January 2008 was meant to see a new look ITV with a raft of new shows, including a string of high profile drama launches, and a newly returned News At Ten to complete the revamp. ITV had high ITVhopes and were quietly confident that their new shows would take off and revitalise the damaged brand of ITV. But as the year draws near to its end there’s little sign of the revamp having worked. News At Ten continues to lose out to its BBC counter-part, which gets double the ratings, and those hyped new shows are now something for ITV to forget – for the most part. Here we take a look at those shows and see which hits were and which were flops.

 

January 2008 was meant to see a new look ITV with a raft of new shows, including a string of high ITVprofile drama launches, and a newly returned News At Ten to complete the revamp. ITV had high hopes and were quietly confident that their new shows would take off and revitalise the damaged brand of ITV. But as the year draws near to its end there’s little sign of the revamp having worked. News At Ten continues to lose out to its BBC counter-part, which gets double the ratings, and those hyped new shows are now something for ITV to forget – for the most part. Here we take a look at those shows and see which hits were and which were flops.


 

The Royal Today

 

ITV saw the success of BBC’s daytime drama Doctors and hoped to copy it. There most recent The Royal Today, copyright ITVattempts at launching daytime dramas, Crossroads & Night And Day, both failed so ITV decided to go with a trusted brand name to pull in viewers. The Royal Today was set in the modern day hospital seen in The Royal, the Sunday night 60’s drama. The modern day spin-off would feature little nods back to its parent show but would mostly be an entirely new show. Amongst the cast were former soap actors Ben Hull, Pal Aron, Leah Bracknell, Libby Davison and Andrew Scarborough. The show launched with two million viewers but figures quickly tumbled down to one million or less.

 

The cast of parent show The Royal, copyright ITVReturning: Probably not but ITV have not confirmed one way or the other. When ATV Network News spoke to ITV in late June regarding The Royal Today’s future we were told that no decision had been taken. However, given the fact that the first series ended in March any renewal would have to take place quickly in order to secure the cast. The fact that its nearly the end of the year and ‘no decision has been taken’ leads many to believe The Royal Today has been quietly dropped.

 Our Verdict: Nothing original here and just an attempt to cash in on the success of The Royal by launching a barely relevant spin-off series. There was little really to connect the two shows apart from a few names.


 

 

The Fixer

 

Another hyped drama that ITV hoped would take off. The show was about a group of people who carry out stated order assassinations when the criminal justice system fails to deliver convictions for dangerous criminals. The show’s premise was interesting enough to pull in over six million viewers for its first episode and the show won over some critics. It had a somewhat high profile cast with Andrew Buchan, Tazmin Outhwaite and Jody Latham leading the cast. It was criticized by some for its repetitive storylines and lack of real development for the characters. By the time the series ended it had lost over half its audience and was beaten by BBC1 with Waking The Dead.

 

Returning: Yes despite the fact it lost over half its audience and its last episode pulled in an unimpressive 3.3 million viewers it was still enough for ITV to give the show a second run – they saw potential in the series. It will return sometime next year for another run.

 Our Verdict: Deserved to be re-commissioned. It could be a long running returning drama series if ITV play their cards right.


 

 

 

Honest

 

A remake of a New Zealand drama, Honest was about a woman determined to put her family back on the straight and narrow after years of criminal activity. Her decision to do this is sparked by the arrest and imprisonment of her husband. A comedy drama that pulled in six million viewers for its first episode but ratings dipped across its run, dropping to a low of 3.3 million, but railed up to four million for its last episode. Leading the cast was Amanda Redman and Sean Pertwee with Danny Webb and Camile Coduri also starring in the show.

 

Returning: Unlikely. Critics weren’t so keen on the series and ratings dropped across its run.

 

Our Verdict: Doesn’t have much room to be a long running series as it will quickly run out material.


 

The Palace

 

It was touted as a cross between The West Wing and Dallas and ITV hoped the tale of a fictional Royalty at the Palace, copyright ITVBritish Royal Family would pull big audiences. It certainly could have with the potential for scandalous and outrageous storylines along the style of Dallas or Footballers Wives. But despite offering glamour and intrigue what was dished up was arguments and sulking – hardly riveting television. Several cast members claimed interference and script changes resulted in the show being different from what was originally intended. The drama also had a high-profile cast with Jane Asher, Zoe Teleford, Sophie Winkleman and Roy Marsden all amongst the leading cast. As with other ITV drama’s the show lost ratings across its season and once again its last episode was watched by just over three million.

 

The below stairs cast, copyright ITVReturning: No, ITV have confirmed the show won’t be returning because of disappointing figures.

 

Our Verdict: A good, solid drama which was well written and acted but not suited to ITV. More suited to BBC2 or C4, this perhaps explains why it didn’t rate well.


 

Moving Wallpaper

 

The boldest and different of ITV’s offerings this year and won critical praise. The series was about the production team off the fictional, and accompanying, soap Echo Beach and was a comedy/drama ITVlook at the work behind the soap. Moving Wallpaper featured the executive producer of Echo Beach and the writing staff and some episodes were loosely based on real events that took place behind the scenes of soaps. ‘Actors’ from Echo Beach played themselves in small cameos throughout the series although Suzie Amy played ‘herself’ as a main character in Moving Wallpaper in order to get a part on Echo Beach. Although the show didn’t perform brilliantly in the ratings it did better than its sister show, Echo Beach, and ITV was praised it’s attempt at producing something different. Ben Miller, James Lance, Raquel Cassidy and Sarah Hadland were amongst the cast.

 

Returning: Yes! Despite low ratings ITV confirmed that Moving Wallpaper would return but the premise of the show will change. It will no longer be a behind-the-scenes series about Echo Beach.

 

Our Verdict: Funny, well written, well acted. Brilliant. Let down by the lameness of Echo Beach but the spotting the links between the two shows was fun and a good concept.


  

Echo Beach

 

Perhaps of all the show’s ITV launched this was the one they had the biggest hopes for and boy did they die fast. With a cast including Jason Donovan, Suzie Amy, Martine McCutcheon and Hugo Speer – as well as an assortment of ex-soap stars – it looked like the dream casting. Set in a fictional Smiles all round as the Beach flops, ITVCornish town Echo Beach as the soap that Moving Wallpaper produced. It revolved around the complicated love triangle off three central characters. The show was lashed by critics almost from the start with unfavourable comparisons to The O.C, Hollyoaks, Crossroads, Home And Away and Eldorado. It was the ‘soap’ that didn’t have its own identity but was stealing from everywhere else. It was also a soap that didn’t know it was a soap with many of the performances being ‘hammy’ and often comical – and yet Echo Beach was meant to be the serious drama and Moving Wallpaper the spoof. Audiences didn’t seem too bothered with the show either but it’s five million rating for the first episode soon plummeting.

 

More smiles as the ratings drop, ITVReturning: No. ITV were considering bringing the show back in a slightly different format and ideas such as moving it to ITV2 or online were tossed about but ultimately ITV decided not to renew Echo Beach.

 

Our Verdict: A show that didn’t know what it was or wanted to be. It was lame and came across as a spoof when it was meant to be a proper drama. Terribly miscast and dull.


 

 

Rock Rivals

 

A drama about an X-Factor style contest that was loosely based on the reality series itself. Rock Rivals was from the team behind Footballers Wives and Bad Girls and there was a high level of expectation surrounding it. The show would allow viewers to decide the winner at the end of the series and there was even talk of the winner releasing a single. Michelle Collins and Sean Gallagher led the series with Alison Newman and Gary Cooke also starring. The show was the usual mix of silly names and silly plots, with lots of pouting, bitching and scheming from all involved, but audiences failed to take with the series. Only 3.9 million tuned in for the first episode and this dropped by a million for the second episode. Although figures rallied somewhat for the last episode, with 3.3 million watching, it failed to have the impact ITV were hoping for.

 

Returning: No the show has officially been dropped by ITV due to the low ratings.

 

Our Verdict: A drama based on a reality contest is a good idea but something here didn’t quite click. Maybe it’s because the supporting characters, who were far more interesting, were rather neglected while the ‘leads’ got far too much screen time. Reliance on old plots, such as the obsessed fan and pushy mother, also let it down.


 

Teenage Kicks

 

A comedy series starring Adrian Edmondson as the father who is forced to move into student accommodation with his two children. The show was originally a BBC radio series in 2007 and was adapted for ITV by Phil McIntyre Productions. The show was not well received by critics with it being viewed as the latest disastrous attempt by ITV to get back into comedy. It was also blasted for its puerile and juvenile humour. The show wasn’t a huge success with audiences either.

 

Returning: Unlikely. Blasted by critics and shunned by audiences, it’s unlikely ITV would give the show another run; however they did give Celebrity Love Island another try even after it suffered the same issues

 

Our Verdict: Oh dear. That’s all we can say.


 

The Whistleblowers

 

A thriller series about two people who go undercover in various companies to expose the criminal/dangerous goings on with them. The series starred Indira Varma, Richard Coyle and Daniel Ryan but sank in the ratings without trace. The series fell below the two million mark very quickly as the audience turned off. Reviews were not good.  

 Returning: No the low ratings sealed the drama’s fate.


 

Harley Street

 

Cast of Harley Street, ITVA “glossy” medical drama set in the world of the rich, wealthy and glamorous and following the lives of the patients and Doctors of London’s infamous Harley Street. Once again ITV were hoping the drama would prove a hit with audiences and really hyped it up and the series boasted an array of guest stars but audiences simply didn’t take to the drama and across its run ratings declined. The series was criticised for its clichéd plots and poor characters and reliance on soap stars, main stars were Suranne Jones and Paul Nichols.

 

Returning: There was some speculation that ITV were going to re-commission the series as they felt the show went out in the wrong slot. However, as yet there’s been no official confirmation and the mixture of poor ratings, bad reviews and audience indifference doesn’t make it likely the series would return without a major revamp.


 

Lost in Austen

 

A four part drama about modern-day girl Amanda Price finding her way into the world of her favourite book, Pride and Prejudice. Amanda Price swaps places with the heroine of the book, Elizabeth ITVBennett, and gets to life out her fantasy by meeting Mr. Darcy and seeing the events of the book unfold before her eyes but unfortunately things don’t pan out as they do and the more Amanda tries to put things right the more they go wrong. The series wasn’t a huge success in the ratings but did win positive reviews and got media insiders talking about ITV drama in a positive way once more. The drama was well made, scripted and well cast with Jemima Rooper playing Amanda Price and Alex Kingston, Christina Cole, Hugh Bonneville, Lindsay Duncan and Michelle Duncan also amongst the cast.

 

Returning: No but the format of the show wouldn’t allow it to return unless the second series focused on another character finding their way into a different book.


 

Wired:

 

A three-part drama series about a group of people planning to scam a company out of money, a thriller series about the scam and whether or not the people within the group would betray them. The series starred Jodie Whittaker, Laurence Fox, Toby Stephens and Charlie Brooks and won good reviews and good ratings for its first episode. However, ratings for the second and third episodes declined somewhat.

 

Returning: Unknown but unlikely.


  

Britannia High

 

Drama series aimed at the youth audience and cashing in on the success of High School Musical and Last flop for ITVthe lasting legacy of Fame by focusing on a group of young dancers and singers at a talent school. The series was devised by Arlene Phillips and ITV hoped it would capture the younger audience’s imagination in the same way Disney has with High School Musical. The reaction to the drama has not been positive and the reviews were critical. Ratings for the series have dropped to 2.5 million and research has revealed that the average audience for the series is a 42 year old male, not the teenage audience ITV were hoping for.

 

Returning: The series is still airing on ITV but the poor ratings and universal dislike of the show means it isn’t in a good position to come back but stranger things have happened.

 

 

 

 

 

  

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