The BBC, Ripper Street, and cancelling shows

Feature Simon Brew 10 Dec 2013 - 10:15

Ripper Street is the latest cancellation casualty of the ratings war, but why is the BBC even on the battlefield?

On May 16th 2007, the CBS network in the States cancelled the show Jericho after one season. The post-apocalyptic drama had earned solid reviews, and a growing fanbase, during its intriguing opening season. But the American system back in 2007 was firmly numbers-dictated, with no outlet a la Netflix around to cast its resurrection elixir on the show.

However, there was another weapon that Jericho, unexpectedly, could call on. For 2007 was when the power of social networking was in its infancy, and an online protest was launched. Fans were encouraged to send nuts to the offices of CBS, and over 20 tons of them landed in the network's mailroom (that subsequently were donated to charities). CBS got the message, changed its mind, commissioned season two, and the ratings remained low. The show was cancelled again after season two, never to return on the screen.

Subsequently, further fan protests failed, as posh television people concluded that it was only hardened fans who took part in them. Veronica Mars, for example, would have to rely on Kickstarter many years later for another bite at the proverbial cherry, and a low budget movie arrives for that next March. A few other shows have since been brought back to life by the likes of Netflix, including Arrested Development and The Killing.

In Britain, however, the system is different. More to the point, the BBC is different. The BBC is a public service broadcaster, funded by the licence fee, and thus doesn't have the same requirement to chase ratings. Sadly, due to the ferocity of Britain's tabloid press, if programmes go unwatched, then the BBC gets savaged for them. If they're too popular, newspapers and the Daily Mail criticise them for that too.

It's important to note that ahead of what we're going to talk about, because the BBC sadly doesn't live in the idealistic bubble that most of us would like it to. That said, it's still disappointing that ratings seem to be such key ingredients in some of its decision making. Outcasts, for instance, was far from a universally loved sci-fi show a year or two back (although we had time for it here). But as ratings dwindled, the BBC moved it to a graveyard slot late at night. Why? Good question. If the BBC were beholden to advertising money, then the change would have made sense. But the corporation is one of the few major producers of television content that can stick to its scheduling guns, without the fear of a drop in its core revenue. Whether you liked Outcasts or not, surely the BBC should have finished its commitment to the show, in the slot it was supposed to go out in.

Which leads us to Ripper Street. The BBC's drama department has been on fine form recently, with shows across a spectrum of channels delivering to varying degrees. Wizards Vs Aliens and Wolfblood are terrific shows for younger audiences, whilst Peaky Blinders and Ripper Street have shown an ambition for serious drama. Eschewing a mish-mash of police, legal and hospital procedurals for the bulk of its drama output, the BBC continues to take chances.

Furthermore, and this is often overlooked, when the BBC commissions a drama series, it often gives it two series to prove itself. The aforementioned Wizards Vs Aliens was greenlit and two series were ordered upfront. Peaky Blinders is heading to series two in spite of generally low ratings. From what we can work out, Atlantis series two was all but ordered by the time of the press launch for series one.

Ripper Street, then, has had two good series to prove itself. And whilst we've had one or two problems with the show, it's earned itself a solid audience, enjoying something that arguably only the BBC - and maybe Sky - could fund and back to the extent that it did.

The news last week that the show was being cancelled, therefore, was something of a surprise. According to one of Ripper Street's stars, Jerome Flynn, the cast and crew only found out days before we did, and so it looks as if the BBC had given it a few weeks of series two before pulling the gun on it. By that stage, the BBC will have had the episodes for the rest of the run all but in place, so it'd know about the quality of what was to come. But then, this was a ratings decision. The prime issue wasn't the story, where the narrative would go in series three, contract troubles, rights issues or anything like that. It looks, from the outside looking in, like a cold, hard ratings call.

Now Ripper Street isn't a cheap show to make, and there's been the suggestion that the financial call was between Peaky Blinders series two and Ripper Street series three. We don't have anything firm to back that up, but if that was the choice that the BBC was genuinely faced with, then it's damned if it does, damned if it doesn't. The drama budget only stretches so far, and has to cover a set amount of programming hours. It's not as simple as taking the money from Bargain Hunt and ordering up another load of Ripper Street.

But again: this isn't the reason we've been given. The BBC statement read "We are very proud of Ripper Street which has enjoyed two highly ambitious series on BBC One. However, the second series didn't bring the audience we hoped and in order to make room for creative renewal and new ideas it won't be returning".

We're not quite sure what buzzword bingo game the phrase "creative renewal" came from, but the reason here is very specific: "the second series didn't bring the audience we hoped". That's the second series that was scheduled against ITV's I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! We're not looking to be snobbish about reality television here - heck, we like some of it (occasionally) - but that's the ultimate kick in the guts for Ripper Street followers. That it's being cancelled because more people want to watch Ant and Dec taking the piss out of partially famous people being covered in bugs.

Remember when Doctor Who was scheduled against Coronation Street in the late 80s, and couldn't get the ratings? There's a small parallel there.

But then Ripper Street was in stronger shape, was maturing nicely, and the genuine feeling of shock from those involved with the show and those who watched it suggests that not many people saw this one coming. Theories abound. Was BBC America not that interested in stumping up towards it, and the ratings gave the BBC a convenient cover? Was it just too expensive to make? Who knows.

What is clear is that fans of Ripper Street aren't taking this lying down. An online petition is closing in on 10,000 names, and you can find that here. Meanwhile, one of the show's stars, MyAnna Buring, has now called for the public to object to the decision to can the show.

There's a groundswell of support building, and we'd imagine that Ripper Street has more than a few advocates within the towers of BBC central too. The fear is that when it's gone, it's gone, and just as with The Hour and The Fades, acclaim will rain down on the show at the stage when it's all but impossible to get it moving again.

The chances of Ripper Street being resurrected are slight, perhaps, but it feels as though we have to try. And it also feels as though a reminder is needed - to the tabloid press as much as the BBC itself - that a show with low-ish ratings is sometimes a really, really good thing to back. In America, ironically, they've worked out a system that sort-of supports that, with the likes of Breaking Bad, The Wire, Treme and such like. The BBC would have made two series of each of those certainly, more than any other UK broadcaster. But can we encourage a culture where it's not afraid or unable to commission series three as well?

You don't have to love Ripper Street to be worried by the decision.

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Ah, Outcasts - I enjoyed the first series of that and it set up the second so well, but alas, it will only exist in our dreams.

It is a shame as it is quite a decent show. Why this is being cancelled is mystifying, particularly as they're renewing the excreable 'Atlantis'. I'm also mystified why BBC America's 'Copper', another decent period crime drama has been cancelled after two series and hasn't even reached any of the BBC channels here in the UK, I've caught it on Lovefilm and really enjoyed it. Suspect part of it is that the BBC is in a state of paranoia due to political pressure and needs to appear 'relevant' and ratings driven when it should be focussing on quality programming.

Agreed. There are a great deal of eyes on the BBC at the moment and they have to really watch themselves as i'm sure the current government would like nothing more than to whip the financial rug out from under them first chance they get.
Although you could argue that pandering to the Mrs Browns Boys brigade will surely bring the quality of your overall product down which will in turn be another stick with which to be beaten.

When the BBC does get a ratings hit, like Strictly, or even Bargain Hunt, they should be forced to sell it to another terrestrial channel after a couple of series. That way the BBC gets the extra money to finance 'creative renewal' and take risks on new series, and the fans get to keep the series they enjoy. Simples.

Haven't been so angry at the BBC since they cancelled The Fades (a flipping BAFTA winner!). Also, it this the curse of this genre, Copper went out after two seasons two.

Sadly, as a primary channel, BBC One has to cater to the lowest common denominator these days. Just to give you an idea of the mindset of some viewers, a number of complaints were received last week when the BBC interrupted a repeat of Mrs Brown's Boys with news of the death of Nelson Mandela. The main TV channels have been so dumbed down it's untrue - the only ITV show I used to watch was Whitechapel and now that's gone, and BBC seems to be following their lead in killing original drama. Channel 4/E4 still has some things worth watching, but much of their schedule seems to consist of repeats. Much as I don't like giving any cash to Mr Murdoch, there really is little option these days if you want TV broadcast serial drama. If you're after locally-produced drama, you're really in trouble (although again Sky do seem to be taking up the charge on that, with shows like the Tunnel and Falcon in the last year).

I miss The Fades so much and The Hour but yes it does seem when a show is cancelled by the BBC is gone for good. I think its less a ratings thing sometimes and more budgetary at least that is the impression I got with The Fades - BBC 3 had its drama budget cut and couldn't afford to do both The Fades and Being Human so went with BH because it was more established ratings and fanbase wise,

I hadn't had a chance to catch Ripper Street yet, but I'd hoped to catch up on series one and the first few of series two so I could jump in before this series ended. Now I'm not sure if it's worthwhile. I'm always scared to watch shows when I already know they've been axed on a cliffhanger, as I - as I expect all of us - have been hurt before.

Interesting you should mention Copper, a show that I was a big advocate of. I was annoyed about its cancellation (and it's another one that's managed to end on a Cliffhanger).

When you say genre, do you mean 19th century crime dramas or period crime dramas? Because I fear that, if the latter, the BBC could push to not do Peaky Blinders (The only show I've watched as its aired, on its specific weekly slot in years) series 3 if something else crops up before it's about to air series 2.

They shouldn't of killed off Hobbes.

19 century crime drama or period crime is indeed what I mean. Copper, gone. Ripper Street, gone. Whitechapel, not period but same area, gone. It's wonderous that Boardwalk Empire is still around, but thats HBO of course. Mob City of the American TNT channel looks also as being burned off. I really fear for Peaky Blinders.

Also, whats up with the Beeb? If you can't afford two costly period drama's in the same genre at the same time, why don't you make one first and then make the other?!

Budget reasons would be OK, but would really hurts is that the following year BBC 3 came with In the Flesh. Another zombie drama, while they had one!

good article

Defying Gravity was another one that was pushed about in the schedules and left to flounder. A co produced show that had already been cancelled before it was shown. Shame because it was some of the best telly I'd seen in a long time and again left you with one heck of a cliffhanger.

The BBC isn't a niche station. When they schedule programmes on BBC1, they should realise that a show like Ripper Street isn't going to attract the type of audience Eastenders or Strickly is going to pull on the same channel. Its pure fantasy if they expect it to. Sadly, its the muppets in charge who constantly axe the wrongs shows because of deluded expectations.

Very good article. I'm afraid American fans of Ripper Street will never see Season 2. Please realize that ratings should (but do not) include iplayer views, recordings of episodes for later viewing, dvd sales, etc., I'm afraid I will have to buy the dvd in order to see Season 2, and I really do begrudge the percentage of my dollars that will go to the BBC.

What really scares me is that historically shows like Blackadder, Only Fools and Horses, Red Dwarf and even Dr Who in the early days all struggled to find and audience and none would get past season one. If the powers that be had the same mind set then as now all these shows would have faded with only the core fan recalling their potential Also how many repeats did it take for Fawlty Towers and The Office to get their audience.

I really enjoyed Outcasts. Would even settle for a book to know what happened next.

I still haven't forgiven the BBC for never finishing The Tripods.

" ... newspapers and the Daily Mail" Nice. Well played.

Really annoyed - Good series get dropped for crap!!! Bring it back now!

Honestly, I felt like Copper was meant to be Ripper Street for Americans. While the feel (and setting, obviously) was different, the general plot was so incredibly similar that the two main characters had almost IDENTICAL back stories and supporting characters (including a fish-out-of-water "sidekick" whose abilities were way above their "station" for the time).

Ripper Street was the better show, IMO.

I still miss Mongrels.

This is terrible, thing is with series like this, I record them all and wait until the series is finished and then watch them all back to back. I never watch anything like this live, and I do not know anyone who does!

I wish they would cancel crap llike Mrs Browns boys, but thats cheap to make lowest common denominator tv that gets lapped up by the masses and as for your Dr Who comments, they are trying it again this year with their xmas special of Dr Who going up against Coronation st

I hate being right. The BBC has become a joke. And yes it is dumbed down to the Nth degree. The problems are there in plain sight for all to see, and yet no one does a damn thing about it.



That's a major part of the problem. If you want to watch any TV in the Uk, at TIME of broadcast, you have to pay the Fee / Tv Tax.

With this the BBC are supposed to make shows for EVERYONE.

But in what you have now are situations like this, and the problems and solutions I am going to mention here.

We don't need BBC3 and BBC4. WHAT ARE THEY FOR?

Time was, you had stuff on BBC1, and then documentaries and more niche stuff on BBC2 and that worked fine.

Now there are two more BBC Channels doing all sorts of stuff like that, and BBC2 is mostly repeats.

THINK about how stupid this is! So they have cut the budget for BBC3? Ok, then close it down, close down BBC4 and put the money towards making proper shows for just BBC1 and BBC2, like they used to do very well and LIKE THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO!

I had to laugh when the article mentions the usual mish mash of police, legal, and hospital shows. And soaps and so on, because that's all we get. That and blasted cookery shows. How many more times and more shows can they make showing you how to cook? I know its a good idea but the whole of Saturday morning is now devoted to it.

And as for Ripper Street being cancelled...well, I cant say I was surprised. When I saw Peaky Blinders, both shows are similar. We dont need two of then and the sets and storys in Ripper Street are very repetitive

And yes people complained about the coverage of Mandela, that's hardly a surprise either as the coverage has run and run non stop with everyone wanting to get in on the news, and them repeating the same bits and sound bites over and over again.

Its all just got beyond a joke. But you have to still pay for it all!

The BBC have utterly lost the plot, and all the money is used to pay for managers, hangers on, and execs on high pay, and two extra channels we don't need.

Hence all the tripe and four channels with very little worth watching on any of them, when they used to be just two showing constant variety and quality.

And you know what? Its only going to get worse. A few weeks back I predicted on here what would be on over Christmas on the BBC.

And I was right. There is something like 55% of repeats across all of the BBCs output at the peak Christmas period. The we have got repeats of Pixars UP, which was on last year.

Then they have spent a fortune on TOY STORY 3.


I saw it years ago, I own it on DvD. Everyone who wants to see it, will have seen it, got it on DvD and their kids probably know it all be heart by now.

Why did they not use the money the spent on this, to make a new show , a new special for Christmas? In the old days when it was just three channels and no one had a video recorder , never mind a DvD / Bluray player then Christmas was the season for big films on Tv. It was the only way you could see them outside of the cinema.

But today its just an relic from the past. There is no need or point in the BBC putting money into buying big films for TV. Because -

We have seen them at the Cinema

We have then bought them on Bluray or DvD

We have then seen the on Sky or Virgin Cable etc

After all of that time is over they are allowed to be bought and used on Terrestrial Tv channels. So whats the point in buying them again? They are just an easy option to pad out the schedules.

Its just beyond a joke now. Its not even funny.

Why is everyone still paying for the fee???????? Why pay all that money for repeats over Christmas?????? Its not worth it.

I will watch Doctor Who at some point and that's it. That's all there is over the whole Christmas period that I will be wanting to see.

The government have made them freeze the fee, because it was getting out of hand. If they had not done this then it would be £200 a year plus by now, with the same sort of output as we are getting.

It needs to stop. They need to rethink, they need new ideas, new management and they need to scrap the waste, rubbish and extra channels and put all the effort into making good shows on just BBC1 and BBC2.

If not then the BBC will find that its days are numbered. With all the choice, all the Sky stuff, sport, American shows, Virgin , Tivos and so on, its really starting to look out of touch.

Top Gear frequently delays transmission so it doesn't have to run up against the likes of Britain's Got Talent, X-Factor or Strictly...

Surely with this gap in the schedule, there's now room to finally bring about Monkey Tennis!

The BBC is moving 'The Great British Bake Off' from BBC Two to BBC One for its next season explicitly because of its ratings (average 7–8 million this year).

The BBC may not have the requirement to chase ratings, but that is certainly what they do – they compete, just like the other channels. It can't behave like it operates in sort sort of bizarre TV cocoon or as a niche channel. There will always be casualties like Ripper Street due to that sort of mindset.

On a side, your point about broadcasting 'Ripper Street' at the same time as 'I'm a Celebrity …' is pointless. The BBC either 'dukes it out' against flagship shows like that with their own flagship or they show something that best sweeps up the remaining viewers. I doubt there's much crossover between 'I'm a Celebrity …' viewers and 'Ripper Street' viewers.

Artistically, we're seeing the UK become more and more like the U.S. And that is NOT a good thing.

The BBC *must* take ratings into account when considering whether to recommission programmes. No matter how good they are, if people aren't watching them, they have to take that into account when considering where to go next. It shouldn't be the sole deciding factor by any means, but it would be hard for them to justify spending all that money on a programme that relatively few people are choosing to watch. They'd be accused of wasting Licence Fee payers' money.

Now personally, I found what I saw of 'Ripper Street' to be okay - decent enough, not spectacular, but generally fine. But I saw almost no mention of the second series anywhere before the cancellation - I was only aware it was on due to my other half being a regular viewer. Maybe that's the fault of the BBC not promoting it enough, or maybe what little audience it had didn't make its appreciation felt. I don't know. I can't say I'm a fan of all this wailing and gnashing of teeth when a show gets cancelled - as the article above suggests, sometimes they're cancelled for a good reason, and small but vocal group of fans don't always understand that.

The BBC would probably cancel Topgear if it could as its viewer base is not as inclusive as it would like but as it needs it for funding,so it’s stuck =).

Why is the BBC giving up on one of the best drams's on television?
As iicense holders, shouldn't we have the power to choose if a drama is cancelled?

What ever you thought about it, now we don't have eighter. :-(

Excellent article. The petition to save Ripper Street has over 10,500 signatures at the time of writing, and the decision to axe the show is getting quite an airing. I hope this is one instance where fan power pays off. I remember being really annoyed when they axed the Fades, but they announced the decision when it was too late to do anything about it. This time, the cast, crew and the media are on side at the right time to challenge - fingers crossed!

Personally, I think they could do a number of things to 'save' the show if they're worried about its ability to go head-to-head with big ratings winners. How about giving it to BBC2, or going halves with BBC America (I hear it's doing well in the USA)? they could make half-length seasons with longer episodes, Poirot-style (which would also help realise the ambitions of some of the episodes a bit better). Or they could just flippin' well move it back to Sundays where it belongs!

I believe Season 1 was getting audiences of 8-9mil, so this argument of low ratings is a nonsense. If you want a show to succeed, don't schedule it against lowest common denominator crap like I'm A Nobody, Save My Career.

Ditto from me. First The Fades and now this. I want a refund.

Indeed. Ignoring ratings altogether is the perfect way for the BBC to become irrelevant.

I loved Defying Gravity as well, but as you say, as the show had already being cancelled by its American ( or Canadian, I can't remember) producers, I think we should be grateful the BBC even bothered to show it.

Ya know, for a rant that long that I don't usually read - I agree with you 100%

Ripper Street is on Netflix so American audiences will most likely be able to see Season 2 that way...eventually.

Ripper Street is fantastic, Peaky Blinders is not.

Ratings tend to be determined by the lowest common denominator. Shows like "I'm a Celebrity" attract audiences because they're mindless entertainment and because it feeds the constant hunger for celebrity gossip.

None of that should be a reason to cancel something that dares to be different. Cancel it because it's too expensive, cancel it because it has a bad story, but don't cancel because you can't schedule your programming...

Copper was first though, so really it's the other way around.

Series 1 started with around 8 million, dropped to around 6.4 million and Series 2 continued to fall even before I'm a Celebrity started.

Top Gear makes them a hell of a lot of money overseas and is pretty popular in the UK. Why would they cancel it exactly?

The difference is that Doctor Who is popular now, whereas it was a zombie in the mid-to-late 80s.

To look at this in another way, whether popular or not if the bbc don't like something or they want rid of a show, they've always scheduled it against a popular show on the other side instead of giving a worthwhile send off. It happened to old Doctor Who and Top of the Pops to name two that that happened with!

Mob City is a limited-run show. There was never any commitment to extend it beyond six episodes, although it would be good to see more of it.

Boardwalk Empire is period crime, but it's sort of a stretch to group it with the other series you mention. It's not BBC/BBC-A, the period is the 1920s instead of the 19th century, and the point of view is v different.

Oh grow up. Your license fee funds more than just a couple of shows YOU happen to like, it funds a huge raft of shows and service. This constant 'I want my money back' license fee whingeing is becoming as boring as it's stupid.

I miss it too, but if you were being honest with yourself, series 2 just wasn't funny.

Utter utter crass license-fee bashing nonsense. Laughable claptrap.

Haven't had a chance to watch this latest series yet, but why change it from the Sunday slot?? I liked having it as an alternative to the other period guff thats always on! Fancy speak, bowler hats, and good old dashing sex and violence!

Good point.

I saw Ripper Street first and didn't do the math.

PS: Great screen name!

Thanks :)

LOL! you work for the beeb? Just having a moan...

No its not. Sorry. I used to love the BBC. I worshiped them. I grew up watching great shows. Doctor Who, Swap Shop on Saturday morning, Grange Hill, The Box of Delights....on and on and on.

Now put the Tv on this Saturday morning and tell me what dish they are teaching you to cook.


The one day of the week most people are off and there should be some great entertainment on for the kids and or family that everyone could watch and enjoy.

But no. Just how to cook fish, or meat or vegetables

Great entertainment that is. Can no one read a cookery book?

What a total lack of imagination. Then its into hours of boring sport, then we get to watch more celebs dancing again. Then its Pantlantis which is just so so incredibly bad its insulting and would look brain dead and childish if it was first broadcast in the 70s never mind now. I have seen more entertaining episodes of playschool.

Then its into the boring overblown ritual of picking lottery numbers, then into the predictable medical drama Casualty, then along comes more sport in match of the day.

Anyway you are entitled to your opinion however. But the ratings for a lot of things are no where near what they should be. If the show was good it would get high ratings no matter what side it was broadcast on, and no matter what was on the other side. Because we all have the ability to record it and watch it later or catch up on Iplayer.

The BBC needs a good kicking. It needs fixing. It needs new ideas.

Because of the FEE.

If it was totally free, then they could do what they wanted, make whatever crap and not put any effort it because it would not matter.

But for £150 a year I expect a bit more than cookery shows, medical, dancing soaps and mindless formula. Its not good enough. They used to be able to do it , so what's gone wrong?

Times are hard. People are struggling to pay bills and heat their homes and keep a roof over their heads, and £145 a year is a lot of money.

They need to cut out the waste, the move to Salford was a stupid pointless waste of time and money. I dont care where they make the shows, as long as they are good. To move a massive chunk of the operation to make it "less London centric" is just utterly laughable, but hey...we are only paying for it.

Anyway not to worry. I hope you have a good Christmas and find something worth watching...

As for me, I wont be viewing anything. I am spending Christmas mostly on my own, and shall be going to the pub, playing a few games, visiting my parents and getting drunk.

The last thing I will be doing is watching another cookery show or Toy Story 3.....

Thanks...I never really meant to go on that long, but I do feel strongly about it and felt someone had to point certain things out. I really miss the BBC of old. Back when it was just two channels and no internet.

They would never dream or dare to make something like BLAKES 7 today.

Mind you...give them a chance and it will be Strictly Come Cooking coming to you live from the international space station that has been redecorated to resemble a Victorian Street......

Atlantis is almost certainly being renewed to fill the Doctor Who slot on Saturday. Previously it was quite nicely filled with Merlin but with that no longer on...

I think they should bring back Its a Knockout. .....

I used to love that show......Stuart Hall eh...who would have thought it.

"Hoooooha ha ha ha ha ha haaaaaaaaaa hhhhaaaa hhaa hah! Here come the Belgians.........."

Jesus H Christ. 8 million people watching other people bake and cook things. Has no one got anything better to do? I am all in favour of cooking properly etc but its just getting silly now.

I suppose it follows trends....In the early nineties it was make over shows like Changing Rooms, then it was gardening shows like Ground its all cookery shows and who can bake the best fairy cakes....

They should invent a new show format called -

"How do you solve a problem like the BBC"

Each week on Saturday night a team of classic writers could hold auditions with the general public in front of a live audience.

The challenge is for someone to come up with a new show for the BBC that DOES NOT INVOLVE -

Period Drama
Medical Show
Soap Operas

The winner would get the show made and aired.....sigh...maybe in another reality somewhere eh???

Yes I agree. Thing is, the way things are now, all the shows you mention would never even get made at all. If it does not have singing, cooking or dancing or something to do with criminals or Doctors (Not the time travel sort) then they have got no chance.

Imagine if the people running things years ago had the same mindset as the management now.

No Box of Delights, No Blakes 7, No Dads Army, No Doctor Who you get the idea...

So then they have to give Doctor Who to ITV? Nope. Nuh uh. You go and think about what you've done.

There are people who loved Defying Gravity? All I remember about it at this point is how pissed off I was at it.

As far as BBC America imports go, they treated Orphan Black pretty terribly, burning off the last four episodes on BBC3, with minimal advertising and even a smug 'well good thing there's no more doppelgangers, how about watching some Beeb shite' smarmy announcer stuff at the end of the episode.

And christ was Peaky Blinders terrible. I really should just stick to watching BBC for the Danish imports I guess.

It makes sense to group Boardwalk Empire with Mob City, though, which is also 1920s and not BBC/BBCA. And Peaky Blinders is also 1920s. So there's a pattern there.

It's not on Netflix UK, though. Fades and Outcasts are, which seem well liked judging from these comments (though not the Hours.)

But if they cut BBC3, will they still import Orphan Black? Because that's really all I care about.

True, the BBC generally doesn't make as good programs as HBO, FX, et al, and attempts to chase this model - like Peaky Blinders - have not exactly been successful.

We just went thru something similiar with Copper on BBC America. We were left with a horrible cliffhanger, because even Tom Fontana thought there would be a season 3 and had already plotted out the storyline. BBC / BBC America are cutting off their noses to spite their faces. They may be saving money by canceling quality shows with loyal fan bases such as Copper and Ripper, but they are losing a loyal audience in the meantime. It won't matter what shows survive their cuts if no one is willing to watch them? Poor form BBC.

There is a loyal fan base trying to Bring Back Copper as well. We have a Facebook page and have been writing networks, plus Tom Fontana, about bringing back to the show AT LEAST to clear up the cliffhanger storyline. We have the backing and have been working in conjunction with the stars of the show as well. Check us on out Facebook if you haven't already. As mentioned above, the name of our front is Bring Back Copper.

Funny, because in the states we were told they canceled Copper because it didn't sustain the ratings in their 2nd season that Orphan Black brought in their first season. It seems that BBC is like a child- quick to put down an old beloved toy for the new and shiny one.

Don't count on BBC America to save Ripper Street. They just canceled Copper on us for similiar reasons - money and ratings. And yet they play repeats of Gordon Ramsey and Top Gear all day long.

It's a funny show to re-watch after nearly 30 years. All those security guards wearing black leather shorts... the Pink Parrot bar... Blimey, we were innocent back then.

No, Mob City is late 40s. Remember that a couple of key characters know each other because they were Marines in WWII. Bugsy Siegel was knocked off in 1947, and Mickey Cohen was jailed in 1951, so that pretty much pins down the action of the series.

There were a couple of flashbacks to some of the main characters' early years, but all the real action takes place ~1946.

Merlin shaped up nicely for those last two seasons. I was surprised at how well things ended. Sadly, I can't seem to get into Atlantis at all, but have enjoyed Ripper Street tremendously and will miss it dearly.

Touche. I just read a review that connected it to the 1920s and thought that;'s when it was set, lazy of me.

Whilst I agree with this sentiment - the BBC shouldn't succumb to the ratings battle - Ripper Street simply isn't that strong. There is a reason people are tuning out. Everything is in place for it to be amazing: great cast, production, budget. But it failed to quite hit the spot. The same is unfortunately true for The Hour. I could be wrong but I feel the latter only received award recognition in the States. It didn't quite spark the imagination of British audiences despite the astonishingly good cast. When it comes to drama (emphasis on drama!), British audiences are generally quite discerning and will give the ratings - see Sherlock & Broadchurch. Even Downton Abbey, initially very popular, has had a sizeable drop in ratings since storylines went south.

The anomaly here is of course The Fades, which followed in the wake of a number of other brilliant genre shows on BBC Three. I think the makers of that show have acknowledged that it was axed because a new commissioner came in and wanted to make their own mark, commissioning their own shows etc. Not fair but that's the way it goes.

Whilst I agree with quite a fair bit of what you say (seriously, dancing "celebs" and hours of cookery can jog on) I don't really agree on the sporting front.

A lot of sport only takes place at the weekend (the majority of football/rugby union/rugby league/athletics) and sport is (and should be) a big part of our culture. I can understand being peeved if it was blanket BBC coverage for days on end (whilst I enjoy the Olympics and Wimbledon I can understand it getting irritating for non-fans) but one afternoon a week doesn't seem like too much for what should be boosted.

I do think BBC 3 and BBC 4 could be condensed into one channel though; lord knows the BBC could lose some of the repeats! I'm fond of Family Guy but it's ridiculous the amount of repetitions it gets - it's like watching Dave.

Let's just commission 26 episodes of Doctor Who per year, extra Sherlock and regular Jonathan Creek episodes eh? ;)

As fare as I can tell no ones mentioned Firefly in the comments... and we call ourselves geeks!

What a good idea! In fact whenever anyone does anything remotely successful they should be forced to give it to the competition.


"newspapers and the Daily Mail" haha

The six episode "limited run" of Mob City is the same as that of The Walking Dead which started with six eps also. Limited run is a very loose term. Under the Dome was a "limited run" but is getting a second series, same thing happend to ITV's Whitechapel. Sleepy Hollow was also first annouched as a limited run, but they quickely came back on that. Dracula has also the possibility to get a second series. Just to mention a few.

I should have ticked 20th century too in my comment. But I think you get the point I'm talking about period drama of the criminal kind here. HBO's Boardwalk Empire is indeed the odd one out. It's premium cable so it doesn't have the same viewer figures burden as basic cable shows like Copper. Another period crime premium cable example I could give you is Starz' Magic City. It's in the sixties I believe (haven't watched it), but for this series also goes: two seasons and out.

Very good that there is being such efford made to finish Copper. Good luck to your cause!

Except itv isn't competition. One is a public service broadcaster unfairly skewing the market and competing unfairly. As a result, all the others are left to find the lowest common denominator. But many of the classics of the past few years weren't BBC

Hear that, and the plot similarities were disconcerting, but I loved both shows and am pretty disgusted with BBC.

I agree with everything, except BBC 3 and 4 being condensed.

just imagine the reaction of people watching some documentary on pollock (you know what i mean), then being treated to the, umm, delights of sun sex and suspicious parents.

now condensing 2 and 4, that could work.

The BBC are tits. Cutting, cutting-edge drama, in order to provide best before dead Forsyth an even bigger auto-cue. Cancel celebrity jungle dancin for humanity.

I was still reeling from Copper's cancellation, so this came as quite a blow. They were both great shows, cancelled before their time. I doubt the BBC or BBCA will be coming up with anything in a similar vein soon, which makes me even more sad.

Very good point - but maybe amalgamate both ideas: move some BBC 2 stuff to BBC 3 (space made on 3 either by deleting repeats or extending the hours); move the best BBC 4 stuff to BBC 2 (space made by moving programmes to BBC 3 or deleting repeats), delete BBC 4 entirely.

That said, the thought of those with cultural yearnings for classical music and the arts suddenly being bombarded by Family Guy and The Revolution Will Be Televised etc is a very entertaining one...

In reply to all who replied to me. There is not enough good stuff on BBC2, 3 and 4 to even worry about getting rid of the extra channels. All you need to do is put all the stuff onto BBC2 and spread it out properly. Put the light stuff on early at tea time, the documentaries and BBC3 / 4 Dramas on at 9pm and stuff like Family Guy on late.

If I can work it out, why cant a BBC exec on £500,000 a year of our money do it?

As for Sport on Saturdays....well I object to it ruling the day. Fair enough, put it on from 12 noon until 5 or 5.30 pm at the latest. But not on BBC2 as well, at the same time. Some Saturdays in the season it starts at about 11am on Saturday and goes through untill 7pm at night, and so you look for something else and find BBC2 is running Snooker for the same amount of time, or Grand Prix or something. Its just stupid.

Saturday should be the big event in the weekly Tv Broadcast that really pulls out the stops. That has something for EVERYONE at some point and not just sport, repeats and dancing.

Can you remember when the BBC started to show Startrek the Next Generation on BBC2? Well the controller of BBC1 said at the time, that it had to be broadcast on BBC2 because, and I quote -

"I don't want that crap on my channel"

HIS CHANNEL??????????????????????


Anyway I know I am wasting my time here, its a lost cause all of it. No one gets it, much less the BBC. So at some point in the next 10 years I expect the fee will be scraped, because there will be less and less quality, more repeats and people will just give up and go off to do other things and watch other channels. People just wont be able to afford to pay it, or be unwilling to do so.

I myself have given up and no longer pay the fee for stuff I dont want to see. Its a waste of money. I just watch catch up on Iplayer after Doctor Who has been on. The rest I just dont care for.

I would rather watch stuff like Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Battlestar Galactica, Revolution etc than be bored to death by Sport, Dancing, Cookery , Drosslantis, and yet another adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and other by the numbers bog fests....

Thanks for reading, and merry Christmas to all.....

PS, BBC America just updated their Ripper Street page two days ago. There still is no real solid attempt at promoting the series.

Freedom of speech under attack now? Why don't YOU just keep your nose out if you don't have anything to contribute to the thread?

Like I said, grow up. People are entitled to disagree with one another, you clown.

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