Fantastic! We have a new buzzword added to the dazzling lexicon of television production, thanks to BBC1 controller Peter Fincham at today’s winter and spring schedule launch.
“Three generation TV - that’s TV you can watch with your grandparents and children. There’s not enough of that about,”
He told the assembled journalists as he talked up a desire to bring a new version of the Merlin legend to the now hallowed early Saturday evening drama slot sometime in 2008.
Ooh, “three generation TV”, you say? Jed Mercurio isn’t going to like that, as it will only give rise to those pesky children’s dramas dressed up for adults. Oh dear.
I can’t work out if the phrase is genius or a bit naff, but one thing it does indicate is that the pursuit of the Saturday night family drama slot is becoming a tad predictable. If the BBC is not careful, things are going to become terribly homogenized, and instead of three generations, they’ll be back to no generations watching.
As for Merlin, I’m not sure about this – the idea has been kicking around for while, with a pitch by Torchwood producer/writer Chris Chibnall being abandoned some time ago. Here, Shine, the independent behind Sky’s Hex and Channel 4’s Sugar Rush is developing the idea further. While Merlin doesn’t have the same resonance in the public mind as Robin Hood, Shine has a good track record with hitting the youth target. Certainly Hex deserved a bigger audience.
If this vogue for Saturday is going to continue, the shows have to be distinct enough to complement each other successfully. Doctor Who to Robin Hood is quite a hefty jump, but Sherwood and Camelot are just about in the same postcode. How much olde worlde stuff will the kids take, let alone the adults?
In other news, as reported by Liz, Fincham also confirmed that Friar Tuck will appear in the second series of Robin Hood and Matt Lucas is being courted to fill the cassock. Thank the maker, a potentially interesting character at last. In my experience, you can never have too many comedy monks!