Last night the BBC took the brave step of showing a two hour live remake of the iconic 1950s drama “The Quatermass Experiment”. Apparently, it’s 20 years since the BBC last broadcast a live drama and over that time, television has lost the art of live drama broadcasting and modern audiences miss the immediacy and excitement of this form.
On this occasion the programme makers were able to use 21st century technology with lightweight cameras and lighting while still keeping the majority of the 1950s script with only the minimum of updates. We did indeed get a sense of the tension and excitement with one or two fluffed lines and someone falling over the set. Crucially, this added to the enjoyment rather than detracting from it. If anything, the weak link was the script which, at times, seemed laboured and wooden although it did allow for more expansive and unusual character development than would be accepted by todays writers used to snappy one-liners and stereotype characters. Altogether, a courageous and worthwhile experiment which ought to be developed with new writing.