Wire star spills the BBC beans

I’ll just sit-back and lazily blockquote this one, as thelondonpaper has done all the hard work for me.

The British star of the hit US cop show The Wire has criticised the BBC for screening too many costume dramas.

Actor Dominic West claimed schedules were overly reliant on costume drama and claimed that BBC producers secretly “hate” working on the likes of Cranford, the award-winning period adaptation starring Dame Judi Dench.

His comments are a major embarrassment for the BBC who last night screened the hit US show for the first time on terrestrial TV in the UK.

The actor, 39, who became a major industry player in the States after playing Baltimore police detective Jimmy McNulty, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that there is a lack of “high end contemporary drama”.

He said: “If you turn on American TV, there’s a huge choice of nothing you want to see and, unfortunately, I think that’s the case here now as well.

“We seem to lack the high end of drama. We do costume drama brilliantly, and I love costume drama.

“No-one does it like the BBC – no-one has the money to do it, first of all, and, secondly, Americans don’t have the history to do it.”

He added: “But if you talk to any BBC producers, they abhor the fact… they are dying to do The Wire and hate doing Cranford.I thought Cranford was incredible but we don’t seem to be able to do contemporary stuff.”

His comments infuriated the BBC which dismissed his claims as “nonsense”.

Ben Stephenson, controller of BBC Drama, said: “The BBC makes a wide variety of dramas, of which period is a tiny proportion.

“Cranford was a multi-award-winning drama that was enjoyed by more than 7.5 million viewers every week and starred some of the greatest acting talent in the UK.

“To suggest that producers ‘hate’ working on such pieces is nonsense and certainly not a view shared by those involved in this particular series.”

The Wire, a gritty tale of detectives and drug lords operating in modern-day Baltimore, has been hailed as the greatest drama ever made.

West, who was born in Sheffield and educated at Eton, perfected a Baltimore accent to play hard-drinking police officer Jimmy McNulty.

He moved to the US in 2001 after despairing of the opportunities available in Britain.

He said: “I went to America to get away from constantly being cast in costume dramas, playing posh people.

“It’s interesting that I’ve been cast as a working-class cop because I doubt that would happen at home.”

– by Steve Myall on thelondonblog

Frankly, I couldn’t have put this any better than that.

It took and damn good actor from these shores to go and make a big splash in the US, then come back and hand the Beeb it’s ass in a bag.

The Beeb just got pwned. It serves them bloody right for putting The Wire on 5 nights a week. The eejits don’t even know when they’ve got quality product.

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~ by mchawk on 13 April, 2009.

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