Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Holby City vs Dragon's Den

Whilst huffing and puffing at the gym tonight, I managed to catch a snippet of BBC’s Holby City that intrigued me (it was either that or Eat Yourself Thin). A seemingly unscrupulous businessman (with his eye firmly set on establishing his own company) was visiting his mother in hospital, who had apparently just received some new fangled treatment courtesy of the NHS. ‘What if the treatment goes wrong?’ the man asked his mother, ‘you could sue. Get a few grand out of them.’ So far, so good – but then, this – ‘How am I going to get on Dragon’s Den then? All the other people on there have their own businesses.’

The capacity that the BBC has in promoting its own programmes is limitless – Breakfast TV is absolutely chock-a-block with actors and presenters all flogging their next BBC shows – but to actually see it in a drama is quite surprising. I wonder if there’s an internal memo that goes round asking producers to cunningly insert the names of other BBC programmes into their scripts?

That said, this also raises an interesting dialogue between the two shows. Holby City is of course fiction – Dragon’s Den isn’t (I hesitate to call it ‘factual’). I guess I’ll have to read up on my McLuhan and Baudrillard, but wouldn’t it be cool if a fictitious character from a BBC drama showed up on a reality TV show? Of course, it wouldn’t happen (not on the BBC anyway) – the only reason that cross referencing like this occurs is for the sake of promotion, as if the almost subliminal mention of Dragon’s Den is going to make everyone tune in when it’s next on.

So, what can we look forward to next? Eastenders mentioning University Challenge? Last of the Summer Wine referencing The Mighty Boosh? Silent Witness shoehorning in a reference to CBeebies?



Jon Peacey said...

Can anything the Beeb cross-reference match McLuhan turning up in Annie Hall to berate the bloke in the queue? It summed up everything I'd learned to dislike about Eng. Lit. and Film Studies.

I prefer the title Charlie Brooker gave to Dragon's Den... Bastard's Hole... because they're not really dragons and it's not much of a den! ;-)

The one thing that has intrigued me is, if an invention created by a scriptwriter turns up in a TV drama and somebody watching says 'that's really cool' and makes a fortune from that invention: who gets the dosh?

Chip Smith said...

I'm sure that at some point the BBC will become nothing more than a huge machine capable only of promoting itself.

But more importantly, nothing Charlie Brooker does now can top the utter genius of TV Go Home (www.tvgohome.com) - "Inside Animals - Pinhead cameras fitted to the heads of drills take you deep inside your favourite animals by boring through their skulls."

And in response to your question, that person is me! I get the loot, all of it I tell you!