Slip of the Tongue
July 21, 2009
Writing in the Guardian, the controller of BBC drama commissioning, Ben Stephenson, is very excited about his job:
Making drama is the best job in the world - the privilege of working with writers with a unique vision, the spine-tingling spirit of camaraderie between a production team, the privilege of broadcasting into the nation’s front-rooms. What could be better than that? But what I love about it the most is how passionate the people who work in drama are. Working in TV drama isn’t a nine-to-five job; it is a wonderful, all-consuming lifestyle. It gobbles up everything. It is glorious.
And with passion comes debate, discussion, tension, disagreement. If we didn't all think differently, have different ideas of what works and what doesn’t, wouldn’t our lives, and more importantly our TV screens, be less interesting?
Indeed. Without “debate, tension and disagreement,” drama would scarcely be drama at all. However, the above is immediately followed by this:
We need to foster peculiarity, idiosyncrasy, stubborn-mindedness, left-of-centre thinking.
Not left-field thinking, note, but something more specific:
We need to foster… left-of-centre thinking.
A slip of the keys, perhaps? Something missed on proof reading? Or an inadvertent admission of something we already know? Perhaps Mr Stephenson imagines the two things – left-of-centre and left-field - are interchangeable. But what’s “peculiar” or “idiosyncratic” about being “left-of-centre” in a drama department very often regarded as a broadcasting arm of the Guardian?
Ben Stephenson has been described, by the Guardian, as “the most important man in TV drama.”