Funny, How?

The Arts

Gold Shovel

Channel 4 has announced that Danny Boyle is working with the Peep Show and Fresh Meat team on Babylon, a comedy-drama set in a London police station. The channel has also given the go-ahead to No Offence, an eight-part comedy series about a trio of female cops by Paul Abbott.

Meanwhile, police spoof Scot Squad was recently given a full series order and returns to BBC Scotland next year while the second series of Charlie Brooker’s police parody Touch of Cloth aired in the summer.

So, are comedy cops okay again now? It’s been a long wait since Police Squad and The Boys In Blue. If they really are back, can somebody pull their finger out and consider making the Bryant & May books into a TV series, finally? Every attempt to bring them to the screen has so far failed.

And what’s oddest of all is, every time I let the option out to a TV company, they hire a TV writer and never, ever think to take a chance on hiring the guy who writes the books!

Really, wouldn’t that be the most obvious thing to try first?

13 comments on “Funny, How?”

  1. Penny Hacking says:

    Totally agree. Who can we badger, or just bury under requests to televise your series? Why should the amazing team of Bryant and May and the PCU go unnoticed? What is the matter with everyone!

  2. Ken Murray says:

    Ah but then they wouldn’t be able to get the author to compromise so easily as a hired hand? I agree with you though.

    Incidentally, I recently watched a doco featuring script writer Terrance Dicks, and now his particular ‘London’ accent is stuck in my head as the voice of Arthur Bryant. It seems a perfect fit?

  3. J. Folgard says:

    I certainly hope comedy cops would make a comeback -I’m sick of those endless po-faced undertakers that most people invariably think as the mark of quality crime fiction. One of the things I like with B&M is the wit mixed with genuine feeling that pervades the novels, it takes talent to write, and to adapt!

  4. I have to say I’m not keen on many TV cop comedy shows that I’ve seen (not really keen on TV in general!). However I’d love to see a Bryant & May series, so long as it’s done properly and they don’t try to make it an actual comedy with canned laughter tracks! That would be truly awful and would ruin the series. I’d love to see a film of one of your books for example ‘Roofworld’ or ‘Darkest day.’

  5. keith page says:

    no-one ever mentions one of the funniest tv cop shows ever; ‘Operation Good Guys’ [ well, I think it was funny] I agree about tv writers; they consistently seem to ruin things.

  6. J. Folgard says:

    There was a US show simply titled ‘the Good Guys’ several years ago, created by Matt Nix -it didn’t reinvent the wheel (nor did it want to) but it was a lot of fun to watch, with great performances from the two leads and wonderfully ham-fisted performances from the villains. It also made you care for the characters nevertheless, and it’s a big plus (needless to say, it was canned after one season). My favorite entry into this genre has always been ‘Due South’, I’ve got the whole series on DVD and it’s an old comfort food!

  7. Dan Terrell says:

    I’m somewhat of the mind set that thinks if you wish upon a star it will -whatever it is – come to grief and never happen. So as far as a B&M show goes break a leg. However, should there be one that would be great particularly if it was at least available as a download here the States. PS: I live between two families of GOP-ers, so we usually keep a very low profile. I don’t know how they feel about global warming.

  8. Reenie says:

    If it were up to me, I would not only have every single thing Bryant and May have done made into TV movies, (actually all of Mr Fowler’s book should be made into film) I would have a specific TV channel which aired only them 24/7. And then I would never sleep again LOL. And Mr Fowler would be the ONLY writer for them, who could write it better than the author? How many times do you see a show and think “How the hell did this even become a thought in someones head, let alone a produced show…” We should start a petition demanding they make the Bryant and May series and make them properly (and can we please have Michael Gambon in them too?) x

  9. Helen Martin says:

    Due South – ah, yes, the RCMP officer and his American cross-border partner. I think we’d like it better if the RCMP hadn’t done so many goofy and downright rotten things in the last few years. (Spying on Brazil isn’t them, though)
    There was a pilot, or film (?), called “Bon Cop, Bad Cop” something like that, where a French language officer (Quebec) is working on a case with an English language cop (Ontario) and there are no sub titles or dubbing so French is French & English is English. The funniest scene is at the beginning where a body is found draped over the Bienvenue a/Welcome to sign and they’re trying to decide jurisdiction, “His top half is in Quebec” “Vrai, mais les restes sont a L’Ontario”.
    Is the screenplay problem part of the pigeonholing of people. He writes books, so we have to find someone who does screenplays? Never mind that even Hollywood used novelists as screenwriters.

  10. Alan Morgan says:

    I dunno, I’d worry that a tele series might be just awful. We’d expect so much and stare aghast at John grittily staring at Westminster Palace as he broods once more about his family, as he does, all the time. Or will do. And at Arthur as he hilariously gets his scarf caught in doors and, aho ho ho, aren’t old people funny when they don’t have an iPhone? And of course they have to have a sparky young new character to make it relevant. You know, the one that carries the gun, and rescues the two old people. Every episode.

  11. Helen Martin says:

    I wish I could laugh at Alan Morgan, but you just *know* the odds are in favour of just that happening.

  12. Reuben says:

    Previously it has been said that TV bods were put off by B&M as they are too old, young people won’t relate and all that guff. There maybe another reason I would guess may put TV off. They would have to employ old people to play the parts and old people have the habit of dying. Imagine half way through recording a series and the Bryant actor pegs it. Would he be able to regenerate into another actor like Dr Who or would he just wear his scarf higher and hat lower to disguise the features of a different actor?

  13. glasgow1975 says:

    Helen – that is exactly the beginning of Broen/Bron, which was made into The Bridge, and has now been made into The Tunnel, a body is found on the exact centre of the bridge linking Denmark/Sweden, remade as US/Mexico and now remade again as French/English in the Channel Tunnel . . .tho there’s not as much comedy

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