Sunday, 5 August 2007

Frost Among Equals

Some time ago I noticed a bit of a pattern emerging in ITV's programming and since I've just found a new programme which follows it roughly to the letter, I think it's well worth spelling it out for anyone who hasn't yet noticed. Here's how it works:
  1. Find a famous actor. Ideally one known mostly for one or two really iconic roles.
  2. Put them in a slightly over-long detective show.
  3. Surround them by minor characters too stupid to solve even the simplest cases on their own.
  4. Give it a name slightly more pretentious that the last one.
  5. Tell no-one.
So this started, as far as I'm aware, with David Jason (whose big iconic role, of course, was the parrot in Victor And Hugo) in A Touch Of Frost, which ITV now use mostly to plaster over cracks in their scheduling. Next, possibly skipping over a dozen or so that I never heard about or watched, comes Robson Green (whose iconic role was playing Robson in Robson And Jerome) in Touching Evil, then Jericho starring Robert Lindsay, and that was followed up by Eleventh Hour starring Patrick Stewart.

And now Robson Green is back, in Wire In The Blood which Wikipedia tells me has run since 2002 but apparently nobody bothered to tell me, thus robbing me of the opportunity to tire of it aged 19 instead of tiring of it aged 24 when Heroes appeared and took over its slot, but equally granting me the chance to learn the word "nocebo" about a week earlier than I otherwise would have.

I can only presume that there are loads more of these programmes out there. I'd never heard of Touching Evil until now and had Wire In The Blood run for three or fewer series I'd never have heard of that either. I can only assume that while ITV are happy to advertise Coronation Street, a show which everyone in the world knows exists and must by now either watch or be bored of (or both), they don't like to advertise their slightly over-long detective shows featuring respected actors (or Robson Green). Which seems odd to me, because they're about the only thing ITV can do passably well. (That said, if they will insist on showing it opposite Heroes, advertising it would probably be a lot like throwing money down a big hole.)


Stephen F said...

The other example I can think of is that Caroline Quentin show. I think it's called "Blue Murder" or something stupid like that. It's annoying because I was only half-watching it whilst doing something else, and kept looking up thinking Jonathan Creek was on the TV.

Bill said...

You may have avoided Wire in the Blood, but millions of other people didn't... even in it's fifth year it has won it's time slot for every episode - even against Heroes on BBC2! I guess that's why it comes back year after year.

Andrew said...

I didn't avoid it; I had no idea it existed. And I quite liked it, as it goes.