Friday, November 04, 2005

Funland and novelisations

I can't help feeling that British publishers are missing a trick here. Surely there is a bit more scope for the novelisation of successful TV series than is being practised at present?

These thoughts are prompted by the fact that I am watching a BBC3 serial called Funland. This is described in some quarters as an experimental drama, and by the BBC itself as a 'disturbingly funny new thriller'. Well, I haven't laughed much, but I have been interested. More to the point, is there a book? The Beeb doesn't mention it and Amazon doesn't think so. But there could be -- and when Funland transfers to BBC1 or 2, which it presumably will, the thing would surely sell a few copies in Tescos.

There's some bloody good acting in Funland by the way. It is always a pleasure to see old stagers like Roy Barraclough, and of the new ones Kris Marshall will go far I think. And Sarah Smart is very beautiful.

As of today we're 7 Funland episodes into 11, but parts 6 and 7 are being repeated tonight. So, if you read up the story so far you might be able to make sense of the thing. But don't bet on it because I've been watching from the beginning and I'm still not sure what's going on.

There are lots of other UK TV shows which could also be turned into novels if anyone had the wit. Shameless, for instance. Two series already shown, and I think I read somewhere that there's a third one coming.

Even Vincent, a private-eye series of four which has just finished, and which starred the wonderful Ray Winstone, could have been turned into a book. Although admittedly some of the plots were definitely a bit dodgy in that one, and the series was saved, as is so often the case, by the actors.

I can't see what the problem is. All a publisher needs is early copies of the scripts, and the character outlines. You hand them over to a writer -- someone who can work cheap and fast. Someone like... well, someone like me, actually. Just a thought. And a few bob would be made all round with no harm done to anyone.

By the way, there is one British TV series running at present which is based on a book that was published some time ago. No, dear, not Bleak House. I'm talking about Bodies. This is based on a novel by Jed Mercurio, who is writing and producing the second series, now showing.

Bodies is an everyday story of medical incompetence, backbiting, and gruesome deaths in the obstetrics and gynaecology department of a big hospital. It is not for the faint-hearted. I know one lady doctor who can only watch it with her hands over her eyes, muttering Oh my God, oh my God... But then she has had three children. So far.

I haven't read the book version of Bodies yet, but it's on my bedside table.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

re Gerard Jones
Way to go, Grumpy Old Bookman.
Bushies are trying (unsuccessfully) to shut down public broadcasting as well.
I have been our of journalism for decades but I'll see if I have any clout left and try for some sort of defence.
Ivan Prokopchuk MA