I wish to offer my resignation. Although I can understand the no repeats policy that led to live re-enactments of favourite programmes because of the repeat contract clause, I thought the live show that I host or will have hosted when you accept my resignation, would not have been hit by such draconian measures. However, it wasn’t enough to stop bringing in my live telephonist in regardless of how ill she is or vomiting on screen recently, as she did again last week, and was clearly not in the script. Now I find I can no longer have a holiday during the week nor any stand-in, simply because the show is in my name. I’m sure my fellow hosts of self-named shows feel the same except they are on for short seasons and before this legislation came into force whereas my show is five days a week. As a series that is on more or less continually shown throughout the year except for most bank holidays and an already contractual two weeks in the summer when the studio is refurnished and the staff are allowed to have a holiday. However, my contract stipulates that I am allowed holidays and even sick leave and find this has also been stopped. What do I do when I have surgery next, do the show from my sick bed although as I’m obliged to use the set, no doubt the sick bed would have to be shifted there or to be home as I doubt if I would be allowed out of hospital. Again, I should point out, re-enactment would mean that this would not be as originally shown and I doubt if the hospital would appreciate my production crew taking over the floor.
Do I need to remind you that it all started when the government decided that there were too many repeats and that performers were getting paid for a single performance time and again without any effort towards it and instituted and enforced this draconian law. As such, the legislation decreed that if performers wanted their fees than they would have to re-enact each show. No improvisation. No miming, nose-picking or gurning. The television studios saw that as a means to hold them to the letter of the contract. As such, they are now tied into modified contracts that have effectively stopped them doing new work because they are busy forever re-enacting these shows on television. These people are dying from creative indifference as well as old age. Why can they not have the same dignity as film repeats where all the original cast have died but still allowed to be shown? What is going to happen when they start dying off? Are they going to have stand-ins until they are all gone or are they going to be allowed to have filmed repeats only? It came to light recently that the one time that the members of a popular quiz-com took each other lines became hilariously funny was a one-off because the next ‘repeat’, there were gunmen off camera watching them intently. I swear that ginger comedian would have chanced it.
Although I can understand the nature of this law in that with established comedians and actors stuck repeating their original shows means there is room for new talent to be involved in new shows, they are also foolish enough to ignore the fact that if they have a hit show, they will be repeating it ad infinitum themselves on the digital channels. Surely these old contracts can be changed so they only need to do the show once. If people miss it, then too bad. It worked quite well in the 60s. I doubt if everyone is watching repeats all the time and it will become a special occasion. I do know my own show’s viewing figures have gone through the roof because we’re one of the few live shows left even if my own flagging stamina is running out. This is not helped by the fact that there are so few celebrity guests now. Not that they aren’t available between their own repeats, indeed they see it as an outlet to speak, but some are already fearing that if our own success means we will be repeated, then they’ll be here having to repeat themselves so have taken to secret performances much like those hidden speakeasys in the American Prohibition. In the long run, the government will lose out and so will the people who think that repeats is all they have to watch. Thank heavens for autocue because I doubt if anyone can remember so much otherwise. I’m just grateful that my original contract only stipulated one daily repeat. Do I have to remind you that the live phone-calls repeats are actually recorded because the people on the other end of the line are not under profession contracts that we are under?
The biggest blessing is that all adverts are also done live now for the duration of their viewing and there are fewer of them even if the TV companies charge more to show them. We’re also spared celebrity voice-over because none of them want to be tied down to reciting those slogans daily for months on end.
What’s going to happen next? Kill off the actors for the crimes their roles commit on screen?
As to my own show, I also no longer get guests from abroad because they are fearful of being tied down to repeating themselves for ever more over here. The last time I spoke to any of them, there was indications that such draconian measures are likely to be copied in their own countries using the UK as the template. What is this world coming to?
Someone has to make a stand and here is mine. I tend my resignation with immediate effect.
formerly of The Left Over Stuff
You do realise that be cancelling your show you will be repeated ever more as written in the small print of your contract?
As you seem so adamant to do this and I have to fill those two timeslots, you and your staff will begin with your original programmes as I’m sure viewers would like to see them again as stated in the small print of your contract on the page you were not given.
© GF Willmetts 2013
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