Thursday, April 03, 2008

Is Kevin Spacey right?

Following Kevin Spacey's criticism of the BBC for promoting West End musicals through talent shows, in The Guardian, Mark Lawson asks whether we really should be harking back to The Play For Today (PFT) as Spacey suggests.
It ...[became] clear that many writers were equivocal about the single, one-off play. Many PFT alumni - Potter, Bleasdale, Stephen Poliakoff - wrote serials as soon as they could, and the major TV dramatists of the last decade - Jimmy McGovern, Paul Abbott, Debbie Horsfield, Russell T Davies, Kay Mellor - have also preferred the longer form. Thirty years ago, Abbott's State of Play or McGovern's The Street might have been one-offs rather than multi-part dramas. Surely the fact that they're not is our gain rather than our loss.

Personally, I would rather have The Street - six or eight politically and psychologically complex dramas written or encouraged by McGovern - than one McGovern in a run of 25 plays of variable quality. If Kevin Spacey wants to see more new plays by young British writers, perhaps he should commission them for the Old Vic.

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