Cheap reality shows are replacing good quality TV dramas

Caroline Cassidy

Despite the British television-watching public clamouring for more quality programming such as dramas, the glut of cheap reality television shows we are subjected to these days is killing off good TV and, according to actor Richard Briers, ruining young aspiring actors' chances of landing good roles.

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A survey published today, carried out by online television website and Radio Times, revealed that 31 per cent of viewers are keen to see more dramas on TV screens and 30 per cent want more documentaries while only two per cent were interested in seeing more reality TV.

So why do TV production companies continue to churn out more of these shows? Because they are cheap to produce, they make lots of money, they fulfill a certain voyeuristic tendency in the viewer and deliver instant emotional gratification.

Actor Richard Briers, of The Good Life, Ever Decreasing Circles and Monarch of the Glen, spoke out against broadcasters scheduling reality TV.

He said: "There is just too much cooking, gardening and reality programming.

"You can become very well known now just for knowing how to plant a few flowers or swearing at a few people in a kitchen.

"The age of the actor and quality drama just seems to be over and it's a great shame because there is nowhere for new stars to hone their skills."

He added: "We used to have the Play For Today on the BBC, ITV used to make wonderful drama. Now when there is drama, everyone seems to be a detective. There just isn't the range there used to be."

Author and screenwriter Anthony Horowitz, creator of Foyle's War, is equally unimpressed by reality TV programmes.

He said: "Susan Boyle waddles on to the stage and then, hey, five seconds later, everyone is on their feet and there's a standing ovation."

So if the British public is really keen to get back to quality TV programming, does that mean we will soon see the demise of the Z-list reality TV star?

Big Brother is currently is its death throes but will it be replaced with something similar or with dramas and documentaries as the results of the survey suggested we are looking for.

The decision must be made by the viewers: it's time to vote with your remote controls.

Are you a fan of reality TV or do you want to see more dramas on the box? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.