Wednesday 10 August 2011

Spoor of the Gibbon: The Hour

Gibbons are nasty furtive creatures and it can be hard to track them. But occasionally one comes across their spoor in a form as fragrant and as delightful as a dog turd in a paddling pool. Such spoor was strong in the closing moments of episode 3 of BBC TV's The Hour.
At the end of this episode an MI6 agents pursues our hero through the corridors of the BBC before violently assaulting him. Our hero drawing upon the potent power of lower middle class rage to turn the tables and demands answers. The spy, who up until then had been terrifyingly professional, blurts out a cryptic state secret before inexplicably throwing himself down the stair well.

It's the inexplicable nature of this swan dive that, like the odour of cheap dog-food, allows us to identify this spoor. Now whatever you think of Abi Morgan as a writer she is professional enough to avoid using inexplicable suicides as a plot device. It's obvious to anyone with craft skills that she was going for a stonking climax where our, almost but not quite working class, hero is forced to kill a man in self defence.

This would fit in with the themes of the story and with the guilt he expresses in Episode 4. It also makes some kind of narrative sense. What I suspect was that a Gibbon intervened, at a very late stage, and said that there was no way they could have the hero kill someone, not even in self defence. We know that this must have been done late because there was obviously no time to do a proper rewrite before shooting.

And so our exciting climax is marred by pointless note which serves only to make life difficult for the writer, the actors, the director and poor bloody editor who has to cut together a scene that makes no sense whatsoever.

Thus do the gibbons rain excrement upon talented craft professionals and ultimately we the audience.

1 comment:

Fiona Pymont said...

And then guess who gets the blame once the audience have noticed this ridiculous last-minute change?

The writer, the actors, the production team and the editor.