Up-words- The Best of the Paper Issues of This way up 2002-10May 2002
In the television schedules, there are some timeslots that are synonymous with certain kinds of programming. Channel controllers may ramble on and on about how this isn't the case and their output is diverse and varied blah blah blah etc, but there is no escaping the fact that, by and large, they tend to put the same genres in the same timeslots. If it's on between eight o'clock and nine o'clock at night and lasts for either fifty minutes or an hour, chances are it will be a detective series aimed squarely at a mainstream audience. Similarly, if it is supposed to be shown in a ridiculously unsuitable early evening or late night timeslot but instead ends up being shunted wildly around the schedules to make way for Championship Snooker or Crown Green Rowing, then chances are that it is a popular telefantasy series with a loyal and sizeable audience (who, so the schedulers would appear to believe, are available to watch television at any given hour of the day on the off-chance that their favoured programme might actually end up being shown at some point). Sadly, while science fiction, fantasy and mainstream audiences were once virtually inseparable in the world of television, they are now kept segregated as widely apart as possible, and on current evidence it would seem that most people in the industry wouldn't even have nightmares about combining them. Yet not so long ago, the BBC did attempt to combine them. Back in 1992, with a suitable flourish of publicity, they launched an impressive and highly enjoyable series named "Virtual Murder", which on face value seemed likely to win over mainstream and cult audiences alike. So, in that case, how come it still isn't pulling in huge viewing figures to this day? Well, in all honesty, that's almost as puzzling a mystery as the ones that were investigated in the series itself.