Inside Television: Plinky-plonk notes in documentaries don't raise a smile
I can't help noticing that the incidental music in television documentaries is becoming increasingly hard to differentiate from one programme to the next.
Talking off the record to a documentary director from Channel 4, it would seem that the problem is recognised within the industry. "We always complain about a certain sort of plinky-plonk music that highlights that this is a comedy moment," he tells me.
Ali Johnson, global head of music at Audio Network, a company that provides ready-made "production music" to BBC and HBO in America, confirms that there is a trend in documentaries towards what he calls "a quirky underscore".
Singing Potter's praises at last
Mad Men ended its current short run on an optimistic note – despite the sudden death of advertising firm founder Bert Cooper (Robert Morse). The final fantasy segment, in which Don Draper hallucinated a song-and-dance routine featuring his deceased business partner, was an unexpected delight.
It was also pure Dennis Potter, connecting the current golden age of American television drama to an earlier British one. Potter, especially with Pennies from Heaven and The Singing Detective, greatly influenced the leading auteurs of US drama.
Last weekend saw the 20th anniversary of Potter's death – not that you'd know it from the TV schedules of the BBC, for whom Potter created all of his masterworks. Ironically, you'll have to listen to the radio if wish to hear a tribute. Dennis Potter – with Aggressive Affection is on Radio 3 this Sunday.
TV reviewBroadcasting House was preparing for a visit from Prince Charles spoiler alert
Glastonbury Michael Eavis reveals final headline act 'most likely' British pair
Film Ewan McGregor joins star-studded Beauty and the Beast cast as Lumiere
TVThe Island with Bear Grylls under fire after male contestants kill and eat rare crocodile
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
- 5 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
Poldark, series 1 finale, review: How a costume drama became a Sunday night swoon-fest
Al Pacino admits he was nearly fired from The Godfather and it's still his most 'difficult role'
Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik tops Sunday Times Rich List
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 3, review: Sansa and manhood-lopping torturer Ramsay Bolton - really?
The day I starred in Only Fools and Horses
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove