Kudos to Kudos, the television production company that gave some of the gloss of 1960s dramas back to television. With Spooks, Hustle, and Life on Mars Kudos has succeeded with high production values, good scripts, and clever casting – and it’s not all down to the Glenister family. Kudos programmes rely heavily (as good television drama should) on the writers – and the company has faith in the writers. Even when they come up with something that could seem a vanity project (How must Life on Mars have looked on paper?) the production company believes and we have generally ended up with good populist and popular drama.
One of those writers relied on by KUdos is the great Tony Jordan – the man Eastenders turned to when in trouble, the guy who provided the two handers that Eastenders occasionally produced, and which matched the quality of writing in anything on the box. Jordan has been around soaps for a while. Both before and after Eastenders he was part of the Eldorado team, and lived to tell the tale with career intact. Primary mover behind Hustle reports indicate that Jordan has had an idea banging around for sometime – how about going behind the scenes on a soap.
No doubt when Jordan first thought of it (in the earliest days of Larry Sanders inspired shows) this would have appeared quite high concept but after Bob Martin (a much under-rated Bob Mills scripted Larry Sanders clone) and Extras (which rather bafflingly won another award yesterday at the Golden Globes) is the idea of a behind the scenes show past its time? I’ve given this some thought and concluded that it isn’t, because now – even the least tele-literate viewer is familiar with the making of show. Come Dancing has a behind the scenes spin off, Big Brother a veritable plethora of them, Heroes was followed by 10 minute making of segments, Torchwood has Declassified, Doctor Who has Confidential, and even the soaps have ITV2 shows that look behind the scenes; and any ITV drama has a grisly making of follow up on ITV3 (is Matthew Kelly a monster in real life? Can Robson Green maintain his air of conviviality and bonhomie at all times?). Ironically, at the time that the tele-literate, starved of Larry Sanders other than late late night repeats on ITV digital channels, have moved on and found their new obsessions, a general ITV audience is probably more ready for a behind the scenes show than it has ever been. And such may have been the thinking at Kudos for Jordan has got his wish, a new half hour comedy show about the making of a soap, Moving Wallpaper (a term which seems to have confused the Scotland on Sunday TV critic who had never heard of it before, but which is a reference to the gogglebox and the passive viewing habits of most of the audience).