Assume that the Director-General of the BBC hears tonight’s episode, starts out of his armchair, and says “This has gone too far! We need someone who understands the programme! Someone like your_name_here!”
So you are put in charge. You don’t get any more money than they have now, and you have to continue to produce 12½ minutes six times a week. You can be the Editor yourself, or put in someone of your choice who will do what you tell them to the best of their ability. What instructions do you give? Who stays and who goes? How do you change the show? And how do you direct ancillary things, like fan clubs, merchandising, web sites and such?
This seems very like my own wish-list for TA.
Possibly consult actors who have been in part for more than five years about what they think likely reactions from their character? Paddy Greene, for instance, probably knows Jill Archer better than most people would, and Emerald O’Hanrahan probably knows Emma better than the new editor does (and certainly better than O’Connor seems to have done).
How would I fix The Archers.
Well you have to bear in mind, that I already have a licensed shotgun and am a good shot. That gives me two immediate advantages.
No jury would convict you.
I’ve commented variously that the Actors will know their character’s history’s better than any SW or Director (NuActors of course only from the ‘new’ part) and should surely speak up. It’s been suggested back that they tend to get short shrift for this. IM(nv)HO that is the sign of insecurity from them rather than fault by the actor.
I tend to agree, but from what Keri Davies asserted about the foolish mess when Dr Locke was introduced to Rob Titchener and that was re-written on the fly during recording because the actors remembered they’d met before and nobody realised that a doctor would never say “Don’t I know you from somewhere?” to someone who might be a patient he didn’t know well, the sw is not there at recordings to explain what was meant, so if the editor is incompetent the actors might get it wrong. As happened on that occasion.
Fair comment, so it needs control. But overall they are the best placed to recall details of character history.
I don’t know: the characters are just a job to them, especially if like Will or Roy or Jolene or Robert or even Jim they are silent for months or years at a time. They may retain a vague feeling of what that person is like, but nothing specific.
As in “-balled”?
The last actor to speak up about anything to do with the writing was Tom Graham, who commented that “if The Archers ever became outrageous it wouldn’t be The Archers”. That was just before SOC’s appointment; we know what happened next.
I see that blog post has been taken down.
So this silencing of any dissent is widespread. Ah well.
I heard Paddy Greene on the radio years ago saying that the actors almost never meet the SWs. She said she supposed that if they did they would all lobby for their character, implying that they were kept apart to prevent that.
They could still say what they think to Directors if course if they feel their character is being wrenched out of plausibility.
That would make a certain amount of sense, I suppose.
It seems to indicate a poor opinion of the actors.
I think there should be someone who has “ownership” of the character - maybe an actor, maybe a scriptwriter, maybe someone in the archives if that’s cheaper. But someone whose job is to keep up with this particular character, and who can say “Brian would not do that”.
Yes. I think somebody doing the job of a long-term Continuity Editor, is needed.
They didn’t have so much of a problem, when all/most of the stories were written by the same small team: Edward J Mason, Bruno Milner, etc.
Today’s writers seem to be anybody who is otherwise not doing anything and teenagers on (hopefully unpaid - Nobody should be paid for that tripe) work experience days from local schools.
[quote=“Used2B, post:17, topic:269”]
teenagers on (hopefully unpaid - Nobody should be paid for that tripe) work experience days from local schools
[/quote]Except that that is simply not true. Most of the current writers have been involved for quite a while. Fanta has provided a list from time to time.
But one does get the impression that they don’t talk to each other much, which is odd given that communication within the prod team must be easier now, logistically, than ever before.
Yes, if you’re going to keep the model of writers working mostly from home (and there’s no reason that shouldn’t work) I think they need a mailing list, discussion board, something to let them interact easily with each other, with the editor, the archivist and the character experts.
In many cases, that would be entirely justified.
… 'There came no sound from all around:
The camera crew had fled!
And yet, and yet: my actors stood,
Waiting in serried ranks.
Thank God, I thought, that actors are
As thick as two short planks!
They stared at me, made up and dress’d,
With simple, empty eyes’ …
'S’Alan Coren, that.