Odd this. Course there was that Cumbria thing last week. Very sad, then the guy who killed the prostitutes a bit before that. As a result, Corrie had a week off (storyline involving guy going ape with a gun) and Eastenders had to stretch out the climax of a plot (wafer thin to begin with if you arx me) of a guy who had been killing prostitutes.
But what has this to do with radio? Well it seems that Radio 4 ignored the groundswell of anathema at their peril, by broadcasting a play on Thursday called Six Impossible Things which received 66 complaints because the main character had a gun, robbed a bank and shot two people dead.
Now granted, I haven't had an acquaintance or family member gunned down lately or have ever been on nodding terms with a transient Tom that got offed either, but I was listening to that play and, even though we'd already been deluged with wall-to-wall coverage of the shootings for 48 hours (including some creative use of google maps to retrace the blood-drenched steps of the gunman's 44-mile spree), didn't think to associate it negatively with that event. For one thing, it was more a play about mind control than an actual nutter running loose. Nice, psychological piece, lovely use of music and effects. Highly recommended, in fact. Best one I've heard for a while. Unfortunately, you can't get it on Listen Again because it's been taken off there too.
Course the Corrie gun rampage goes ahead tonight, and Eastenders has a slightly revised plot conclusion that is probably not going to involve ladies of the night now, but will nonetheless still air during the course of this week. I mean, how soon is too soon? What other programmes should have been 'rested' from our screens in deference to the terrible events? How about Emmerdale? - That's set in the countryside and I'm sure I saw a shotgun in one episode. Broken over someone's arm, yeah, but for how long? What about "Loose Women" - bit of an insult to the families of those poor lasses who got killed isn't it? Why not give those cackling, cellulite beeatches a week off? Hell, a month, a year!
So who's to judge? The telly companies, it would appear, so long as it doesn't whack the schedules too far out. All of which (and this is probably stating the obvious) calls it out for the flimsy, arse-covering, watchdog mollifying exercise that it is. Now Radio 4 have had to grovel out an apology for not anticipating the offense it caused to 66 people who were probably only listening cause Corrie and Eastenders weren't on.
Ironically Radio 4s interviews with victims' family members was the most sensitive, unsensationalist reporting of the lot. Quite moving to hear some fairly sanguine attitudes too, especially the young lass who refused to focus on the killer, insisting they would honour and celebrate the life of her dad who'd died instead.