“If I give it a year people will have seen how boring it is to have endless Doctor Who spin-offs. Then, hopefully, people will go ‘we’ve made idiots of ourselves, let’s make something good again”
So says Jed Mercurio, writer of the phenomenally excellent Bodies, which will be wrapped up in a 90-minute special this Christmas, to the Timesonline.
But, hang on, is the talented Mr M being more than a tad bitter there with his pop about Doctor Who? Whatever anybody thinks about it (and you know our thoughts), that particular show is hitting the right buttons with a very wide audience, a family demographic that had been sorely neglected in the drama stakes. Gladly, that’s being addressed by a public service broadcaster.
And if he thinks there are endless Doctor Who spin-offs, Mercurio should really look just how much of a fraction the output from the Who production office is in relation to the Beeb’s whole drama pie. While I have my own feelings about Torchwood (i.e., it isn’t very good), from the clips disc that just landed on my desk of the forthcoming Sarah Jane Adventures, I’m personally glad that somebody s making a bit of exciting drama for a bona fide children’s audience.
Mercurio also opines:
To be honest, I don’t think it is a brilliant time to be doing grown-up drama series. People now only want to put time and effort into juvenilia, things that are really children’s drama dressed up a bit for an adult audience.”
Oh just get over it, will you? What about Life on Mars, Tsunami: the Aftermath, The State Within, Spooks and Jane Eyre to name but a few (and that’s just on BBC1)? I largely consider Bodies to be one of the finest dramas of the last five years, and it’s criminal we won’t be seeing a third series thanks to some bonkers scheduling on BBC2 and some regime changes. His previous Cardiac Arrest was also a storming piece of work, but for the writer to say that there are no opportunities for grown up drama in today’s climate is frankly absurd.
Perhaps it’s all just sour grapes on Mercurio’s part, and the fact that his own foray into the world of science fiction, the tediously dismal Invasion: Earth, disappeared up its own black hole. I would have used more colourful language there, but fear for our more juvenile readers who might be dressing themselves up as adults.