It’s strange to write about seeing something that you’ve watched being made, the old joke about sausage factories not withstanding, it is the changes that have been made which make viewing the finished product a bizarre experience.
A lot of the changes that you see make sense.
Take for example the decision to swap around Episode one and Episode two. If you watch Episode two closely you can see where they introduce the characters (like informing the viewer that Rashid is a trainee), but if you take a step back you can see that Episode one has a more equal distribution of the characters rather than it being much more about Stuart and his… ‘intimacy issues’. This makes a lot of sense.
You can also see things where plot points and beats that work on paper, when filmed only add unanswered questions. Those scenes then end up on the editing suite floor (or the editing software trash bin). Initially you wonder where the funny scene that you liked so much in the script and rough edit has gone – but then you realise that the episode is better for dropping it.
Sometimes you think that someone has put something in by mistake on the day. Take the first scene of Episode one where Stuart crawls through the car, checks a woman’s pulse and saying ‘she’s got a faint pulse’ then goes on to start internal CPR. (Hint – you don’t do CPR on an adult if they have a pulse). This error wasn’t in the draft I saw, but I can imagine that during filming the director wanted Stuart to say something ‘medical’. Hence an error was born.
(I can’t say for sure if this is what happened – or if it is something that sneaked in on a later draft).
Then you can see the changes that Channel Four have probably requested – and I cannot blame them, after all they are seeking to hit a certain demographic and are paying Daybreak the production company to produce that product. It’s very expensive to make a TV show and Channel Four have every right to get what they are paying for.
And to be honest, I don’t think that Channel Four had a horribly wrong-headed idea of the TV programme that Daybreak wanted to make – so the changes have so far been completely reasonable. As I keep saying to everyone who dares to ask me, it would be a different series (not ‘better’) if the BBC had commissioned it, or if it were for ITV, and if SyFy commissioned it then it would be a very different beast entirely.
So it’s weird to watch something that has changed so much – not wrong, not painful, not disappointing. Just a bit weird.
For the record? I really like it. It’s a good, strong, Channel Four drama-comedy.