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BBC cancels Dirk Gently


OK, this isn't quite on the Firefly level of infuriating cancellations, but it's still pretty annoying. Apparently ratings were low. Well what do you expect if you tuck something away on BBC f***ing Four with no publicity? This should have been a mainstream comedy drama. The main three actors were all recognisable to a mainstream audience, it's based on a couple of books written by one of this country's most enduringly popular authors and it's (sort of) a detective series, for Arkleseizure's sake! It should have been on BBC2 if not BBC1. Instead, it was tucked out of the way alongside the likes of 'Michael Portillo's Great British Railway Journeys'* and 'Canal Walks with Julia Bradbury'. In a hundred channel environment, BBC4 is not the first place to look for light entertainment / comedy drama.

* This is a real programme. It sounds like a joke programme that a desperate Alan Partridge would come up with to pitch to BBC execs, only for them to shake their heads sadly. To be fair though, tonight's episode takes the former Defence Secretary to Wrexham, so I will watch it.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 29th, 2012 08:52 am (UTC)
I didn’t find the cancellation very surprising. While Mangan’s Gently was rather good, Boyd’s MacDuff was a disaster — ill-defined character and motivation, and he sucked the life out of the drama whenever he was on screen. Add to that the inconsistent tone across the episodes, and it didn’t really work as a TV series. Which is a pity.
May. 29th, 2012 09:22 am (UTC)
Disagree. I found it very watchable, and the tension between MacDuff and his girlfriend and Gently was interesting, particularly the 'why on earth does MacDuff not just walk out and leave Gently to stew in his own juice' question. I actually

I agree with pp that it would have done better if they'd had more confidence in it.
May. 29th, 2012 08:28 pm (UTC)
Read the article Pp linked to, and it seems that the problem was not that ratings were low so much as that they kept falling. (Unlike Game of Thrones, where Kargicq tells me they kept rising as word of mouth spread.) That does suggest to me not so much "BBC put it on inappropriate channel" as "most people didn't enjoy it". Frustrating if you were one of those who did, though! -N.
May. 29th, 2012 10:21 pm (UTC)
Hmm, I'm not entirely convinced. OK, Game of Thrones had good word of mouth, but it was also very heavily promoted and trailered using a very wide range of media. And GRRM as well as being a good author has a superb grasp of the fine art of engaging large numbers of people and making them feel like almost-personal friends, and he works very hard at it.

OK, GOT was on an obscure channel, but a lot of resources went behind getting people to that channel from other places that are not obscure, and the word of mouth fed off that as much as vice versa. Dirk Gently had none of those advantages (and was of course also produced on a much lower budget).
May. 29th, 2012 09:23 am (UTC)
Hey, I think Mr Portillo is a real discovery as a low-brow documentary presenter, and a lot less irritating than most.
May. 29th, 2012 12:47 pm (UTC)
That's my feeling too- I loved the first of his Great Railway Journeys when he went through Spain, and have just listened to Things we Forgot to Remember on Radio4
May. 29th, 2012 12:50 pm (UTC)
May. 29th, 2012 06:59 pm (UTC)
The Great Railway Journeys are probably repeats from BBC2 - they've been a nice thing to watch when I come in from work for the last few years. They're not deep but Portillo is actually quite a good presenter and shows every evidence of being genuinely interested in the railways.

Edited at 2012-05-29 06:59 pm (UTC)
May. 29th, 2012 07:07 pm (UTC)
I think you can add "and BBC4 is not allowed to originate drama any more" to the "apparently ratings were low".
Jun. 1st, 2012 06:04 pm (UTC)
Picked up on by Ansible -

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )