Whenever I watch Law & Order I wait for the Fed Ex van to drive past in the background, while whatshisname and whatshisname (I’m very bad with character names; hey, I’ve only been watching it for ten years; Briscoe and... nope...) are out wisecracking in the streets of New York City. There is one in every episode (sometimes two).
That’s product placement, that is. (Whereas my previous post wasn’t. I said that already, I know. That is called ‘padding’.)
It annoys me. A lot.
Like, earlier tonight, BBC2 showed a fillum (the guy on Channel 4 says that, always; he’s cute) entitled Chopper by whatshisname – oh, OK, I’ll go check – by Andrew Dominik. Why? Because his new film The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (don’t tell me he never saw The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade – is it just titles with the word ‘assassination’ in them that are a mile long?), what was I saying, because his new film opened here a few days ago. What other reason could there be?
When Elizabeth – The Golden Age came out recently we were treated with another showing of the first film. It’s regular as clockwork. However, sometimes, they can’t get their act together, quite, and funny things happen, like with the Ice Age series. ITV showed Ice Age one afternoon and then, to everyone’s amazement, they showed it again less than two weeks later. What had happened ? Yes, you got it: Ice Age: The Meltdown had been released in the meantime. Someone had f***** up big time.
So, whenever a big film is released, we get shown a film by the same director or with the same film star. Why? Why is television linked thus to the cinema? I don’t mind so much when it’s the commercial channels that do it, but when it’s the BBC it’s our money they’re using to promote those films, instead of using it to make original programmes. We’re not getting the royalties, are we? I was particularly upset a little while ago, when it seemed that Stephen Poliakoff’s entire oeuvre was going to be shown again before the unveiling of his latest pretentious, portentous, puffed up offering.
And now it’s not just TV that’s hand in hand with the cinema; it’s radio too. Military animals were mentioned for the first time in The Archers a few weeks ago. It was around 11 November, but still. My first thought was that they were promoting War Horse, which is currently on at the National Theatre (I’m seeing it at the end of January; I’ve already started to collect tissues to take on the night). And, the other day, Mariella Frostrup (don't like her, but like programmes about books) mentioned a new book about Sweeney Todd. Why? Yes, of course! Tim Burton, Johnny Depp... very soon... at a cinema near you.