Magazine article The Spectator

Television It's Everywhere

Magazine article The Spectator

Television It's Everywhere

Article excerpt

They're now televising proceedings from the Court of Appeal. Great. As if I didn't have enough to do already, keeping tabs on Strictly Come Dancing and EastEnders, I now have to monitor what's happening within the hallowed judicial temples of the land. The broadcasting of court cases has been much debated, with people fussing about whether it will influence the meting out of Justice, and the implications for Law and Order once these are exercised in front of the cameras, and other high-minded issues.

My own worry is about my job scope.

Everything is televised these days, which means everything can be reviewed. There are the main channels such as the BBC and ITV, plus satellite and cable channels, Netflix and LoveFilm, those Kevin Bacon ads, CCTV (China's state broadcaster), CCTV (surveillance cameras, of which Britain apparently has more than China), YouTube, and goodness knows what else. Thankfully, nothing major or untoward happened during the appeal cases that were broadcast last week, with Episode One on Thursday zooming in on the case of a forger of pound coins appealing against his seven-year sentence. His bid failed. A few grainy photos also emerged of David Cameron's brother, Alexander Cameron QC, practising his profession. The appeal cases are being televised on Sky News, ITN, BBC and the Press Association, but only one person is allowed into court with a camera, which means everything is filmed by a PA video-journalist, from a workstation that is said to look like a tea trolley.

Another thing being televised, of course, is theatre. The technology to broadcast plays, musicals and operas must have been around since live telecasting was invented, but the phenomenon has only quite recently become widespread. It's amazing how the internet forces us to use old things in new ways. For its 50th birthday, the National Theatre had the best and brightest actors perform snippets of past productions on its stage, all relayed live on BBC2 on Saturday night.

I'll be honest: although the stars included Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Simon Russell Beale, Ralph Fiennes, Benedict Cumberbatch and the like, I'd thought I might get bored. The programme was two and a half hours; yet we wouldn't have time to really sink our attention into one play but get bits of many being whizzed past us; there was the challenge of transposing the three-dimensionality of a stage production to the twodimensionality of a TV screen in your living room. …

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