An appointment at the knacker’s yard
Source: The Guardian (thanks to colinr for the heads-up)
After just two series, the BBC has pulled the plug on its cop series Holby Blue, a spin-off of the medical drama Holby City (itself a spin-off of Casualty). This comes in the wake of pretty dire viewing figures, not helped by going head to head with ITV’s venerable The Bill.
In a sense, I’m somewhat disappointed by this news. The show was never particularly brilliant, and, barring the first and last episodes, the second series was a step down from the first, but it had its moments, and I can’t help thinking it may have been a victim of circumstance. I think the biggest nail in its coffin was that it just didn’t know what it wanted to be - serious gritty cop show or just another soap about people in uniform. It had a bit of an identity crisis, and that’s never a good thing when the market is already saturated with similar shows that have a much better idea of what their focus is. Just flick through any TV schedule and you’ll see just how inundated we are with police procedurals. They cater to all sorts of different tastes, but the crucial thing is that they seem to know what their own target audience is. So, in a sense, Lewis isn’t competing with The Bill because they’re aimed at a different core group (although obviously there will be people who watch both), and ditto with Waking the Dead or CSI. I don’t think Holby Blue knew whether it wanted to pull in The Bill viewers or Waking the Dead, and as a result it ended up feeling a bit limp and watered down.
It’s ultimately no great loss, but I get the impression that quite a few people didn’t really give it a chance. I know a lot of Casualty and Holby City viewers took exception to what they saw as a cynical ploy to make them watch a show that was unconnected to its parents in all but name, while I suspect many people who don’t watch these two medical series also avoided Holby Blue because they assumed it would be more of the same, when in actual fact it was rather different. Still, fans of police drama aren’t exactly short of viewing matter.