15 July, 2009

"How to kill creativity while claiming to help it grow - a lesson in New Labour double-think".

Tony Garnett, WGGB:

"If you want to make dramatic fiction for the screen you must first strangle your creative impulses. The alternative is even more painful. It is to put your creativity at the service of the formula and take instructions from the executive apparatchiki. They need to feed off your creativity because they have none, and to control it because they are told to.

This totalitarian micro-management is not confined to just one area of television, nor even to television. It’s just the one I know best. It grew up under Thatcher as the bosses recovered their self-confidence and new management was encouraged to crack the whip. It has achieved its apotheosis in the grand years of New Labour’s incursion into every crevice of our public services. We cannot understand what is happening in screen drama unless we place it in the context of the wider society."

Article in full

Update:

Ben Stephenson defends the BBC here
Writers defend the BBC here.

3 comments:

Jonesy said...

That's the best article I've ever read. It nails the experience of all TV Production like a massive hammer.

Robin Kelly said...

At least the debate has started, I just hope everyone with something to say against the current system feels that they can say so publicly.

(So Ben Stephenson can ban them all, giving me a chance to take their place. I love you Ben!)

Anonymous said...

I read this whole article and while it is perhaps overly zealous and also paranoia inducingly infectious in its Orwellian tone - it certainly chimes with some of my personal experience. I think the main problem with the BBC is the layers - the pyramid of management and approvals. A flatter commissioning system would undoubtedly lead to more variety - probably moer variation in quality too - but surely some dreadful and some wonderful would be better than mostly meh!