For those of us who live, work and breathe the media, which has expanded now with advent of social media, we have a lot of responsibility. Speaking as an actor, our first job is to tell the story as the author wrote it, within the bounds of the character. It is also the first responsibility of the Producer ….to get a great story across and engage the audience, move it to laughter or tears.
It comes back at the start, always, to the writer and then to a large extent the commercial demands….sell tickets, subscriptions etc.
Queen Elizabeth II
There are some pretty good writers about. Being British I tend to watch a lot of English written work, so, having said I would not watch the series…… largely out of curiosity, I have watched this last series of The Crown. The first series was good…entertaining and in terms of the events, happening during that early part of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, it seemed fairly accurate and fair. However the second series is disappointing and it all comes down to the script and playing with the facts, giving rise to the audience buying into a story, which is mistold. What a missed opportunity ….the real story is so much deeper and more interesting, than the one we are watching. It deserved better. If only it had been written by David Hare or Abi Morgan……both wonderful contemporary British playwrights. If those of us in the media industry are going to dish up such a fascinating tale – The Crown, which encompasses so much more than just the inner workings of a family, which happens to be Royal, then tell as much of the real story as possible. Furthermore, poorly written, inaccurate stories about living people plays fast and loose with lives. There is an incident about the accidental death of a friend of Prince Charles, which is used as a tool to manipulate the facts about activities in his private life. I believe this is wrong and frankly reprehensible, to sensationalise the facts, in order to serve the story. We should not do that, we should be better than that.
There is drama and then there is soap. The tabloid newspapers already use soap tactics to sell papers, I believe that the Television and Film industry should steer clear of cheap thrills to sell a good story, unless you’re making an honestly acknowledged soap opera.
Netflix has put out some fine films under its banner….The Irishman last year and The Chicago 7 this year, the superb series – The Queen’s Gambit. It’s disappointing that The Crown is part of the programming, although the production values are outstanding, it’s the script that lets the series down. Maintain the quality drama, Netflix! The competition is fierce, but with all its reported investment, Netflix can continue to lead the way as a first rate platform.
I was incredibly lucky to be in productions on television and film with wonderful scripts by outstanding writers The System aka The Girl Getters by Peter Draper, 1984 by George Orwell, adapted by Nigel Kneale. A Suitable Case for Treatment and The Birth of a Private Man by David Mercer, The Lion in Winter by James Goldman…..the list goes on….I was so lucky. I could never have given good performances without the story, the script, and the characters and we did not have the lavish budgets in those days.
So please, please Producers, Broadcasters, Streaming Platforms only put out entertainment that is well written and deserving of the public we serve to entertain. Audiences are not stupid. They may sometimes be lazy and will watch whatever is dished up to them, but never underestimate them… they are not as dumb as you might think they are.