Friday, December 17, 2004

Spooks credits

Spooks, the highly successful BBC 1 drama series, will no longer be quite such a mystery to viewers following an agreement between the Guild, the BBC and the independent producer Kudos.

From now on credits will appear on digital repeats of Spooks, DVD releases, and the Spooks website. The BBC has promised never again to produce or commission drama series without a guarantee of writers’ credits.

For more than a year the Guild has been complaining that Spooks carries no writers’ credits – in contravention of the Guild’s agreements with the BBC and the independent producers’ trade body PACT. It is also an offence against the BBC’s internal producer guidelines.

The idea behind Spooks was that viewers should believe their TVs had been taken over by alien forces – and credits would have ruined that illusion. Guild General Secretary Bernie Corbett commented: “It was always rubbish to pretend that intelligent viewers regarded this as anything other than high-quality drama entertainment.”

As a settlement of the issue the following agreement has been reached:

1. After each episode has been broadcast on BBC One a preview of the following episode will be broadcast on BBC Three. The broadcast on BBC Three will have an end title sequence which will credit the writer (and other key contributors) of that episode in the usual way.

2. The “Spooks” website will continue to carry full credits information but the site will be reviewed to ensure better orientation to the credits as well as improved presentation of the credits on the site.

3. Subsequent DVD releases (from season two onwards) will include full credit information as per the website as an additional feature of the DVD. It has not proved feasible for technical reasons to include credits for viewers on digital platforms via their red button.

The following joint statement by the BBC, Writers’ Guild and Personal Managers Association, has been agreed:

“A disagreement between the BBC, Kudos Film and Television and the writers' representative organisations (the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain and the Personal Managers Association) concerning the absence of the writers' credit on "Spooks" has been resolved by agreement on a package of measures in relation to this programme which address the concerns raised.

“During the discussions on this matter, the BBC acknowledged that the absence of credits on this specific programme had been the result of unique circumstances and established no precedent concerning the standard provisions dealing with the writers' entitlement to a credit.

“The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain said it had agreed to treat “Spooks” as a special case on the understanding that writers’ credits would appear on all future BBC productions and commissions.”

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