No TV For Bryant & May

Bryant and May, The Arts

Well, after the excellent Clerkenwell Films worked long and hard to develop Bryant & May as a TV series, creating a script for the pilot and getting the wonderful Derek Jacobi and Michael Gambon to sign to the show, ITV, Sky and the BBC all turned it down, citing the trend against original programming at the moment. Instead, it looks like we’ll be getting more existing old brands, shows about obese people losing weight and foreign imports. Jane Eyre and Robin Hood are probably around the corner again.

Everyone tried very hard to get the UK networks interested in the shows, to no avail. Perhaps a production company in the US could take a chance on it – they seem more innovative. If not, ‘Bryant & May – The TV Series’ goes away into mothballs until a more interesting time arrives for stuffy old British television.

Fifty years ago, Bruce Forsyth, Cliff Richard and Lulu, Sherlock Holmes, Dr Who, James Bond and Come Dancing were on our TV screens. They still are.

40 comments on “No TV For Bryant & May”

  1. Alan Morgan says:

    I’m both impressed at the cast (Jacobi and Gambon, Jacobi Bryant presumably?) and with a sigh annoyed for you. Pint for Mr Fowler, someone.

  2. FabienneT says:

    Oh, this is a disappointment, was really looking forward to it since you’d mentioned it… What a shame…

  3. Mal Dando says:

    Just tell them you went to Cambridge. They’ll commiission something your Goldfish wrote.

  4. Mal Dando says:

    Just tell them you went to Cambridge. They’ll commission something your Goldfish wrote.

  5. Anne Fernie says:

    This is sad news indeed. I ditched my TV long ago and just select what I watch via i.player and DVDs. What has happened to you is exactly why I did that. Mal may have a point about the nepotism though although was it not ever thus…..?

  6. Red Wolf says:

    Bugger! Nice casting too.

  7. Alison says:

    A real disappointment, and unfortunately a pointer towards the way TV is going. If it isn’t a reality programme, a house programme or a cooking programme, they don’t care. The BBC seemed to be trying to buck the trend a little recently with Sherlock (admittedly, updated old stuff, but nonetheless, at least they tried), Birdsong and the latest one the title of which escapes me, but it’s a real shame that they can’t see the wisdom in using B&M with a cast like that. You could almost say it smacks of ageism…

  8. Jozafeen says:

    Gah! Buckets of tetch all round – for you and for us. Perhaps, if you offered a Danish rewrite and included some striking knitwear in the plot, BBC4 would leap at it?

  9. Vicki says:

    Great shame as looks a real winner, just shows that class and talent are no longer a match for the TV licence. Bah!

  10. BangBang!! says:

    I can’t believe they’d pass up a chance of having two lead actors of that calibre playing those two amazing charecters. I’m speechless. I could spit, I really could!

  11. Anchovee says:

    How disappointing – I’m assuming somebody up top lumped it in with the other ‘old detectives’ – New Tricks, Frost, Morse etc and missed what could have been something really special. I’ve always hoped for a Roofworld film ever since I read it all those years ago but that’s another dream that has fallen by the wayside.

  12. Peter Lee says:

    Good casting! I always pictured the late John Le Mesurier as May and, for some reason, that bloke from “Time Team” (Mick Aston – here: as Bryant, but if Jacobi was down for May and Gambon as Bryant that sounds pretty good to me. What a shame though that the networks are so opposed to “new” content though, preferring the same old stuff as always.

  13. andrea says:

    Sad to hear it… hope you do get some interest from the US… would love to see the series!

  14. andrea says:

    Sad to hear it… hope you do get some interest from the US… would love to see the series!
    Seems really short-sighted of the the media guys

  15. andrea says:

    sorry for the duplicate posts….my internet connection is terrible.

  16. mel says:

    damn. That would have been great. I hope you get somewhere with companies in the US.

  17. mel says:

    damn. That would have been great. I hope you get somewhere with companies in the US.

  18. Helen Martin says:

    I hope so, too, but you wouldn’t get British casting, I’d bet and certainly not those leads. “…citing the trend against original programming…” What the deuce? If they’d said there is no money for new programs it might have made some sense but to say that their audiences literally want the same programs over and over is complete nonsense. Even Dr. Who was original at one time and they are making new episodes of that at least. Oh, blast and blazes!

  19. Gretta says:

    Well that stinks to an amazing degree. You’d think having Gambon and Jacobi onboard would have been incentive enough. Stupid, stupid television people.

    And with all due respect, please don’t peddle the idea to US companies. You know they will want to move the locale to NY or Chicago or somewhere, and insist that one of the Kardashians to play Alma.

  20. Danielle says:

    Oh Christopher I can’t believe it !!!
    Gambon and Jacobi, oh it’s sacrilidge to not have
    made this series. Well it’s no wonder the Beeb declined with their
    current management, a little like Hollywood with no incentive
    to make original screenplays.
    WGBH in Boston usually fund a lot of UK tv for US
    perhaps someone might pick it up. Keep us posted…

  21. Mary Clarke says:

    I am surprised. White chapel is on at present and that’s original and it has references to London and its past. It seems to be popular if twitter is anything to go by. What a shame. Clearly those that commission or whatever they do dont have a clue


  22. A says:

    Haha, Mick Aston as Bryant. Perfect.

    It’s a crying shame they passed on the TV series.

  23. Mary Clarke says:

    Er. Whitechapel is of course one word. Blast this autocorrect

  24. Jules says:

    “Perhaps a production company in the US could take a chance on it – they seem more innovative.”

    Well I am bereft, but please stay away from us Americans, we’ll just muck it up.

  25. Kevin says:

    It’s enough to make you weep.

    I think the mistake they made, was to get really good actors on board, and give them a really good story to act in. That clearly isn’t what the public want to see on their TV screens nowadays. Apparently.

  26. Steve says:

    I agree about getting interest over here. Even if they don’t want to change the location to the US, well, they’d just do a terrible job of it. Now if you could get some financial backing from someone here who would still allow it to be made in the UK…but who would air it? Bah. Make a movie instead. It would turn into a huge franchise. Dibs on the score.

  27. I.A.M. says:


    I had hoped that the shows like Being Human doing well on both sides of the Atlantic might have something to help this along, but…

    Well, so much for my dream of appearing as a recurring tourist character in an episode constantly giving Bryant directions to place in town.

  28. Peter A says:

    WTF!? Utter madness…

  29. Val says:

    Reading the books will now be even more of a pleasure. I will have the images of Gambon and Jacobi before me – perfect. I have always struggled with visualising them for some reason but now I want to retread the earlier titles with them in mind.

    Bitterly disappointed that the series isn’t going to happen. To me it’s a no-brainer. But what do I know? I’m only a reader and viewer.

  30. Russ Varley says:

    This is just thinking out loud and probably stupid, but companies like Amazon, You Tube and Netflix are commissioning new episodes of old programmes and in some cases entirely new work. Might they be worth a punt…?

  31. Helen Martin says:

    A parlay with WGBH (which certainly does commission British series)Ontario’s public television and British Columbia’s Knowledge Network?

  32. Button says:

    We’re just now getting the New Tricks series here in the States. That may have something to do with their decision. I don’t know how many episodes of New Tricks PBS bought. On over-the-air broadcast, we got what seemed like a rather abbreviated season of Dr Who #9 a while back.

    Maybe once the New Tricks series is finished here they’ll be more receptive.

  33. Kevin Irving says:

    I always had Trevor Byfield down as Arthur Bryant and Roy Marsden as John May. Look on the bright side, at least the stories won’t be ruined by ITV, just look at the mess they made of Rebus.

  34. harriet connides says:

    What a disappointment! The cast would have been superb…(although I’m slightly struggling to see Michael Gambon as May)… how short-sighted of the BBC. Lobby Group, anyone…? Looks like we are all going to hell in a handcart…

  35. harriet connides says:

    By the way – Richard Wilson for Bryant – I can just see his false teeth slipping a tad…as for MayIan Carmichael would have been lovely – too late, sadly.

  36. Dear lord. Words fail me. Commiserations and ARGH!

  37. Gillian says:

    “citing the trend against original programming” – hmmm citing “we can make 3 useless reality shows with D list celebs for that money” more like….uesless shower. I must say SyFy (what is the point of that spelling) seem to be keen on original programming so….or send a couple of books to Tom Hanks?

  38. Adam says:

    There are times when the lack of foresight used by my employer is truly disappointing. HBO must be an option surely? Boardwalk Empire and the Wire show they aren’t afraid of complex stuff.

  39. Josh says:

    So sorry to hear that – for you and all of us.
    My husband and I didn’t watch any television for 7 years
    because it was mostly utter rubbish here in Australia.
    We are thinking of stopping again with the advent
    of “free digital TV” which amounts to nothing
    more than the constant repeats of old shows and (UGH!)
    reality shows.
    Your riveting plots, interesting background on
    historical London and original and loveable
    characters would go down a treat I am sure
    with many people.

  40. David says:

    Perhaps if one of them was pregant, on drugs, coming off drugs, from essex, married to a footballer, very very very fat, anorexic or a penguin you could have stood a chance…

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