Sunday, February 14, 2010

Guilt by association ...

... or omission? Do you suppose that the typical Sunday Times reader will be more familiar with a radical economist who died in 1998 or with with the daily paper's regular Tuesday columnist? The ST (Doctor Who in war with Planet Maggie) reports on the up-to-the-minute doings of long-running children's show just before it was cancelled by Michael Grade in the 80s.

Andrew Cartmel, who was employed as script editor after telling the show’s producer that he aimed to “overthrow the government”, assembled a number of “angry young writers” to produce plots that would foment anti-Thatcher dissent.

They included Ben Aaronovitch, the son of the late Marxist intellectual Sam Aaronovitch, and Rona Munro, who went on to become a scriptwriter for Ken Loach, the socialist film-maker.

Wow, a BBC script writer had a radical dad! and his brother writes for the Sunday Times sister paper. And ...?

Here is our Dave on Ken Loach:

... the cinematographically talented but politically ridiculous director Ken Loach...

Dave's brother once worked with a woman who wrote scripts for Ken Loach who has made common cause with George Galloway. No one must ever share a platform or, worse, collaborate with David Aaronovitch ever again!

(Via Paul Waugh.)


Blogger Ben Aaronovitch said...

You know this article has appeared on the Daily Mail and the Telegraph websites under two different bylines today. Does that sound normal to you guys? Help a brother out here.

2/14/2010 08:52:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Blimey! Mail and Telegraph. The Mail has lost contact with reality completely. Put a few arty Scots into a room together in the 80s and they'd all happily slag off Thatcher; that's not evidence of a plot or an agenda.

No I can't explain it. Dr Who has according to Wikipedia a "ong association with libertarian causes". It's anti-gun, anti-violence (or as much as a series with lots of both can be); IIRC, Hartnell's Doctor sided with Saladin against the Crusaders; Troughton's Doctor's only religious affiliations were Buddhists. Dr Who has always been somewhat left-of-centre, that's why I found the Times piece so funny. That, and their only evidence for left-wingery was your father, and Rona's writing partnership with Ken Loach. David Tennant's telling of his days touring Brecht with 7:84 went right over their heads, it seems. And given some of the stuff Ecclestone has been in - 'Our Friends in the North', for instance - I'd be surprised if he wasn't a lefty too.

2/14/2010 09:28:00 PM  
Blogger Ben Aaronovitch said...

The thing that struck me though was that they are all the same story, with the same quotes, from the same people who I happen to know (since some of them are colleagues) were only interviewed once.

I try to avoid journalism as much as possible which is why I'm asking whether this blatant plagiarism is just the way things are done these days.

2/15/2010 07:22:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Often in these cases isn't it that they are from the same Press Association source? However in practice they usually say that or are bylined by a 'Daily Mail reporter' rather than a named journalist. Also in this case wasn't it a Times' 'exclusive'. I think they just copy each other.

2/15/2010 08:10:00 AM  
Blogger Ben Aaronovitch said...

I've never had the opportunity to watch from the inside while a story is whipped up from nothing before.

It's got a kind of weird infant school playground vibe to it.

I wonder where it will go.

2/15/2010 02:47:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

off topic - scoopies say 'regime change in Iran now'

2/15/2010 03:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wasn't Servalan in Blake's 7 based on Thatcher?

2/16/2010 04:01:00 PM  
Blogger Sangiovese Fellow said...

Servalan based on Thatcher? Surely not. One's a ruthless, greedy, corrupt, power-mad dictatorial figure who surrounds herself with fascists and sycophants while caring nothing about the innumerable lives she ruins and rubs out, while the other's just a mediocre sci-fi baddie.

2/17/2010 12:44:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

Esperanza Aguirre is based on Thatcher as far as I can see.

2/17/2010 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger Paul McMc said...

On Doctor Who, for anyone who's not seen it.

2/17/2010 02:00:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

I do like the story via that MetaFilter thread that Christopher Ecclestone [won't comment about] standing against Hazel Blears. When we approached Christopher to see if he would stand against Hazel Blears at the General Election, amazingly he didn't rule out the prospect, saying that he "didn't want to comment at this time"…

2/17/2010 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Ooh, pointless fact time. Wikipedia entry on Leela.

Writer Chris Boucher named her after the Palestinian hijacker Leila Khaled.

Tom Baker disliked Leela's character concept because he felt that she was too violent.

Really, Dr Who has a long tradition of radical politics.

2/20/2010 05:15:00 PM  

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