I’ve never been BBC3’s biggest fan. Indeed, until a couple of years ago, there were precisely three shows I watched on there with any regularity, one of which got moved to a bigger channel (Torchwood) and one of the others (Pulling) got cancelled. The third show? Doctor Who Confidential, because who can get enough of Effects Supervisor Danny Hargreaves? Not me, I tell you, especially when he’s wearing shorts.
Odd proclivities aside, I only started to trust the channel as the home of anything other than short-lived comedies and ill-conceived documentaries when I decided to tune in to the pilot of a show written by someone who’d written for Doctor Who. Yes, well done there, spot a theme? Toby Whithouse wrote the episode ‘School Reunion’, featuring the return of one Sarah Jane Smith, so I trusted him to come up with something half decent. I watched the other pilots in pilot season out of curiosity, but while Toby’s pilot, for Being Human, utterly gripped me from the off, the rest were usual yoofy telly fare. I fit the channel’s age demographic, but “stuff too shit for E4” doesn’t appeal.
Back to Being Human, then. If you haven’t seen the show by now, which has had two brilliant series and is now filming a third, go and Google it. It’s fantastic. But its pilot wasn’t initially chosen to go to series. One of the others, Phoo Action, got the nod. It was rubbish. However, lots of people had seen and loved the Being Human pilot, like me, and were talking about it online. Campaigning for it to be made properly. It didn’t look hopeful for a while, and then the BBC relented. They made some changes from the pilot, as is normal, but all to the good and we got our show. I can’t wait for series 3.
Now the Beeb are doing another pilot season on BBC3. They want it to be a testing ground for exciting new drama. If people watch in the same numbers that they do Being Human, this might actually happen and they’ll stop sending airheads to developing countries and making terrible sketch shows. Sometimes good, sensitive (but also appropriate to the age group) documentaries do turn up on there, it’s not all bad.
One of the shows in the 2010 pilot season is, you guessed it, written by somebody who has written for Doctor Who. In the interest of full disclosure, he is also a friend of mine. Regardless of these two facts, based on description, cast and trailer I would always have tuned in for…
Pulse is a medical horror drama (not like those Point Horror books I read as a teen, I promise), written by Paul Cornell. It stars such talented actors and top totty as Claire Foy (Little Dorrit), Stephen Campbell Moore (History Boys, Ashes To Ashes, my dreams…), Greg Chillin (nasty Owen in Being Human) and Ben Miles (Coupling) and promising gore, scifi, thrills and humour from the off. It will be shown on BBC3 at 9pm on June 3rd. Next Thursday.
Here’s some gubbins from the BBC website, with character breakdowns and the like.
The thing is, it’s a pilot. There’s no guarantee it will become a series. I want it to be, I need more good homegrown telly in my life and we need to nurture interesting drama. I trust Paul Cornell as a writer to produce something I want to watch. Did you see ‘Father’s Day’ or ‘Human Nature’ and ‘The Family Of Blood’, all episodes of Doctor Who? He wrote those. Drama might be expensive to make, but it’s my favourite type of television, so. The only way Pulse can become a series is if a) lots of people watch it and b) they tell everyone they like it. Online reaction got Being Human made. So count this as doing my bit, to get you to watch the pilot of Pulse. If you like it, tell people. Tweet, blog, whatever.
Here’s the trailer: