The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1341 Tuesday, 4 July 2000.
Date: Friday,30 Jun 2000 23:58:59 +0100
Subject: 11.1326 Re: The Shakespeare Channel
Comment: RE: SHK 11.1326 Re: The Shakespeare Channel
This started as a serious off-list conversation. Having read on this
list that the RSC keep a video archive of all their productions, I
wondered why they don't sell it to TV stations. Mike informed me that,
while the quality of the tapes is good enough for archive purposes, it
is not good enough for TV; moreover, the RSC's previous experiments with
TV productions have not been commercially successful.
With that noted, I think we may still be optimistic. The TV business is
changing. When digital TV was launched in Britain almost two years ago,
we were told that, thanks to the digital technology, in the future there
would be room for thousands of channels for all tastes. Discounting the
hype, there is still truth in this. When a TV company is in business,
broadcasting hundreds of channels, the marginal cost of adding a new one
must be low. The physical infrastructure, the running costs, admin and
marketing etc. are already covered by the existing subscriber base, so
the main cost is buying in the programmes. Given the number of
Shakespeare-friendly theatre companies around, it should be possible one
of these days for a TV company to do a deal that allows them to record
good performances without paying unfeasible royalties. When I look at
some of the channels broadcasting on cable and digital satellite in
Britain (to say nothing of the US), it's obvious that if only the
programmes are cheap enough, a channel is viable even without a large
If we speculate a little further, we can imagine a convergence of the
internet with TV to the extent that the concept of a 'channel'
dissolves: what you get is a very large number of programmes that you
can download and watch when you like, as we already do with web sites.
So let's be optimistic that Abigail will get her collection of
Beatrices. Mike and I both have fond memories of the great
Jacobi/Cusack Much Ado of 1982, the only production I've ever gone to
see more than once (in this case, 4 times).
Coming back to today, with reference to Skip Nicholson's complaint: Mike
and I had no intention of upsetting anyone by this. Even if we have not
added much to the public stock of harmless pleasure, I hope no one's
offended. If we offend, it is with our good will....