Monday, 14 January 2008

Are we witnessing the dumbing-up of television?

After a decade of round-the-clock 'reality' TV shows and schedules hijacked by home and fashion makeover shows, can we really be witnessing a dumbing up of terrestrial television? Tonight sees the return of News at Ten, while last night, BBC 1's schedules included an entertaining adaptation of Flora Thompson's Victorian rural drama, Lark Rise to Candleford, the final episode of Andrew Davies's delightful Sense and Sensibility adaptation and the classy Glenn Close legal drama Damages. Cranford enjoyed audiences to match anything else on TV when it was on. Meanwhile, Big Brother has been exiled to E4. It is true that we are still stuck with a very inferior version of Panorama, and there remains a lot of dross in the schedules; but these must be hopeful signs that the TV bosses have recognised that they underestimated the intelligence of their viewers for too long, and must now make amends. Exiles to BBC 4 should now be free to return to the mainstream (at least occasionally).

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