My point being… 

4 January 2004

Any ‘blog like this can become a place to whinge about the ills of the world. Indeed, I do a lot of that here about television (only as a public service, in order to save you the bother, of course).

UKGold has spent the afternoon showing us an old series and proving something. Television now is awful television. It’s cheap television. It’s dumb television. It’s unwatchable tosh.

But I can now prove it wasn’t always like that. And I can prove that you don’t have to go back to the 1950s or 1960s to get great television. You do have to go back in time, but only to 1986.

This, suddenly far away time, featured At Bertram’s Hotel, a Miss Marple adventure with the incomparable Joan Hickson in the role. The adventure here positively dripped quality – quality acting, quality location, quality writing, quality direction, quality casting, quality props… everything you could ever want in a television programme.

And it proved that, with a bit of money and a lot of talent (in front and behind of the cameras as well as in management), television can be art and like all great art can be timeless and beautiful. Bertram’s qualifies as great art.

It also shows that ITV could never have done this – we’re all too stupid to appreciate it anyway (they argue) – and that the dumb and dumber attitude at ITV since 1993 has (dis-)served the BBC with a reason to follow it down the same path.

I’m not dumb. Neither are any of you people. In fact, I’d wager that you know very few people who are as dumb as television thinks we are. You may know people who like lowbrow or nobrow TV. But you know more who like quality television – good writing, acting or the like.

Sure, we may want a bit of forgettable crud or moving wallpaper from television now and again. We may even chose it over something ‘better’ on another channel. But it’d be nice to have the choice again. It’d be nice to know that, even if all we really did want was Coronation Street and the chance of seeing naked ugly people in ‘reality’ situations, we’d still have the option of chancing across, choosing or even ignoring something, somewhere, that was better.

But I have an opinion, so I obviously don’t matter.

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