Radiation by Fiona Rae

A Brit dramatic

It seems that TVNZ has got so many British dramas on the go for this year that they’ve had to line a few up in a row over the holiday spell and set them free. NY-LON, Murphy’s Law, Trust, Serious and Organised, Family, Life Begins, Red Cap, Between the Sheets and the crime-busting gardeners, Rosemary and Thyme, which has an exact excitement factor of -0.06.

Some of these are quite good: I would recommend Murphy’s Law and Between the Sheets, although it’s probably too late to start with the latter. Things have long since turned to custard due to secrets, lies and lack of orgasms and Hazel has taken off her cross and finally had her Lady Chatterly’s moment in the garden with the bloke from the Parks Department. Brenda Blethyn, despite playing roughly the same woman on the verge all the time, is wonderful as Hazel, somehow getting away with dialogue along the lines of, “I’m just going to plait these daisies into my pubic hair.”

The trouble with having so many Britdramas on at one time is that they do tend to meld into one if you’re not watching closely enough. There’s a surfeit of Kemps as well, or maybe it’s all the same bloke. Family is the drama that Martin Kemp did after Serious and Organised, and Ross Kemp (no relation) is turning up soon in the very macho Ultimate Force, which is not to be confused with Red Cap, also set in the army and starring a former EastEnder (and Hazel’s son from Between the Sheets. There had to be a crossover somewhere). But frankly, after seeing 10 minutes of Embrace of the Vampire, which starred Martin Kemp and Alyssa Milano’s boobs, anything with a Kemp in it is tainted for me.

Coming up this year are also the new series of Spooks and a new, flashy crime-type drama featuring a bunch of con-artists, Hustle. But, if the TVNZ 2005 launch booklet is anything to go by, TV One will undergo a creeping American-isation in the form of Blind Justice, Rescue Me, Huff, Carnivale and the return of Six Feet Under and Cold Case. Do we care? Not particularly, but ma and pa older viewer might.

So. Wendy Petrie eh? Wendy. Petrie. Give that gal a medal. Or a raise. She’d still be earning less than one Judy Bailey. Not that I really care about Judy’s salary, but I hope she’s sponsoring more than one child in Africa. But the Petrie Dish has been super professional over the tsunami coverage and she copes slightly better with Tony Veitch as well. That’s gotta be worth something.

You may have noticed that, belatedly, TVNZ has announced some local drama, well after the 2005 launch. The first is Orange Roughies, a sort-of cops on the water series about a coastguard written by Greg McGee and made by ScreenWorks (Street Legal) and the other is a Romeo and Juliet-type series set in South Auckland and provisionally titled The Market. Also, a comedy called Seven Periods with Mr Gormsby is nearly finished. It features David McPhail as a politically incorrect teacher and is written by Tom Scott and Danny Mulheron. It sounds good, but you have to wonder why, in the minds of old comedy hounds, something has to be “politically incorrect” to be funny? What the hell does that mean anyway? It’s either funny or it ain’t.

According to the NZ On Air website, Orange Roughies got $3,118,592 and The Market $1,373,683, which makes me wonder what TVNZ is doing with its extra Charter money, although there is the soap that’s being developed. Meantime, Outrageous Fortune, which is an SPP production for TV3, received $5,330,000.

Here’s an interesting thoughtpiece from The Nation about Desperate Housewives.

So who else is along for the Firefly ride? I am so there, although the cowboy twang-thing isn’t always totally convincing. They’ve raved about Serenity on Ain’t It Cool News, but then they would. However, there is a review from a Firefly virgin who admits to being a Joss novice and he loves it too. Due September in the US, apparently, but I suppose straight to video here, unless by some miracle it’s like The Grudge and becomes a big hit.

A Radiation reader, John Campbell of Parnell, thought that somehow I’d gotten hold of the script for the first 7pm show on TV3 in my last blog. However, he points out a glaring omission:

I realised you’d missed the investigative feature on Orange Juice, Postcard Records, Edwyn Collins and the Sound of Young Scotland. It’s gonna be a cracker!!!

I guess that was missing from my sheaf of leaked documents …