So, the big-gun artistic director down at Waterloo has opened his mouth once again, for a good cause, and has shouted at the BBC and Andrew Lloyd Webber about their talent show series Any Dream Will Do and I’d Do Anything claiming that they’re a “a 13-week promotion for a musical”.
Yes, we all know him by now – Kevin Spacey of the Old Vic theatre, a pillar in the community of London theatre and Hollywood superstar. Michael Billington, theatre critic at the Guardian newspaper, has fully supported Spacey’s remarks about the shows being “unfair”, as well many others across the theatre circle, all in just one morning. When Spacey speaks out it spreads like the plague.
The real issue, that myself and many others seem to be pursuing, is the BBC’s disregard to theatre and the arts in general. When was the last time they gave precedance to any straight theatre play? I don’t think they ever have. To find that sort of programme you have to jump across to Channel 4 with shows such as The Play’s the Thing. There are no revivals of anything but Shakespeare featuring on the BBC and programmes such as the Culture Show give hardly any, if any, precedance to theatre and the arts at all. This debate has risen time and time again, and as much as the BBC deny that it is an advert for the productions, it’s hard to cover up that fact. Why else would Lord Webber have signed up?
So, what can we do about this? Well, just this moring, numerous amounts of people have written on Billington’s blog in support of Spacey and this can’t be a bad thing. However, instead of writing to Billington, who I’m sure knows enough about the issue, we should be writing to the BBC asking them to address the problem. After all, they’re the public service broadcast station and it’s the public that they listen to.
It’s in this vital time, with the fast approaching 2012 Olympics sucking all the money and ACE funding cuts, that the large corporations need to show some support to theatre and the arts. It’s about time that it isn’t only musicals that need bums on seats.