Monday, 22 August 2011

Cometh the hour

There's an old writer's maxim that says, "Write about what you know" and the BBC gives an object lesson on why this is so.  Long enjoying a reputation for producing spot-on period dramas, the Beeb shows how far the mighty have fallen with it's new series "The Hour", which it bills as the British "Mad Men".  Unfortunately, it differs in two ways:  First, it's about television broadcasters in the 1950s instead of advertisers in the 1960s and second, where "Mad Men" strives for getting all the details right, "The Hour", amazingly, is lumbered with anachronisms.  Given that the writer, a woman by the name of Abi Morgan bleats on about how
I approach writing a period piece as I would approach all my other projects, focusing on the truth of the characters' journeys but primarily it is a fictional world. The past is another country. I write as an intrigued foreigner inspired by a new landscape.
"The truth of the characters' journey".  Lord, give me strength.  In plain English, that means that she's a lazy writer who can't be bothered to do her homework and ends up with a load of 21st century characters in fancy dress. That's why they go around spouting tosh like "Note to self" and use "reference" as a verb.

Moral?  When doing a period story (or any writing at all) , research, research, research.

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