Thursday, January 10, 2008
Stir of Echoes
SOAP! Moving Wallpaper/Echo Beach, ITV1, 9.00/9.30pm
It is no exaggeration when we say we have been excited about these shows FOREVER. Okay, maybe it's a little bit of an exaggeration, but we've been excited about them since they were first announced, which feels like a lifetime. It had better have been worth the wait. Echo Beach is supposed to be ITV's new soap, although the fact that the initial run is only 12 episodes somewhat belies that. Soapy drama, possibly, but there's no fun in having a soap with a set end point, if you ask us.
Anyway, it's so high-concept it almost hurts: Moving Wallpaper is set behind-the-scenes of a show called Echo Beach, following the exploits of a fictional production team lead by Ben Miller, who are all busting their figurative balls to create the best soap in town (geek fact: it's all based on Tony Jordan's real life experience of working on EastEnders). We then get to see the result in Echo Beach, presented in a programme in its own right, immediately afterwards. From what we gather, you can watch the latter without the former and things will still make sense, but to get any joy out of the former you really need to watch the latter. A bold move, and demanding a certain amount of viewer loyalty, but we admire their bravery.
When we first heard about it, Moving Wallpaper was planned as an ITV2 companion-type show, so the fact that it's now on the main channel and serving as a lead-in suggests ITV have got a lot of faith in this concept, which pleases us. We also love high-concept soap operas, and have never quite recovered from the loss of Night and Day, so we should be squarely in the target audience for this, and we really, really want it to work. Even if Martine McCutcheon is in it. But then again, Susie Amy is in both shows, playing herself as a casting-couch straddling strumpet (as "Suzie Amy", apparently) in Moving Wallpaper, which sounds a lot of fun. Please, gods of television. Let this be as amazing as we dreamed it would be.