Saturday, 2 January 2016

Sherlock and the BBC's war on plot

Since I refuse to fund the media wing of a paedophile ring – ie I don’t pay the BBC Licence fee – I had to wait until today to watch the Sherlock New Year Special. It was good. Better than that, it was great, done in the definitive style of Granada’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes starring Jeremy Brett, the definitive Holmes, with a gothic mystery it seemed only Holmes could solve, with witty references to Watson’s publication of Holmes’ adventures in The Strand.

Then suddenly and inexplicably we are in the present day on board a private jet and Holmes is delivering an impassioned defence of recreational use of illegal drugs. How depressingly BBC. The theme of the episode was women’s rights, particularly in the context of the invisibility of women in the late 19th century.

Really? Wasn’t this show broadcast by the same BBC that dropped former Countryfile presenter Miriam O’ Reilly like a hot potato when she started making noises about misogyny and ageism in the Corporation? That has form in hiring pretty young female current affairs presenters and weather-girls then throwing them on the trash heap when they no longer look like Barbie? That forced Martine McCutcheon, while in Eastenders, to do a lingerie photoshoot for lads’ mag FHM without a female chaperone?

Although the programme aired at 9pm on New Years’ Day, right on the watershed, there were several explicit scenes of suicide, which will be watched by teenage fans throughout the iplayer availability slot. Is this really appropriate?

The theme of suicide was part of a postmodern thread going through the program drawing attention to the fiction-within-a-fiction gothic tale within the “real-life” tale. As soon as I worked this out I saw the connection with the theme of Santa Claus recurring throughout the dreams-within-dreams thread of the inspirational Dr Who 2014 Christmas Special Last Christmas – and it turns out both episodes were produced by the same man, Stephen Moffatt. Is there such poverty of talent within the BBC that they have to recycle old plotlines?

Postmodernism, the view that there are no facts except those things we decide (ie the Establishment decides for us) are facts, and there is no right and wrong except those things we decide (is the Establishment decides for us) are right and wrong, but when used to underpin plot so heavily it allows a war against plot that amounts to an excuse for lazy writing and producing.

And in the last analysis, given the problems the world faces at the moment, it’s salutary to remind ourselves that people who believe in facts and that they are on the side of right will always win against people who have surrendered their powers of discernment to hypocritical Establishmentarian bureaucracies like the BBC.

Gerry Dorrian


Women in News and Public Affairs Broadcasting House of Lords Select Committee, Miriam O' Reilly's evidence begins from p171


  1. I guess there's no love spared here for the BBC either?!

  2. Exactly! I was always suspicious of BBC bias, but the way they tried to cover up the Savile affair, then gave telephone-number payouts to managers who could have blown him out of the water, convinced me I needed to throw my TV out.