Monday, August 21, 2006

It's official: ITV drama has lost its way

In a remarkably candid interview in today's Guardian newspaper, the head of drama production at ITV admits the channel has lost its way and its focus on programming. Andy Harries says hundreds of people have told him they find Britain's leading commercial channel 'unwatchable'. He describes the channel as 'bargain basement' and 'cluttered'. Harries attributes part of the problem to ITV changing its key drama slot from 60 to 90 minutes, requiring a five act structure. 'Writers find it very difficult to write for ... good shows suffered ... this may have been a factor in some not being recommissioned.' ITV drama caters too much for older women, according to Harries.

So, what does he plan to do about fixing these problems? According to the Guardian, rumours are rife that Harries will leave ITV Productions, though he declined to confirm that. He attributes all his succusses to long-term relationships with writers. 'Once you have a creative partnership, that is how good things come out.' Harries wants ITV to be a centre of excellence for serious drama, single drama and movies.

Well, it sounds like he's got a good grasp of the illness. Can Andy Harries find the cure, and will he be around long enough to nurse the patient back to health?

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