Thursday, September 22, 2005
Legit theatre, eat your heart out
LIVE! The Bill, ITV1, 8.00am
It's a funny old business, is showbiz. Think about how much flak popstars get for not singing live, for example. Now think about the fact that the vast majority of drama, comedy, soap etc that you watch is rehearsed and pre-recorded, with the option of another take if it all goes wrong. Why does no one ever complain about that? (Well, except for the group of dissenters who claim that TV will forever be inferior to the theatre, darling.) The forward-thinking folks at The Bill, though, have decided to answer this non-existent criticism with their second-ever live episode. Yep, they've done one before and they all enjoyed it so much (at least, that's what they told us all through gritted-toothed smiles) that they're having another go. Of course, you couldn't do a live episode if the plotline was, for example, Sgt June Ackland eats a nice piece of quiche in the canteen and Supt. Prosser tackles a particularly hefty pile of paperwork, oh no. You've got to have Extreme! Action! So, in time-honoured fashion, Sun Hill is under siege and it's down to every officer to overcome the situation. Of course, there are inner conflicts confusing the action, and the prospect of thing to go very, very wrong - even if none of the actors fluff their lines or walk into the furniture. The sad thing is, of course, that the potential for dramatic faux pas is what'll keep us on the edge of our seats, plot or no plot. We're horrible people, aren't we?
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It was awful. Stunts for the sake of stunts, actors missing cues by fucking miles. The first one was quite enjoyavle; this one was painful.