Drama on TV – forget Britain and switch to America and Denmark.

I was reading a magazine interview with the chief executive of Britain’s main commercial channel this morning. Mr Adam Crozier, late of the Post Office and the Football Association, was talking about his ITV multichannel stations: “It’s about clearer positioning, branding and improving the programming…”

Sorry Mr Crozier, I am yawning already.

A new executive had just been appointed a director of ITV’s digital channels and, as is often the case these days, the only real drama in the British TV industry is in the power politics within television’s management teams.

The BBC’s Director General is always in the news too, struggling with budget cuts, killing off stations just to reinstate them, and, here too, the real drama has been up there at management level. Our television screens seems to glaze over whenever British television drama teeters into view.

I wondered if I was being unfair, after-all this is high season for television scheduling, so I had a look at the top 100 network programmes transmitted in Britain this month only to find that I had only stayed with one of them for more than five minutes and that wasn’t a drama – it was the documentary series Human Planet which has gradually worn me down with its irritatingly hammy narration by the otherwise marvellous actor John Hurt. The last time I watched it, I zimmed through on fast forward only stopping at the interesting bits. A shame as there was some sensational programming making there and all they needed to do was not assume that all British television viewers are even more brain damaged than I am. The dramas, however, have been dire, unoriginal or just worthy and dull.

So, for television drama, forget Silk (boring), Downton Abbey (an old sack of old story lines), Zen (tired tosh), Luther (dull) South Riding (gawd, haven’t we all been there so many times before!) – you see what I mean.

Sorry but I am going to stick with these shows:

The latest series (eight) of NCIS (FX Channel) which continues to mix drama and comedy with touches of engaging autopsy:

The new series (four) of True Blood (FX channel) which goes from strength to strength and is now, thankfully, way beyond the realms of decency and sanity:

The brilliant new series by the makers of The Wire, Treme (Sky Atlantic) which shows just how contemporary events and issues can be brought to the screen without even a hint of mandarin condescension:

I am enjoying nothing more though than the Danish thriller series The Killing (BBC Four) which is not just gripping but original, scary, perceptive as well as being fabulously shot, edited and acted:

and, I can’t wait until Dexter Season Five is back on our British screens (spoiler warning if you haven’t seen series 1, 2, 3 and 4) – how come American and Danish tv drama can combine entertainment, cinematographic brilliance with intelligence and wit but Britain just can’t get it? Come on guys, wake up!

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