US television gives us The Wire. We give them Piers Morgan

It’s a Sunday in the 1980s. As an Observer reader, the reign of Margaret Thatcher baffles and depresses you, but you know there is more to life than politics. So you check Clive James’s television column, pour yourself a glass of one of the surprisingly good Australian wines which have just reached the off-licences and turn on a quality drama. Brideshead Revisited, maybe, or Boys From the Blackstuff. Whatever it is, it will be British, for in the 1980s, everyone agreed that British television was “the envy of the world”.

After the loss of empire, the British used to console themselves by saying that pretty much everything was the envy of the world. Foreigners were meant to envy our monarchy, although, as a young republican, I couldn’t help noticing that they were not rushing to replace their elected presidents with spare members of the House of Windsor. Others declared the police, the judiciary, Parliament were beyond compare.

But when the British said their television was a world-beater, they weren’t just bragging.
Carry on reading

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6 thoughts on “US television gives us The Wire. We give them Piers Morgan

  1. I think Piers Morgan will be looking in the mirror a lot, these days. That’s the bathroom and bedroom and kitchen and hallway and rear view one and his compact one and Simon Cowell’s, not the tabloid.

    It’s a good subject, this piece. Dennis Potter, please don’t forget!
    The television may have changed but at least you’re still a republican. Which comes to what I’ve been thinking about recently, we need some books coming out and essays stirring up the idea of getting rid of the monarchy. It IS about time, after all.

    P.S – Doctor Who?
    Great 80’s school joke.

  2. Take Tales of the Unexpected. There’s a series that had established writers mixed with the then up and coming ones, and often of equal quality. It helped both the television schedule and the writers themselves.
    Why not bring that back? Surely to God there are loads of writers halfway through novels with no fingernails left who would gladly adapt them into a half-hour screenplay if they had the chance to.
    Or, if not the continuation of said series, why not something similar? Jeremy Dyson would be a sensible choice to build the series around, a sort of Dahl figure with his own title. There, that’s a good one.
    I once watched an ITV drama, a two-parter, some years ago, with Roberto Carlisle in it.
    It was about a murder (yawn) at a sea-side town (zzz).
    And all it was was watery itself. Everything about it. The whole thing. I’ve never seen such crap.
    Give me Total Wipeout and Takeshi any day.
    Great stoof.

  3. Personally after hearing some of that video, I wloudn’t vote for the man. He may have great business sense, but I think his political thinking is to way off base for me.RainbowRay?????

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