Martin Shaw unimpressed with TV bosses’ obsession with youth

BBC logo at Broadcasting House 2010

Actor Martin Shaw has hit out at telly executives’ obsession with youth, particularly the public service broadcaster which should be providing shows on its main channel for all ages.

If the ratings for the recent Open All Hours special are anything to go by there is a decent healthy family audience still out there longing for a bit of quality on BBC One. But it was a special, the regular schedules of the network leave it hard pushed to find anything worth watching if you’re under 30 – on the BBC or any of the 100s of other channels.

And I should know, Granny Watkins has long complained there is ‘nothing on’ and only watches Coronation Street and EastEnders out of habit.

The Professionals and Judge John Deed actor, Martin Shaw, has given his view on the situation in an interview with the Radio Times. He told the magazine that viewers would much prefer to see older characters in programmes. He added he failed to understand why programme controllers concentrate on using so many youth aimed programmes to line the schedules calling it “idiocy” – as younger people are more likely to be doing other things rather than watching television.

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He also frowned upon the ‘red tape’ at the BBC which leads to creative frustrations.

The pressure is on to write four films quickly, and once they’re finished, it’s passed up the food chain. The first set of administrators make changes and send it back to the writers who say, ‘You’ve taken out our favourite bits.’ They’ll rewrite and it goes to the next level. By the time it’s gone through everyone, the writers are tearing their hair out or walking off in a huff.

When we actors get the script, we’re often already committed to other work and have to make last-minute adjustments. We don’t know if there will be an eighth series. They’ll wait to see our ratings and then if they do recommission, it will be too late.  – Martin Shaw speaking to the Radio Times.

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