The Playgoer: BBC Questions Ethics of Theatrical Reality TV

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Friday, September 21, 2007

BBC Questions Ethics of Theatrical Reality TV

How quaint. The BBC actually conducted an internal investigation over charges that, get this, their "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria" (which spawned our own "You're the One That I Want" of course) "could be 'considered commercial advertising' for Lloyd Webber and that the role of the show’s judges was 'often primarily about the success of the coming West End production and the need to fill seats.'" Shocked, shocked, I tell you.

Well no fear, Lord Lloyd Webber, you're cleared of all charges of collusion and hijacking of the stat-owned BBC for your own commercial purposes under the guise of "reality entertainment."

A lot of the concerns apparently focused on David Ian--ALW's onetime producing partner who went on to "mastermind" the Grease project here.

However, the committee admitted it was concerned about the inclusion of Ian, the West End production’s co-producer, in the programme and said: “The committee acknowledged that he provided a wealth of experience, but felt that his experience was not unique and that, while his presence did not breach guidelines, it would have been better for the programme to have had only Andrew Lloyd Webber as a representative of the West End production”.

The committee also said it had been concerned about the “editorial justification” of various comments made throughout the series, including Ian’s statement in the second show that one of his “big concerns” was selling tickets and that he was “thinking with my wallet”.

"Experience is not unique" seems a polite way of putting....who is this guy???

Of course, the Grease show on the utterly private commercial entity known as NBC faced no such conflict of interest. We've become so numb to the fact that everything on our public airwaves is nothing but advertising for products, this question seems totally, totally foreign.

Meanwhile, Grease on Broadway manages to hold at a steady mid-to-high 80's capacity despite some of the worst reviews on record. David Ian is laughing all the way to the bank.

1 comment:

tree wade said...

while reality T V has a positive outcome for the British theater why not encourage it rather than getting in its way. OK its a young audience but i was a young theater goer once.