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Better TV Technology than ever - but where is True Creativity?

Posted by Robert Hastings
07/02/2012 at 13:06

Towards the end of last year I sat in a concert hall listening to a performance of Handel’s magnificent oratorio, The Messiah. I have heard it many times but I still marvel at the creative force that brought such a musical masterpiece into existence. At the time of its composition George Frederick Handel’s mind was working on a plane of imagination that was almost superhuman. Such was the state of his consciousness during the creation of his most celebrated work that it is said that when he got to the Hallelujah chorus, his assistant found him in tears saying “I did think I saw heaven open, and saw the very face of God”. The way the creative process works is a fascinating subject in itself as is the operation of the human imagination, whether it is in writing, painting, composing, designing or any other area of endeavour that requires the production of original thought. Sadly if my current attempts to find interesting programming to watch on TV are anything to go by there seems to be a dearth of originality in the planning meetings and strategies of many TV executives and programme makers at the moment. Where are the truly insightful documentaries, original entertainment shows or memorable dramas? Yes there are a few highlights out there including well crafted BBC period dramas and documentaries and some HBO drama imports, but they are made all the more noticeable by the mundanity and drabness of the rest of the TV schedule. We may be living in recession, but at the risk of sounding like a Daily Mail columnist I still have to ask where are the genuinely funny sitcoms that were produced in the 1970s to cheer the population? Dr Who may have become glossier and have better quality sets and effects, but something of the original’s sinister atmosphere is missing. Banal reality TV has invaded the airwaves like a creeping vine and made so much programming look like watching someone else’s rather tedious home movies. Television has increasing competition from the internet in terms of how people spend their leisure time, and seems to be loosing the battle. No matter how good the programme making technology, it is the content that makes it worth watching. If a programme is designed purely around the consideration of making money you can be sure it will show. When the primary consideration is producing good television it will be also be evident on the screen. Television needs someone with the sensibility of 1960’s producer Lew Grade to bring things back from the brink and give viewers something worth watching again.


Jim Masson
19/02/2012 at 17:55

Excellent stuff Robert. I'm at the stage that I watch Sky Documentaries (not the repeats!) as often the content is excellent. But the rest of TV including the terestial variety has got very bland I think.

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