Thursday, 14 April 2011

Trailer: BBC2 - Original British Drama ('Crimson Petal & The White', 'The Hour', 'Night Watch', 'Shadow Line', 'United')

Thursday, 14 April 2011

BBC2 have released a nifty preview of some upcoming drama series, many of which have caught my attention. But what's most interesting is the tagline BBC2 have thought up ("Original British Drama"), which is perhaps a sly attack on Sky -- which recently spent millions procuring American cable shows to headline its Sky Atlantic channel. There's probably some animosity at the BBC about how Sky's using its resources to focus on US content, rather than nurture British drama. However, in Sky's defense, Strike Back, The Take, Mad Dogs and their Terry Pratchett adaptations are all UK-made. Maybe there's some bad blood because Sky Atlantic poached Mad Men from them last year?

Anyway, BBC2's trailer is a flashy reminder of why British drama still has a certain allure. Sure, there's still an over-dependence on period pieces (the '50s appears to be the new craze!), but great actors like Christopher Eccleston and Chiwetel Ejiofor also provide the kind of gravitas many American TV actors don't quite have. Indeed, it often feels like American execs actively pursue British actors to headline their shows, in the wake of Hugh Laurie's success on House (see Rufus Sewell, Damian Lewis, Jason Isaacs, Andrew Lincoln, Ed Westwick, Stephen Moyer, etc.)

The big new drama's heading BBC2's way are: The Crimson Petal & The White (currently airing); conspiracy drama The Shadow Line with Eccleston and Ejiofor; David Tennant and Dougray Scott in '50s football drama United; Claire Foy in The Night Watch, an adaptation of Sarah Waters' novel; and '50s TV news drama The Hour with The Wire's Dominic West.

Do any of those tickle your fancy?