Monday, March 3, 2008

McSpaced...Just say NO!

I'm sure that the world and their uncle have heard about this travesty. But I still feel that I need to put my thoughts across. The makers of Will and Grace have got the rights to reproduce Spaced for an American audience. The problems are immense - firstly, they have not asked advice or even acknowledged the creators of the original programme. The only time that they have used their names was to try and sell the idea, in which they piggybacked the success of Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright in their PR stuff. Even worse than this, they seem to have forgotten that Jessica Hynes (nee Stevenson) co-wrote it.
I think it is this that has upset everybody the most; if they wanted to create it like The Office US style, that would be bad enough. But this is downright rude and wrong!
Edgar says "
Simon, Jessica and Nira are not involved in any way, shape or form.

And neither do we want to be.

That show was very personal to us.

It's about Simon and Jessica, not just some format or high concept.

It pains me to see it reduced to this...

'Single-cam half-hour revolves around a young man and woman who pose as a couple in order to rent a cheap apartment.' "

Simon says "
As far as remaking TV shows for different territories is concerned, I don't have a problem. The Office remake being a perfect example. Yes, the original British version is a wonderful and compact piece of comedy writing and performance, but I think it's bit much to expect a large scale American television audience to fully relate to the minutiae of day-to-day business life in an obscure British suburb. I'm sure if you're reading this, you are the type of person who takes pleasure in the variety of entertainment you enjoy, relishing the differences between our various cultural touchstones but there is a massive audience out there, which perhaps isn't as culturally savvy (euphemistic phrase for 'geeky') as we are and need their signifiers to be a little more familiar. So, Slough is replaced by Scranton, and the office archetypes become a little more archetypal to an American audience. The spirit of the show remains intact. The performances are uniformly great and the show scores big ratings and wins EMMYs, whether we as comedy purists prefer the original or not. The success of the remake is born out by it's undoubted success and appeal.

My main problem with the notion of a Spaced remake is the sheer lack of respect that Granada/ Wonderland/Warner Bros have displayed in respectively selling out and appropriating our ideas without even letting us know. A decision I can only presume was made as a way of avoiding having to give us any money, whilst at the same time using mine and Edgar's name in their press release, in order to trade on the success of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, even professing, as Peter Johnson did, to being a big fan of the show and it's creators. A device made all the more heinous by the fact that the press release neglected to mention the show's co-creator and female voice, Jessica Hynes (nee Stevenson). The fact is, when we signed our contracts ten years ago, we had neither the experience or the kudos to demand any clauses securing any control over future reversioning. We signed away our rights to any input in the show's international future, because we just wanted to get the show made and these dark days of legal piracy seemed a far away concern. As a result, we have no rights. The show does not belong to us and, those that do own it have no obligation to include us in any future plans. You would perhaps hope though, out of basic professional respect and courtesy, we might have been consulted. It is this flagrant snub and effective vote of no confidence in the very people that created the show, that has caused such affront at our end. If they don't care about the integrity of the original, why call it Spaced? Why attempt to find some validation by including mine and Edgar's names in the press release as if we were involved? Why not just lift the premise? Two strangers, pretend to be a couple in order to secure residence of a flat/apartment. It's hardly Ibsen. Jess and I specifically jumped off from a very mainstream sitcom premise in order to unravel it so completely. Take it, have it, call it Perfect Strangers and hope Balkie doesn't sue. Just don't call it Spaced.

It's a shame, since the pilot is now a certainty, whether we like it or not, a simple phone call and a few reassurances might have helped to at least curtail the tide of indignation from fans and creators alike. I have, as of yet, heard nothing."

To be honest, they have covered everything - but there are a barrage of fans ready to strike I tell you! How on Earth do they imagine they can create the atmosphere of Spaced on a glossy American set? Replace "oh my god, I've got f*cking jaffa cakes in my coat pocket" to "oh my god, I've got frigging Oreo's in my coat pocket." It's enough to make me shudder with shame!

Monday, January 21, 2008



One who, professing virtues that he does not respect, secures the advantage of seeming to be what he depises.

For example, Jamie Oliver is a hypocrite and has opened himself up to ridicule.

Jamie Oliver has hit the nation in the past week telling us that "we are so bad". We don't eat free range chicken or eggs. He doesn't work in Tesco - I do. (And sure, I would far rather stand in his rich albeit hypocritical shoes than mine which are only capable of standing on a little soap box!) We sell more free range eggs than any other eggs; free range chicken is not so commonly bought but that's due to the fact it is 25% more expensive than ordinary chicken.

I am not condoning battery farming; in an ideal world all chickens would be free range, but they aren't. As a serious experiment in the last week, I have done various "taste tests" (in other words, due to the diet I'm eating a lot of chicken!)
The free range organic superbly well wined and dined chicken was dry and unpleasant after roasting. The barn chicken (note the difference between barn and battery!) was beautiful after the same treatment.

Imagine if you will, that you are a chicken (after all, we cannot ask a chicken what they want). Would you rather live in a nice, warm barn with more food and drink than you can imagine or live in a windy, wet field having to scavenge for your own food and risk being eaten by a fox. Judging from our ever increasing bottoms and bellies, I believe that the majority of people would rather they had the first lifestyle.

Joking aside, the chickens are going to die; this clearly doesn't bother the majority of the nation or they would be vegetarian. But God forbid they should have a poor lifestyle before they get murdered! Surely this is the meat eater trying to be moralistic to reassure themselves that they are "do-gooders" too.

It's lovely to imagine that once you buy your free range meat the world will spin on its axis once more and order will be restored. This is simply not true; by condoning chickens being housed in barns, Jamie is killing off what is left of our British Farming Industry. There are few farmers who can afford to keep the amount of birds necessary to sell to a supermarket in a free range way. When you go to the farmers markets around the country approximately 85% of the chickens are not free range. This is due to the reason that it is highly expensive and risky to keep chickens free range if you have any quantity. Farming is one of the worst paid professions. I can absolutely guarantee that the only people profiting from the sale of free range meat is the supermarket and NOT the farmer. The suicide rate is higher in farming than any other profession, now you know why!

The main problem I have with Jamie Oliver and his gracious, moral high road is that he serves, loves and cooks foie gras. Foie gras is quite literally translated into "fat liver". This sounds innocent enough; pick out the obese geese and fat-fuck ducks and take their liver. But this won't make you the finest foie gras; to get that you must "gavage" your animals which means to force feed them against their will. You feed your fat bird up to 5 times a day for 6 months before slaughter by pushing a funnel down past their esophagus and feed them vitamin enhanced maize. By doing this, the bird gets hepatic lipidosis and their liver swells to over three times its natural size.
Without meaning to sound like an Animal Rights Campaigner is it fairer to keep chickens in barns or kill geese slowly and measuredly by giving it liver disease? I'd rather eat a barn chicken than foie gras any day.

Ok, I'll climb down off my soapbox, take some tablets for height sickness and vertigo and leave you all to go back to eating your chicken - however you eat it. I am not saying that free range meat is bad, but Jamie painted a completely one sided picture. Don't forget, free range chickens are far more likely to suffer and ingest nasty fertilizers and chemicals than barn chickens.

In fact, this article (
n_article_id=507931&in_page_id=1770 ) tells my tale in far more logical way. Just copy the link and remove the space from between i and n and read that!

Is it really fair? *Rant Alert*

We spend our entire lives watching some of the most beautiful relationships unfold in front of us both on the big screen and on the little one propped up on two wonky chairs in our house. My DVDs are barely without this - Lizzy Bennett and Mr Darcy, Bridget and Mark Darcy, Monica and Chandler, Tim Bisley and Daisy Steiner, Steve and Susan, Caroline Todd and Dr Mac, Nicholas Angel and Danny Butterman, Harriet Schulenberg and lovely, shiny Lyndon, Rob Lake and Donna Rix, Richard Hammond and Oliver.

But we spend our lives (well I spend mine like this anyway!) flitting from useless idiots who either want to bury you they are so committed or actually they are worse behaved than my 3 month old nephew and couldn't care less! So, I suggest when God (or whatever other fictional force is stood by the oven creating us) is updating his designs on man, he needs to include all of the elements of our fantasy fictional men. If a bunch of screenwriters can perfect this equation then surely he can too?!

On this point, I want to make it very clear that I'm not a loser who watches too many DVDs; they are merely research for my own writing career. Yeah. OK, so maybe I need a few revisions before I can make up the other half, but seriously! When I was really little, I believed that Neighbours was real; I was very deluded on many points. (I also thought sheep had two long legs and two short legs on account of the hilly nature of their fields.)
But imagine for a moment that Neighbours is real, sheep are wonky etc, and that we are in programmes that are shown in Oz. What a let down! We are nowhere near as good as our fictional counterparts. Ever.