Poldark- what makes a good Show?
In recalling the BAFTAs TV awards 2016, I remember how excited I was to see that the BBC's and Mammoth Screen's 'POLDARK' won the BAFTA Radio Times Audience Award for their wonderfully evocative and visually stunning adaptation. As a lover of Winston Graham's books and a sucker for a great story I was especially pleased that this series (which follows closely to the stories in the books) had received the accolades it deserved from an obviously appreciative audience.
When the excitement was over I started thinking why POLDARK was such a success- and yes, we all know about topless scything- but it was only a few seconds in eight hours of storytelling! So, in the end it must be a good script with engaging characters that draws us in and hangs on to us until the end, so that we invest in the plot and want to find out about what happens next, following the 'journey' taken by each character. This was accomplished very deftly by the very talented Debbie Horsfield who has written all the 'POLDARK' scripts. In essence we need to care about those who populate a story whether a brooding hero, rags to riches heroine or a complex villain.
Sounds a bit like a fairy story doesn't it? Are classic fairy tales that different to historical fiction? Maybe a little less supernatural, although that wouldn't apply to 'Outlander', a Sony television USA/UK TV drama! (But that's a different story!)
Whether it be historical drama, thriller writing, romance or... well yes... pantomime, it is necessary to keep an audience invested in the story by creating engaging characters and a developing and interesting plot line that takes everyone on that 'journey' that is worth following - and Poldark does that so well- obvious really isn't it?
I've written scripts covering most of the well known fairy tales but it is always fun to consider writing a pantomime based on the less traditional stories and I'm regularly casting around for new ideas, stories that are popular and current- how about it- POLDARK the Pantomime? I know- it's a really crazy idea- I'm joking!
It would be fun doing research about it though- and I may just check out that scything again!
...and Good luck to the Poldark TV team in the NTAs!