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?