Being a stereotypical designer, I was sat in front of my Apple Mac the other day listening to BBC 6 Music. Lee Mack was on with Radcliffe and Maconie (yes both DJs were in the studio at the same time) and he was talking about his sitcom ‘Not Going Out‘. He told the story of how long it took to develop the show from a single sketch from his stand up routine, through to doing a pilot show, and then finally getting the show commissioned and put on air. In total it took a few years to create the show we see today and it went through a few changes, however, it never strayed too far from the original idea.
It got me thinking about how difficult creating a TV programme actually is and all the potentially great shows that never get made. So why is there so much terrible TV on these days if it is such an uphill struggle to get good shows like ’Not Going Out’ produced? Then it struck me, you don’t need a good idea for a TV show, you need a good idea for a TV show’s name.
Why do I say that? Well, in recent years I have taken an interest in programmes based purely on what they are called, without actually knowing what they are about. If the name sounds a bit witty then I am sold – almost like judging a book by its cover. This is usually followed by me being thoroughly disappointed that it is another ‘dreality’ show (a drama show pretending to be reality) or some ‘mockumentary’ (you get the idea) and changing the channel.
Shows like Desperate Scousewives (E4, 2011), Frock Me (Channel 4 2010), Show Me The Monet (BBC One 2011) and more recently Life Is Toff (BBC Three 2014) all sound like they used this principle. So it must be a winning formula to come up with the name and then work out what the show is about later, or else this programming would never be made.
If that is the case then I think I am going to be contacting the commissioning department of Channel 4 and the BBC with my own idea for a TV show: ‘Folking Hell’. A show with a humorous name and a nod to an en vogue music scene, which as of yet I have no idea what it is actually about!