Sunday, December 02, 2007

Aussie by numbers

I'm intrigued yet mildly appalled upon hearing the BBC is set to replace Neighbours - which it will lose to 'Five' some time next year following a protracted bidding war - with a brand new Australian soap of its own. At first glance it seems a terrible idea, and one which can only fail. At a second glance, again, it seems a terrible idea which can only fail.

Do the BBC's programming bigwigs seriously think we, the discerning viewers, will put up with any soaped-up Australian claptrap? That our appetite for antipodean drama is so rampant that they have to try and construct a carbon-copy format in order to fill the void? If they think the top quality drama, captivatingly cringeworthy dramatic devices and sheer magic of Ramsay Street can be simply replicated, they're very much mistaken. I forsee a flop of Eldorado proportions.

Some of Neighbours' characters and storylines over the years have been of such a calibre that I've occasionally considered them more important than my actual life. Who can fail to have been engrossed by Karl's ongoing love/hate relationship with the medical profession when we all know, deep down, he's the finest GP that side of the Tropic of Capricorn? Who among us has never wept, alone, while rewatching the slow and painful death of Madge Bishop? I sweated profusely the time Cody Willis was innocently gunned down in the confines of her own living room because some drugged-up nutcase was on the rampage in the street. Shivers ascend my spine every time I think of the unbridled thespian power of Susan's response to hearing of Karl's impending fathering of a child with mistress Izzy in 2004: perhaps the finest Neighbours street scene ever ("from now on Karl, expect nothing from me but hatred"). Watch it now. Sometimes I awake in the morning and realise that overnight I have dreamt of possessing an Erinsmail account. When I famously hooked up with Joe Mangel (a.k.a. Mark Little) at All Tommorow's Parties earlier this year I was starstruck beyond belief by his oafish, plebian charm: "This fucker's got a camera." Brilliant.

Will 'Out Of The Blue' ever be capable of stirring my inner essence in such a way? Not likely. I'll be flicking over to 'Five'.


Blogger Dan said...

Not only have they binned Neighbours, for its final year the beloved 1.40pm slot is to go too. Christopher Timothy vehicle Doctors will now park in that berth.

Points of View was ablaze with disgust at these epoch-defining events yesterday.

I'm going to hum staple background track 'One Good Reason' all day today in tribute to the passing of Neighbours. Please, care to join me.

December 03, 2007 11:14 am  
Blogger Paddy said...

Crivens - ditching the 1.30pm slot? It strikes me as a petty move, made in the knowledge that they've lost the rights in a bid to give the impression they're not that bothered about losing it.

I fear for Timothy and his Doctors juggernaut though. Until now, at least 87% of its ratings share has been made up of people who've simply forgotten to switch over when Neighbours finishes. I can't see many switching on for it especially. Thus he will be forced to rely solely upon the income from his old people's insurance adverts.

December 03, 2007 3:36 pm  
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