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The Outsiders: Liverpool doubles for… Everywhere

Friday, October 6th, 2006

One of the fun things with living in Liverpool is playing spot the Liverpool location in TV and films doubling for other places.

I watched ITV’s The Outsiders that I recorded on Tuesday earlier. Lots of Liverpool to spot including some interior shots that I’m pretty certain were done in the building at the University I used to work in. The Victorian tiles are really distinctive shade of green so it wasn’t hard to make out.

As to the pilot itself: it seems to have its ITC action drama credentials in order in that it didn’t take itself as seriously as Spooks. I loved the little touch of the high explosives being executive toys with indicator lights attached. However, I think it needs an injection of adrenaline and budget. The explosion special effects reminded me of Bugs rather than something made now. The hour and a half format was too long. Maybe if someone went at it with a hatchet in editing to cut it to an hour it would have been more exciting.

In a way it seems to suffer from the same problems Ultimate Force and some of the long forgoten ITV action show pilots of the 90s. Someone at ITV remembers they used to make shows like this. They used to beat the BBC hands down at this kind of entertainment in the 60s, 70s and 80s but they just can’t remember how and their scared to put the resources into doing the job properly for fear of losing big. Which is a problem when the BBC are now turning out Dr Who, Spooks, Hustle, Life on Mars and Robin Hood (I’m just guessing it’s going to do well). So they fish out a soap star and cross their fingers he’ll cover up the problems with the pace, the plot, the budget and the effects. Then they get cold feet when it doesn’t stomp all over the ratings and we end up with them slipping back into the easy habit of Sunday night dramas, cop shows and soaps. Over on Channel 5 they don’t need to try because they’ll just buy in CSI et al from the US. A bit of healthy competition might lead to something really ground breaking being made. Maybe Channel 4 should have another go? They certainly did it once with UltraViolet.

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