Thursday, 11 February 2016

Why not a War of the Words?

So, the BBC is planing a glossy new version of War of the Worlds.  (At least, I'm sure that I read that somewhere recently, but Google brings nothing up about it, although they are planning an adaptation of Len Deighton's SS-GB, about which I'm mildly excited).

Still, I'm going to proceed on the basis that I haven't imagined it.  It will, after all, be the 70th anniversary of his death this summer, to be celebrated shortly after by the publication of a sequel to War of the Worlds, the book having gone out of copyright.

But, let's assume the BBC are to produce a new War.  A great piece of writing; that opening monologue, whether read by Richard Burton or Morgan Freeman.  A landmark book.  Wikipedia lists ten films that it's spawned, plus a rash of telly and radio.  And let's not forget the mass hysteria and panic following the Welles radio play in 1938... that never actually happened.

And there's the basis of my issue.  It's been done before.  Over and over.  Good story, although we can debate whether the ending is a deus ex machina or early postmodern irony.  But there are so many new stories out there.  God knows, I'm trying to lever my goods into a crowded marketplace.  There must be at least one decent, filmable story by an untried writer?  Why not have a War of the Words to find a new voice?

The BBC is brilliant at bringing on new talent.  I'm immensely proud of my BBC artist number, garnered for a brief satirical sketch on Weekending some twenty-plus years ago.  I could just walk into Broadcasting House into the open writers' meeting for the show and pitch.  I download the Radio 6 Music Introducing podcast, new music by unsigned bands who just send in their wares.  It's what public service broadcasting is about, people.

It's one of the aspects that makes the BBC brilliant.  So, why so conservative here?  I'm not even sure whether the Wells brand is strong enough these days to make it an economic decision; if anything the choice (if it's really been made and I didn't dream it) smacks slightly of laziness.  I'm not sure that I'll be watching...


And, talking of levering my goods into a crowded marketplace, PunksWritePoems Press have taken my story Litterpicking on the Moon for their Don't Wait 'til Doomsday anthology.  Which is nice.

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