Posts Tagged ‘Channel 4’


TV in Translation

C4 drama Homeland is building up momentum in both impressive reviews and audience figures since its UK launch in February. Attracting ratings of up to 2 million every weekend, series one reaches its finale this Sunday (6th May 2012).

Starring Claire Danes and Damian Lewis, Homeland tells the story of an American Marine left for dead in Iraq who is rescued after years in captivity. Feted as a returning hero, he tries to re-adapt to life in the US, but amid the continuing terrorist threat not everyone in the CIA believes his story.

In the States, Homeland also benefited for being quoted as President Obama’s favourite show – whether that’s evidence it rings true, or serves as fantasy escapism for Obama while he’s trudging through Health bill reforms and pardoning turkeys at Thanksgiving, only he will know.

Yet despite its stars subsequently visiting the White House, Homeland is actually based on an Israeli TV series Hatufim (Prisoners of War).

Homeland is not the only US foreign drama remake doing the rounds. Series 2 of the US remake of Danish TV drama The Killing has just started screening on C4. The Danish version was screened last year to great acclaim on BBC4.

The Killing’s fellow successful Scandinavian thrillers Borgen and The Bridge are also rumoured for English language remakes in the UK.

Meanwhile, back in the US, In Treatment staring Gabriel Byrne as a conflicted psychiatrist has garnered a host of Emmy and Golden Globes nominations and awards across it’s three series despite being frequently a word-for-word translation of another Israeli series, Be Tipul.

Hollywood remakes of foreign films have been a regular feature of cinema for years from The Magnificent Seven to Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Now the practice has moved to the small screen.

So how television is produced has changed. But how we consume that TV is also changing. Blogs and twitter are becoming central to how channels, newspapers and websites promote and review shows. Parallel alternate language versions generate even more discussion, opinion and speculation. Who did kill Rosie Larsen? Is Brody a double or triple agent? Is the remake better? Some fans will always prefer the originals. Many will not have ‘subtitle patience’ . In other circumstances, the tension these shows thrive on is lost after viewing the English language version first. However, at a point when through multi-channels and multi-platforms the cultural resonance of television seemed to be fracturing into something much less than the sum of its parts, ‘event TV’ is suddenly back on the agenda.

Post by Tim Kerr, Joint Managing Director @TNR Communications

Reality TV is not just for the fame hungry, those with undiscovered talent or out-of-work celebrities. It can be genuinely fascinating and insightful programming, documenting real life in a real environment, often unearthing remarkable stories and bringing amazing characters to light.

Foolishly I thought the first series of One Born Every Minute was only ever intended to be a one-off special last year so imagine my excitement when I see and hear the joy and pain that is childbirth in all its HD glory on national television! It’s genius.

So the (rather brave) channel 4 documentary team have been back on the wards of Princess Anne Hospital in Southampton capturing what can only be described as incredible life changing moments. As an out and proud reality TV fan, this series has reaffirmed my faith in fly-on-the-wall documentaries and how the popular ‘sport’ of people-watching does make great TV. Despite a few bumps in the road (namely not ending Big Brother at its peak), clearly Chanel 4 is a champion of new, thought-provoking television and is no stranger to documentaries and reality TV.  Old favourites include Wife Swap, Under Cover Boss and Supernanny. One of their newest creations, The Family, is a candid, stripped-back look into the universal themes of British family life from various cultures which is worth a watch. And not forgetting the ratings busting Embarrassing Bodies which is now back on our screens (click on link for last weeks BARB overnight figures); it’s an example of reality TV pushing the boundaries proving that real life can be truly captivating, if not a little gruesome, enough without any interference.

And it’s not just Channel 4 but great shows from the BBC including The Apprentice and The Choir with Gareth Malone are setting the bar high. Reality TV is not reserved for talent contests, despite their meteoric rise.

Reality TV does not just mean regurgitated and un-imaginative twists and plots, desperate celebrities and bug-eating try-hards; but rather, with a little originality and creativity, reality TV can be fresh, new and often stir conversation and debate.

While I accept OBEM may not make easy viewing for everyone, I think you’d be hard-pressed not to see the merit in what they’re doing; creating must-see TV. No sets, no performances but, put simply; real stories, real settings and real life people.  If that doesn’t define Reality TV, I’m not quite sure what does.

Post written by Elizabeth Herridge (Project Manager @TNR Communications)

The BBC has announced some of its national radio stations, online outputs and digital TV channels may be for the chop. BBC 6 Music and its Asian network are to be taken off the airwaves by the end of next year and BBC online may also be slashed in half by 2013.

Director General Mark Thompson told his staff that quality, not quantity, is the aim of the game – all part of a major strategy review that’s been billed the biggest shake-up in the organisation’s 88-year history.

It’s depressing news for staff at the beeb. The Union says up to 600 jobs are in jeopardy. Many journalists now have to sit and wait to see if their days at Television Centre are numbered.

But what about this talk of “making “fewer things better?” Well, if it goes to plan £600 million will be plunged into higher calibre programme-making. BBC local radio has been told to improve “its quality and originality,” with more investment in local journalism. Nationally, BBC 1 and 2 will be given more cash to grow. While on the web, the BBC will have to provide more links to the pages of rival publishers.

The landscape of the corporation is changing dramatically, and so will the way it works with those outside the walls at White City.

As a TV and Radio Producer, I know first hand that the BBC can be a hard nut to crack when it comes to getting stories on air or online. I consider the quality of much of the beeb’s output to be high already. If more quality is what it’s after, PR professionals will have to follow suit and work even harder to deliver just that.

On the other hand, now may be the time for outlets like ITV and Channel 4 and various other news websites to shine. If that’s the case, more doors may open, and with it, the potential for more PR opportunities in the future.

TimesTimes | Big, bloated and cunning
GuardianAlastair Harper | Guardian | Why everyone wants to #saveBBC6music
Pop justicePopjustice | Why a sad day for 6Music could also be a sad day for Radio 1
GuardianJohnny Dee | Guardian | BBC 6 Music: axing the station would be massive mistake
First PostJonathan Harwood | First Post | Axe ‘commercial’ Radio 1, not 6Music, fans tell BBC
No Rock & Roll FunSimon Hayes Budgen | No Rock And Roll Fun | 6 Music back on Death Row

Post by Tessa Parry-Wingfield (Producer for TNR Communications)