Sunday, July 04, 2010

Simple TV Can Often Be The Best TV

I've just watched a marvellous hour long interview with Sir David Frost by Mark Lawson which was originally shown on BBC4 a couple of weeks ago.

It was just Lawson and Frost talking. No fancy shots. Three cameras. Archive footage used sparingly. Simple television, but brilliant television.

But why don't we get more of this sort of thing? It's cheap and easy to make. Perhaps it's too easy for today's TV executives who always need to "innovate".

13 comments:

jane said...

Nixon?

Evsie said...

Charlie Rose does this brilliantly in the US. Insightful questioning, rarely confrontational (in the Paxman sense) but probing and questioning. Just a table and a couple of chairs suffice for a set.

If there's a market for that kind of show in the US, surely there is here too? We certainly have enough knowledgeable potential hosts to do a UK version, I can't for the life of me think of a reason we don't have space in the schedule for it.

Líam said...

It says a lot that it was shown on BBC Four. They used to do a heck of a lot more of this sort of thing on BBC Two....and indeed One.

I am a great fan of HardTalk, shown at the early hours on BBC News. Again - simple, unfussy television, just an interviewer and interviewee, not even video clips. It'll never be shown on "mainstream" television, the execs wouldn't dare.

If the Beeb are cutting back as they say they are, maybe such a return to innocence wouldn't be such a bad idea...

John said...

Surely it was expensive enough to resurrect Nixon? :P

Tom said...

Yeah, those executives are desperate to justify their large salaries for the sake of "fresh thinking". Who cares whether quality is discarded along the way.

David said...

100% correct Iain.
They think they are clever today, what with odd angle shots and so many clips but they couldn't hold a candle to the greats of the past.
That's why I appreciate Hard Talk, but then that's on in the middle of the night. Proper interviewing.
It's the same with some sport coverage, you get cross-eyed with all the fancy camera work and frequently can't follow what's going on.
When will we learn that something done simply, but brilliantly, is often best?

Eddie said...

I have to agree, I have spent Sunday morning watching "Out of Town" on You Tube - just as I used to watch it on a Sunday as a kid.

Simple TV, Jack Hargreaves to camera doing a voice over of a cine film (I guess) that he had recorded at some point in the past.

Great viewing.

Richard Gadsden said...

Why? Because this show doesn't show off the producer and director's skills, and the people commissioning programs are producers and directors.

Libertarian said...

Simple always works best eventually.

There must be a production company willing to make a simple political programme. After all there is a massive gap in the market with people sick and tired of the old Question Time format etc

NameHere said...

Evsie is right to point to Charlie Rose. Why is it that the Americans, with no guaranteed funding, for public service broadcasting, produce a show like that while we don't.

Chardonnay Chap said...

It was just Lawson and Nixon talking. No fancy shots. Three cameras.

I think that's innovative enough, don't you? Will he do Julius Caesar later in the series?

Líam said...

Iain - here's Hard Talk with Frank Field - very interesting it is too....


http://beta.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00szgxf/HARDtalk_Frank_Field_MP_Chairman_of_the_Independent_Review_on_Poverty/

MightyMelmoth said...

Like the excellent interviews Iain did on Doughty Street. I so enjoyed hearing Paddy Ashdown and others giving detailed and interesting answers without anyone butting in. The interview with Giles Brandreth was a joy!So much better than those 2 minute long interviews on the Today Programme and Radio Five.