The Story of ITV – Programme, er, Three, is it? 

11 July 2005 tbs.pm/373

The Story of ITV – Programme Three

Well. A fortnight ago, I blogged a critique of ITV’s Story of ITV programme.

The first episode had been a curate’s egg – parts of it were excellent, but an awful lot of it was pure dreck of the first order.

The second episode was unwatchably awful. Wrongheaded, wrong and wrong in so many ways (plus, Tempo was from ABC, Melvyn, not [shudder] ATV).

Episode Three, however, was great. Spot on nearly all the way through. The true nature of ITV was shown, with advertising, popular (not populist) programming and the fundamental Unique Selling Point of regionalism to the fore.

In fact, this should have been episode one. In fact in fact, it looked like episode one. It gave the viewers, knowledgeable about ITV history or not, the perfect rundown of how the system worked and changed (cutting a very long story very short, mind).

The entire programme sang with the idea of being an introductory episode to a 2 or 3 part heavyweight series made by the South Bank Show mob and treating the viewers as intelligent adults.

So what has happened here? How can episode one have been so variable (and such a hymn of praise for the current ITV), whilst episode two was awful, yet episode three was all that could have been asked of ITV?

I had the distinct feeling that this was indeed a three part serious series, looking with a dispassionate eye at the history of ITV, but that it had been ‘got at’ by someone with their fingers on the pulse of nothing (as so often seems to happen at ITV) who decided that the series needed to be jazzed up and dumbed down.

If I’m right on this, part 4 next week will be a curate’s egg again (or possibly downright dreck) whilst part 5 will be back on form – being part 3 of the real series we should have seen.

Kudos to ITV, by the way, for having the BBC-like guts of including wounding and painful criticism from the true talent behind ITV – Tesler, Forman, Dyke, Fox et al.

Mind you, it would have been hard to have edited it out – the grand old men of ITV seem to know the tricks of the trade and enclose a perfectly aimed criticism within a funny anecdote. This series’s shoddy editing also conspired to ensure that these little nasties couldn’t be removed.

A Transdiffusion Presentation

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