So, Ray Winstone doesn’t want to see “a geezer boiling an egg” on TV?
The actor made the remark this week at an event organised by Sky to promote the broadcaster’s new dramas, including Moonfleet, in which Winstone stars. Winstone, when asked about the state of TV today, said he feels there is not enough drama on television, complaining that all he sees on television is “cookery programmes, Big Brother, and all that kind of crap”.
Regarding Big Brother, Winstone is, of course, right. It is crap. But if that’s all he’s seeing on TV, I’d suggest there are two possible problems at play here. The first is there may be something wrong with his TV set. Big Brother is only shown on Five, and that’s a number most of us have disabled on our remote controls because we know we won’t be tuning in to it anytime soon. If all Winstone sees is Big Brother, he may well have a channel-tuning issue and should consider calling his TV manufacturer.
The second possibility is that Winstone, in his quest to find drama, is looking in all the wrong places. Winstone, like the rest of is, must surely realise he’s not going to find any drama on Five. It’s not really known for it. It’s known for Big Brother. And that, as we’ve already agreed, is crap.
So what about the cookery programmes? Here Winstone may have more of a point. Yes, it’s true, there are more and more of them on television – the Great British Bake Off, MasterChef, Saturday Kitchen, Sunday Brunch to name a few. But are they really being shown at the expense of dramas? I’d suggest not. For every cookery show you can probably name at least three or four drama series. I think it’s safe to say drama has a good showing on television.
Cookery programmes can provide a great platform for actors to promote themselves
Not only that, but I happen to know many actors who like cookery shows. Twitter, for example, when the Great British Bake Off is on, is awash with people commenting on the series. And many of these comments are from actors. Because some of them, believe it or not, like to bake or just be entertained as a viewer.
And some of them even want to be on these shows. Which leads me on to my next point: cookery programmes can provide a great platform for actors to promote themselves.
Firstly, there are usually celebrity versions of the shows (Celebrity Masterchef for example), which give performers the chance to take part, show a different skill and, perhaps, put themselves into the minds of viewers/producers/casting directors who may have forgotten them.
Secondly, some of these shows (Saturday Kitchen, Sunday Brunch) are about more than just cookery and can provide great publicity for actors and the dramas they are appearing in. Just last weekend, for example, I watched Mathew Horne on Saturday Kitchen, promoting his play The Pride, currently running in London. He’s not going to slag off cookery shows, is he? On Saturday Kitchen he got to talk about his career, boost ticket sales for The Pride and tuck into some freshly cooked food at the same time. Every actor’s dream!
Sunday Brunch, meanwhile, often features actors promoting their latest TV show or film. What will Winstone say now if they invite him on to promote Moonfleet? Not that they’re likely to.
I do understand why Winstone speaks up for dramas – as he points out, he’s an actor, he is going to say what he did. But the problem is, it’s not a particularly strong or smart argument. It just sounds like the rant of a grumpy man who doesn’t actually watch much television, and therefore doesn’t know the variety of content on offer or where to find it. We should also remember that TV wasn’t created solely to give actors work.
Cookery shows are popular right now. But dramas are too. Some viewers like the former, some like the latter, many like both. All of which means they can exist alongside each other, can’t they?