Good article today in the Observer about Denmark’s success in making strong television dramas. I’ve added some emphasis:
The rules are straightforward. Commissioners insist on original drama dealing with issues in contemporary society: no remakes, noadaptations. The main requirement is material for the popular 8pm slot on Sundays. Writers have the final say. Hammerich said: “We give them a lot of space and time to develop their story. The vision of the writer is the centre of attention, we call it ‘one vision’ – meaning everyone works towards fulfilling this one vision, and very few executives are in a position to make final decisions. I believe this is part of the success.”
So that means, no marketing muppets deciding what’s good for the audience. You know, like television used to be. And it means they’re not wedded to the past and obsessed with Shakespeare/Dickens/Austen. The only reason to keep going back to those sources is because they’re in the public domain, and because it’s more of the same. But giving people more of the same eventually wears thin.
Denmark’s public service television costs more than our licence fee, but it’s clearly worth it. With our larger population, our BBC has bigger budgets, but they still employ too many suits and don’t trust writers.