TV should focus on drama, says Tompkinson

Actor Stephen Tompkinson has criticised the dominance of reality programmes on television, claiming broadcasters should look to theatre’s success during the recession as proof that viewers want drama.

The actor, who is the star of a forthcoming ITV series based on Peter Robinson’s DCI Banks novel Aftermath, said he was “hopeful” that television’s current preoccupation with reality television will soon fade and that broadcasters will then “concentrate a bit more on the drama”.

He said this in turn would provide more work for screenwriters in the UK.

“They [broadcasters] only need to look at theatre sales to see that people paid more in the recession to go out and be entertained and have escapism, and maybe that will transfer to TV drama again, and we will use the brilliant writers we have got,” he said.

Tompkinson also said broadcasters should be doing more to provide programmes for older viewers, which he said should include roles for older women.

“There seems to be a huge attempt to grab the 18 to late-20s market, which I have always thought is a bit odd. Because when you are in your teens to late 20s you don’t want to be staying in watching TV, you want to be out interacting with each other. There is much more of a – not necessarily captive audience – but an audience that prefers staying in the older you get. And there are less things designed for them which does not seem right to me,” he said.

Speaking to The Stage, the actor revealed that his next theatre project is with Live Theatre in Newcastle, playing a gangster in a new play called Faith and Cold Reading by Shaun Prendergast.

Tompkinson explained the play enjoyed a staged reading last year, following which Live Theatre has decided to produce it. It is due to open in the new year.

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