minority interest programmes, although it doesn't really work this way so much these days.

The other three terrestrial channels are ITV, Channel 4 and C5 (or just 'FIVE' as it is now known).

ITV is the most popular TV channel in the UK, feeding us a diet of home-grown soap opera and drama. Channel 4 seems to have little or no idea of its real identity these days. It serves up a lot of American sit-coms and various tacky scandal-infected documentaries. It also broadcasts 'The West Wing', ĎSix Feet Underí and recently won a battle with BBC2 to take over 'The Simpsons'. FIVE is the newest of the channels and has the smallest viewing figures. The likes of 'CSI', 'Law & Order' and 'Charmed' can be found here.

Putting the re-runs of 'Buffy' up against the new 'Dr Who' is unlikely to do much for its potential audience. Assuming 'Dr Who' is in any way half-decent, and early indications are that it will be excellent, 'Buffy' doesn't stand a chance. We are talking about the resurrection of one of the best-loved programmes in the history of UK television.
Okay. Wow. Cool. Learn something new every day. =)

Personally I'd prefer to see a new Dr. Who than reruns of Buffy, but that's only because I've seen all the Buffy episodes countless times, and it's been years since there's been any new Dr. Who. I use for Dr. Who DVDs whenever I can. Tom Baker's my favorite, but the other incarnations are starting to grow on me.

Why is it that so many british stations use large chunks of American programming, and the only place I can find any british sitcoms is late at night on PBS? Weird. I wish to apologize on behalf of all Americans for UK viewers being subjected to Charmed. We're really, really sorry.
US made shows are very popular on UK TV simply because homegrown stations cannot compete with the production values of (the best) US shows. The US has 265 million people, the UK 65mil. So theroeticaly the US networks will have four times the money to spend. The cost of the top US shows simply could not be supported by the UK market, hence we buy a lot of US shows.

But, to answer Zachsmind's question, US networks assume that US viewers wont want to watch UK shows, hence so many (Coupling, QAF, The Office etc) are remade in the US for US viewers. This also allows them to make longer seasons, most UK 'seasons' being six episodes or maybe twelve. Faulty Towers for example ran for two 'full' seasons, a grand total of twelve episodes! US networks really cant make much use of such short seasons.

We don't really have seasons here. New shows can start any time of the years.

And Charmed deserves WAY more apologising than THAT!
I agree wholeheartedly that the new Dr Who is a much more enticing proposition than re-runs of 'Buffy', but that's only because I have the DVDs and can watch any of the episodes any time (without the cuts and without the constant interruptions for adverts). I was always a sucker for the late, great Jon Pertwee, but I'm just showing my age. As a teenager I had a such a huge crush on Katy Manning!

Channel 4 and FIVE rely on American imports because it's cheaper than committing to home grown productions and the audience is guaranteed (they don't have the financial clout of ITV, and are not subject to the strict codes placed on the BBC) . As a nation we have an endless capacity to lap up anything offered from 'across the pond'. Personally, I don't think 'CSI' is a patch on the wonderful 'Waking The Dead', but that's just me.
The most popular US show on UK terresterial TV at the moment is Desperate Housewives and it only gets around 4 million viewers. Otherwise US imports have a niche audience and don't have mass appeal. I think the biggest US shows here have been Dallas and Dynasty and those aired years ago.

For an interesting look at UK ratings check out the BARB site.

Here's a breakdown of the Weekly Terresterial Viewing

And here's the cable/satellite weekly ratings

As you can see US shows don't get much of a look in.
BTW, in a paper (well, The Sun) here today, Billie Piper was quoted as wanting Doctor Who to do a musical episode. She said that she loved the Buffy musical and of course she used to be a singer. Not sure about Ecclestone. Or the Daleks...

(Edited to change wording because it might have suggested Billie was being bitchy.)

[ edited by zz9 on 2005-03-12 02:11 ]
Simon, those figures make scary reading. I never really appriciated how much crap the people here watched. A never ending list of dreary soaps, makeover and reality shows, cooking, quiz shows, my god it never ends!

And they wonder why people like me download the latest shows from the internet....
All i can say is that i'm glad that so many American series do get aired over here, whether it be on terresterial or satellite, because frankly, when it comes to drama, if i was depending on the people who make television over here to keep me entertained i would have been comatose a long time ago.

I honestly cannot remember the last time that i enjoyed a British drama series. Casualty, Holby City, The Bill, the list of dreary, repetetive, mediocre shows goes on and on. Don't even get me started on soaps, why anyone under the age of sixty would call Coronation Street or Emmerdale quality viewing i have no idea!

Then, as zz9 pointed out above, you get the constant barrage of makeover shows, not to mention the several hundred variations on what you can do with a chef and various foods to fill half an hour of the schedule these days.

Nope, if i'm honest the only reason i still own a television these days is to keep up with the latest U.S. shows, which just makes paying that damn license fee every year all the more annoying.
Warlock, on top of those licensing fees, are you also able to get HBO and the like? Does it beam over? Do they have a "Euro HBO" kinda thing? I confess to having no knowledge of UK tv.

Be a shame if you guys couldn't see Deadwood.

Heh. Yes. All my roads seem to return to that show. It's like a Children of the Corn thing. Not literally. Don't fight it, I tell you!

Lest you all think I've left the Joss train with the DW obsession, nothing could be further from the truth. Just hosted a marathon of season 7 BtVS (SNT, mmwah!), at my home two nights ago. Got all the way up to Get It Done. To be continued next week.

The Joss-love rings strong. And I'm glad you folks are getting it over there. And don't worry too much about the cuts. FX over here shows it at 8 and 9am every morning, then repeats at 4 and 5pm. They really don't massacre it, even at those early hours. I've turned on two new people thanks to those reruns. :D
Bleugh. I dislike channel Five. I resent it's crappily-timed ad breaks enormously. I tuned in to watch the premiere of 'Joey' and haven't flicked back since. A pox on it.

Channel 4 is easily the coolest of all the terrestrial UK channels, imo. It's doing a "banned" season at the moment which I'm enjoying immensely. It has a tendency to show wonderful arty-farty stuff late at night and always seems to get the better shows from the US first ('Friends', 'Six Feet Under', 'The West Wing', 'The Sopranos', 'Sex & The City', etc.) Channel 4 seems to have some kind of "special relationship" with HBO.. ;)
Honestly this is turning into a great thread. I didn't really think about how US programming is used in other markets. This is quite an education. All I know is that KERA channel 13 here in Dallas Texas was the first american television station to order episodes of Monty Python back in 1974. One could argue that the second British Invasion (of television this time and not music) started in the Lone Star State.

I'd like to thank the UK and all its inhabitants for Fawlty Towers, Monty Python, Are You Being Served, The Two Ronnies, Black Adder, 'Allo 'Allo!, Chef!, Red Dwarf, Coupling, Keeping Up Appearances, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Doctor Who, Up Pompei, The Young Ones, the Brittas Empire, Murder Most Horrid, Vicar of Dibley, As Time Goes By, Father Ted, and My Hero.

I forgive you for Benny Hill. I have no idea what to make of that show where an antique dealer walks down an alley into World War Two and is committing adultery across several decades. Oh, and Open All Hours? That one I can't forgive y'all fer. Shame on ya! *smirk*

We're really really REALLY sorry for Charmed (REALLY!), but we make no apologies for Desperate Housewives. If y'all watch that horrid piece of dreck, it's your own fault.

(I originally edited this post to respond to ZZ9's post below, but thought better of it and just created a new post way down at the bottom instead. Keep reading. There's some good bits below, but unfortunately there's no Marvin in it.)

[ edited by ZachsMind on 2005-03-12 20:45 ]
Zachsmind, of the list of good shows you gave, only one (Dr Who) is a one hour drama, sort of, and the rest are comedies. It's in this area that the UK has been totaly lacking, contempary one hour drama. The best we can produce is dreck like Footballers Wives (zz9 makes snorting sound and kicks the cat) and, god help me, Hex.

And decent drama seems only possible in a very short series format. A very interesting recent offering being 'Mine All Mine' which I think was four episodes.
ZZ9, Dont forget the 'criminal dramas' and Spooks, Swedish TV buys a lot of those and they are usually of good quality. Shorter runs than the american series are not neccessarily an disadvantage, good stories should have a beginning and an end not run on forever, thats soap territory IMO of course.
Willowy, we don't specifically get HBO over here but we do get various satellite channels that cover a lot of their programming. Sky One is showing Deadwood, FX UK has Carnivale, Channel 4 aired The Sopranos, and so on.

And zz9, i won't pretend to being any kind of Doctor Who expert but wasn't that made in half hour episodes? I seem to remember it having a 7.30 to 8.00pm timeslot whilst i was growing up (the Sylvester McCoy era i do believe).

Please, please, please, don't mention Footballers Wives in connection with U.K. television. There is nothing we can do to defend ourselves if knowledge of that crap gets out of the country.
To late Warlock, but pls remember that after reading the reported goings on in the lifes of british soccer stars it is now considered almost a documentary :)

ETA : Dont remember the series to well but if they had written in a Swedish coach for the english national team and the tabloid reporting around his life, they could have had a story to beat all stories.
Once again facts (as reported in british tabloids anyway) beat fiction any day.

[ edited by jpr on 2005-03-12 13:19 ]
Warlock, good catch on the old Doctor Who episodes, they were half hour serials. It's the new show that is an hour long stand alone episodes. My bad.

And JPR, the criminal dramas had slipped my mind. There are a few that get critical and popular acclaim both contempary and the "Miss Marple" type.

So that's the difference between the UK and the US.
You get Sarah Michelle Gellar, we get Joan Hickson....
Come on zz9, it's not as bad as that is it ? I seem to remember a reasonably good police series called 'Liverpool 1', where I seem to have forgotten all the other characters except the leading lady.
"Warlock, on top of those licensing fees, are you also able to get HBO and the like? Does it beam over? Do they have a "Euro HBO" kinda thing? I confess to having no knowledge of UK tv.

Be a shame if you guys couldn't see Deadwood."

Deadwood was a shining light in the blackness of UK reality /makeover /chefs TV programs. IMO since the cancellation of AtS it was the only thing worth watching in the uk (via satellite TV) and made the fee worth paying. Still don't know what the 'BBC' licence fee covers except to prevent being fined/thrown in jail or put in the village stocks.

I never watch ITV - Channel 4 is lost and confused, being only redeemed by its showing of Sopranos and West Wing.

I pray for the BBC to come to their senses and make Ripper - Even if it were a short run series. Perhaps if a 'BtVS influenced' Dr.Who were a success they may be more inclined to consider it.
I'm with you, Do That Girl. I haven't watched ITV for a very long time (with the exception of The X Factor, had to watch that, Sharon Osbourne was on it, hehe), to me that channel is put together for the middle of the road, fifty to sixty year old audience, with no thought to being original or creative.

I do watch a little more Channel 4, but again, usually only the U.S. imports. Definately not their reality show content which never fails to "amaze" me. Do they compete with Five in a competition to see how low you can go with reality television?

I'm also hoping, however pointless it may be given the current BBC directive to abolish any U.S. shows on their channels, that Ripper may still happen. If it does i seriously doubt it will have anything to do with the BBC.
So that's the difference between the UK and the US.
You get Sarah Michelle Gellar, we get Joan Hickson....

And what wrong with that? Can't get enough of SMG myself, and Joan Hickson - now, she really could act anyone off the screen, seemingly without actually doing anything. Wonderful stuff.
Maybe so, but would Joan Hickson look as good in those red leather pants from Graduation Day? I think not!

Gotta have priorities! ;)
Maybe so, but would Joan Hickson look as good in those red leather pants from Graduation Day? I think not!

Now you've gone and given me a visual image I really do not need!
For any of our American cousins who are a bit confused by what's on where in the UK this, below, is an article I wrote for a US TV magazine about a year ago to explain exactly ... well, what IS on where!

Obviously, it's a year old so some of the information contained within it is now out of date. But it should, hopefully, give you an idea of the UK's treatment of US TV shows...


Januaryís the big month in Britain for US television.

ĎHuh?í You say... Allow me to explain.

With the exception of cable series like Stargate SG-1 (which the satelittle/digital channel Sky One traditionally broadcasts from September onwards and which, by Christmas, will usually be an episode or two ahead of America) most of the US import show acquired by British broadcasters start their run on the various satellite/cable/digital strands in January.

Sky, inevitably, gets the lionís share of these, despite seeing two of its three import big-hitters - The X-Files and Buffy - end during the last two years: Itís still got The Simpsons, of course and always will have. And Enterprise, Angel, Alias and Scrubs returning for a new season package that, this year, also includes The Handler, Cold Case, Nip/Tuck and, *big* coup for Sky, this, 24.

They snatched the latter from right under the noses of the BBC who had shown the first two seasons to - in relative terms - *huge* audiences. Fox, it would appear, tried the same three-card trick that they attempted with The WB and Buffy three years ago. ĎPay more for this or you donít get it.í Considering that Sky is part of the NewsCorp umbrella, few people were taking too many outrageous bets as to where Jack Bauer would be continuing his fight against - what is it this year? Mexican drug barons... - over here.

Jake 2.0 and Tru Calling are also scheduled to turn up on Sky later in 2004 which, via its commitment to the most, *if not necessarily the best*, of US drama and comedy imports remains the first subscription package that everyone with a vague interest in such shows signs up for.

UK Living, another satellite/digital broadcaster and a relative newcomer to the game, has wisely picked up on specific shows that, it believes, fits in with itís audience profile and demographic (which, they seem to regard as being made up almost exclusively of smart, young, single, affluent woman). Thus, along with a whole bushel of afternoon talk shows theyíve acquired Charmed, Will and Grace and ... the two CSI series.

No, I canít quite work out where Grissom and his pals fit into *that* scenario, but CSI is getting Living itís best ever viewing figures so theyíre not complaining. CSI itself, via Living and terrestrial broadcasts on Channel 5, is finally starting to get the kind of respect it deserves in the UK.

Five, in particular, have cleverly paired the show with, first The Shield and then episodes of the various Law & Order series (and, briefly, the Rob Lowe vehicle The Lion's Den). The Channel has recently acquired both Alias and Angel for first-run terrestrial broadcasts (theyíve already had Charmed for a couple of years and it's one of their most highly rated shows).

All of this suggests that Five have done their homework and identified the distinct gap in the market left by Channel 4ís truly disastrous handling of just such shows over the last few years.

CSI: Miamiís been much slower to make either critical or commercial sense. Letís be honest, itís not very good, is it? Each episode seems to be entirely structured to lead-up to that one moment when David Caruso will remove his shades and stare, wistfully, into the distance.

Although Channel 4 has made something of an arse of itís use of US imports, their digital sister, E4, has bought well. Friends, ER, The West Wing and Smallville have, at least, maintained the companyís reputation for, occasionally, knowing a hit when they sees it. Even if, all of these (with the exception of Friends - which remains, in its final season, far and away the higest rated US show on British TV) get lousy ratings when they show up some months later on Channel 4.

Is it surprising, though? It might be the best TV show in the world at times, but who can concentrate enough to watch The West Wing when Channel 4 schedule it to start at 11.05PM? Some of us have to sleep occasionally...

The BBC seems to have, frankly, given up importing American shows as a hopeless cause. They lost out to Channel 4 in a bidding war for the terrestrial rights to Enterprise and, so, Star Trekís British home since 1969 now no longer shows the Star Trek franchise.

The Beeb had Buffy, and were very surprised to find themselves with a genuine cult hit on their hands - their first in this kind of genre since The X-Files several years earlier.

Having reached the final season of Buffy, however they seemingly couldnít get rid of the show fast enough - scheduling all 22 episodes over the course of just six weeks.

It is, therefore, fair to say that if you want to keep abreast with US TV these days and, like me, youíre unlucky enough to live in the 51st state, youíve got two options. Subscribe to Pay TV (which I do, and claim it back as a business expense against tax).

Or, alternatively, find a very nice friend in the US who donít mind taping stuff for you.


All right, you can all wake up now...!


[ edited by keithtopping on 2005-03-12 19:31 ]

[ edited by keithtopping on 2005-03-12 19:32 ]
...After reading zz9's response (now above), I'd like to include that hour long drama with the cop who was losing his sight. That was cool. I forget the name of it though. And there've been a couple shows I recall where Agatha Christie's works were produced by the BBC with dignity and finesse, but you're right that the hour long british dramas are not usually my interest, those rare times when I catch them on PBS-TV.

Y'all rock on the british comedies though. Far funnier than over two thirds of the crap coming out of Burbank California. With the other third we give you a run for your money, but even several decades later, Monty Python still outdoes anything I've ever seen from the states. Saturday Night Live doesn't count cuz Lorne Michaels practically stole the idea from you guys. When Eric Idle showed up on SNL though? Man that was the best!

...and we're REALLY sorry about Charmed. I mean really. I just can't emphasize this enough. I'm all choked up over here. Really sorry. *smirk*

After reading Keith Topping's article, I'd like to also apologize for CSI Miami. Really. Honestly. With all my heart. We thought Anthony Stewart Head had cornered the market on using eyewear for dramatic effect, didn't we? Caruso just goes over the top with it. I for one would pay to see a staring contest between Caruso and ASH. My money's on Ripper.

If it helps, here's how I get through CSI Miami. It's a drinking game. Every time you see David Caruso take off his sunglasses or put them on, you take a shot. Oh, and whenever Khandi Alexander talks to the corpse she's performing an autopsy on as if it were still alive? You take a shot then too. It makes the experience so much more satisfying. I also like to take a shot whenever Emily Procter looks beautiful, and since she's always beautiful, I'm usually schnockered by the end of the episode.
>...and we're REALLY sorry about Charmed. I mean really. I just can't
>emphasize this enough. I'm all choked up over here. Really sorry.

Actually, I've just finished writing a book about Charmed. That one, I can live with - it's undemanding fluff, for sure, but it's nowhere near the worst US import we've ever had (those include AIDS, Herpes and The Dukes of Hazzard, incidentally...)

>After reading Keith Topping's article, I'd like to also apologize
>for CSI Miami.

*That*, on the other hand, we won't be forgiving you lot for any time soon!

No one's mentioned Brit non-comedy stuff like Morse and Lovejoy - relatively undemanding perhaps, but fairly high quality, and I always had a soft spot for them. Indeed, Ian McShane's newfound fame on Deadwood may entice a few people to check out some of his other work. And there used to be fairly involved good dramatic short-run series on Brit TV such as Edge of Darkness and the like. And Cracker, of course, which was wonderful. Traffik, which became a big movie hit, was originally a series featured on terrestial British television - is there nothing like that being made any more? If not, that's a darn shame.
SNT, some good shows there but, as you say, a few years ago. Lovejoy was 1986-1994 so finished over ten years ago. Edge of Darkness was 1985 and Cracker (UK) finished in 96.

There have been other good genre shows. The Last Train (1999) was great and reminds me of Lost, Strange (2003) I loved and makes me thing they were trying to do Ripper before Joss got a chance but all these are more than negated by the woefull botch job that was Hex. A whole lot of production value desperatly searching for a half decent script
Thanks zz9. I know that the shows I mentioned were a while ago - not surprising, 'cos I left the UK in 1996, - but my question was whether similar projects were continuing to made *at all* for British TV, or whether they'd all been squeezed out by the new and bright economics of television production.

My only point, really, was that there used to be decent non-comedy things on TV in the UK. Kinda sounds like that isn't the case anymore.
My general feeling is that for good production values, good acting, original and well written scripts, the best US shows far outnumber home grown shows, which is understandable considering the budget available. UK networks cannot compete with the US budgets. For example, the pilot for Lost cost $14million? That is probably far more than the budget for Doctor Who's entire season.

There are still quality UK shows, but they tend to be one offs or three to six episodes and thats it. I cannot think of many long running, and consistantly good, series.
"They lost out to Channel 4 in a bidding war for the terrestrial rights to Enterprise and, so, Star Trekís British home since 1969 now no longer shows the Star Trek franchise. "

Is this information correct?

I only ask since I heard that the BBC wasn't even given the chance to bid by SKY,who had purchased all transmisson rights.

"And don't worry too much about the cuts. FX over here shows it at 8 and 9am every morning, then repeats at 4 and 5pm. They really don't massacre it, even at those early hours"

The problem is that British TV especially terrestrial will massacre a programme if it shown before 9pm if it has sexual and/or violent content

The BBC made cuts to Buffy especially season 6 for that very reason and in "Sleeper" they cut so much of the alley scene that it appeared that the real Buffy was encouraging Spike to bite the girl
Wow, that sucks. Why even buy it then? Why even show it? There are plenty of kiddee programs around. *sheesh*
Willowy, you took the words right out of my mouth! Indeed it does suck!

I have long held a grudge against the BBC for their treatment of Buffy. Okay, they were nowhere near as bad as Channel 4 and it's scheduling, and subsequent ruining, of Angel's first season (the only terresterial screening it's first season ever got i might add) but they still treated Buffy as if it were a childrens television series.

Surely it must have been a big clue to them that if you have to cut out over five minutes of an episode in order to show it before 9pm, then maybe it should be shown after 9pm in the first place. Then they attempted to get around the complaints with a late night uncut repeat each week. Okay in theory except it got gradually later and later until some weeks you were sitting up until the early hours of the morning just to watch a complete episode of Buffy.

And then the BBC and Channel 4 wondered why these shows didn't get higher viewing figures! Doh! Thank the PTB for DVDs is all i can say!
Ooh! I neglected to mention THE PRISONER! Kick ass piece of surreal strangeness with a socio-political message. Some might mistake it for a comedy, and there's some funny bits in it, but there's also some dark drama and powerful performances. Nice writing too. A bit in your face with the metaphor, but lots of fun to experience.

As for censorship, it sucks in any country. Admittedly, I don't want pornography on every channel, but if a high quality program utilizes nudity or profanity or deals with sensitive subject matter in a mature and professional manner, it should not be censored. Hell, there's stuff in the Bible that's risque. Song of Solomon for example. Would anyone censor these passages from the Bible?

Your head crowns you like Mount Carmel. Your hair is like royal tapestry; the king is held captive by its tresses. How beautiful you are and how pleasing, O love, with your delights! Your stature is like that of the palm, and your breasts like clusters of fruit. I said, "I will climb the palm tree; I will take hold of its fruit." May your breasts be like the clusters of the vine, the fragrance of your breath like apples, and your mouth like the best wine.

Mmm... Good Bible. A babe that fits that description? I'd be going to the special hell.

If only you were to me like a brother, who was nursed at my mother's breasts! Then, if I found you outside, I would kiss you, and no one would despise me. I would lead you and bring you to my mother's house- she who has taught me. I would give you spiced wine to drink, the nectar of my pomegranates.

Uhm... Slightly creepy Bible..! Still, the point is if risque stuff is good enough for God, it's good enough for me.
>Is this information correct?

>I only ask since I heard that the BBC wasn't even
>given the chance to bid by SKY,who had purchased
>all transmisson rights.

Well, I wasn't in the room or anything(!) but, no, that's not the situation. Sky bought first non-terrestrial broadcast rights for 'Enterprise' but they would never buy ALL UK rights (not even THEIR pockets are that deep!)

When Paramount subsequently sold the terrestrial rights there was a bidding war and it very quickly became clear that the BBC's commitment to overseas shows was waining to the point of complete disinterest. In the end, it was a straight battle between 4 and 5 as to who got it.

>I have long held a grudge against the BBC
>for their treatment of Buffy. Okay, they were
>nowhere near as bad as Channel 4 and it's
>scheduling, and subsequent ruining, of Angel's
>first season (the only terresterial screening
>it's first season ever got i might add) but
>they still treated Buffy as if it were a
>childrens television series.

Ah, hang on though, that's a bit of a simplistic statement about a very complicated issue of scheduling.

British television has had fixed guidelines on what can be shown where since the 1930s. The BBC NEVER, EVER treated Buffy as a "childrens" show because if they had, it would have been shown before 6pm - that's the accepted demarkation line between children's TV and adult TV. Between 6 and about 7.30, or 7.45 is considered "family viewing" - material that can be watched by a broad range of people. Thereafter, until 9pm there's a kind of strange hinterland where slightly more adult material in the way of language and violence can be shown before the actual 9pm watershed kicks in.

I remember having this exact discussion when Buffy first began on the Beeb and trying to explain to a bunch of very het-up Buffy fans what was likely to be the BBC's rationale for firstly sheduling Buffy where they did and second making the cuts they did. It goes something like this:

"We like this show, we've paid a lot of money for it and we want to get lots of viewers in accordance with that. However, it's a US Telefantasy series and we've got a very specific time slot for those kinds of shows - 6.45pm Tuesday. We've shown all of the various star Trek series in there and we've never had any complaints. However, with Buffy, because it's dealing with slightly more adult material, we're going to have to make some cuts accordingly."

There was never any danger whatsoever of Buffy being given a later slot simply because it wasn't *adult enough* to be considered for one. Why waste a slot that you could give to ... I dunno, say a piece of hard-hitting drama with loads of swearing and sex with Buffy which, to be honest, with a little cutting (and in some episodes it was notiaceable) can be shown with no problems at all two and a half hours earlier?

Now, I'm not saying that's right - I'd prefer to see my series uncut as well but that's WHY they did it. It wasn't anything to do with censorship, per se, it was simply a matter of scheduling logistics and, ultimately, staying within guidelines that'll still be here in another 50 years time!

Yeah, i do take your points, Keith. I admit that i did simplify the situation with my comment there, and i am aware that it was a more complicated issue for them, i've had this discussion numerous times in the past, trust me. Because of that i intentionally didn't go into the details of the whole deal and limited my comment to my basic feelings on the matter.

For me, regardless of their scheduling issues and where and when the usually aired a show like Buffy, they still treated the show with a lot less respect than it warranted. I know why they did so but that doesn't make it any more acceptable to me. I can see why they would want to make the show as accessible to as many viewers as possible and with that in mind i could even have forgiven them the cut versions shown at 6.45pm if that had been as bad as things got. That would have allowed a younger audience to get onboard and, hopefully, eventually get to see the uncut versions later on. all good! But that wasn't where it ended.

The uncut versions were constantly being moved later and later into the night, to the point where you had to set the video if you wanted to watch them without falling asleep. Fair enough, give the younger audience a chance to watch the show, but at the same time the older audience deserved the same respect. If they really respected the show, the least they could have done was to give the uncut version a regular slot too. I would never have expected the Beeb to show Buffy in a 9pm, Friday night slot, however would a regular 11pm slot one night of the week have been too much to ask?

This was where the Beeb slipped up for the majority of the adult Buffy fanbase. It was if they were saying that they thought they would find a steady younger audience, which meritted a regular early evening slot, but the older audience would be so insignificant that it didn't matter where they put the uncut version, nobody would want to watch it anyway.

So i do get why they did it, and perhaps saying that they treated it as a kids show was too harsh, but that is how it all boils down to me at least. Hopefully your fifty year estimate for these guidelines still being around is wrong, but knowing the Beeb i kinda think you are correct, more's the pity! :)

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