Overdue Delivery for Mr Bates

If you’re wondering when one of the year’s most talked about TV dramas will screen here, TVNZ has confirmed Mr Bates vs the Post Office shortly will premiere on TVNZ 1 and TVNZ+.

The four-hour dramatisation of how postmasters across the UK were wrongly sacked or convicted because of accounting errors caused by faulty software was “ITV’s biggest new drama in over a decade”.

Reported Deadline:

The audience figures for the ITV show make it the biggest drama in the UK since the BBC’s Line of Duty sixth season aired in 2021, and the biggest new drama since the BBC’s Bodyguard in 2018. And it is ITV’s biggest drama since Broadchurch in 2017. The four episodes are the most watched programmes on any channel so far this year.

Not only were the ratings and streaming figures sensational but more importantly the series led to injustices being overturned and legislation belatedly overhauled.

The BBC describes it as a TV drama that “shook up Britain — in just a week.”

And the London Evening Standard argued, “This, then, is what drama can do. It can effect change,” citing a legacy of benchmark social issues dramas from Cathy Come Home in 1966 to the likes of It’s a Sin and I May Destroy You.

Which is why it’s so alarming to hear from the Mr Bates vs The Post Office programme-makers that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to make this kind of show at all.

“These kinds of four-part, very British, thoughtful dramas are massively at threat because distributors worry that it is less likely that they will recoup their investment than they would from an international thriller with lots of episodes,” said producer Patrick Spence …

The show’s writer, Gwyneth Hughes, revealed that as well as having to sacrifice storylines to slim the show down, members of the cast including [Toby] Jones, who plays Bates, agreed to work for below market rates to ensure that the production came in on its estimated £8m budget.

TVNZ’s delivery seems overdue but the series aired only this month in Australia and doesn’t premiere on PBS in America until April.

Chances are it will wind up as an Easter Weekend special spread across Sunday and Monday nights.

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2 Responses to “Overdue Delivery for Mr Bates”

  1. Warning: preg_replace(): Unknown modifier '/' in /home/customer/www/screenscribe.net/public_html/wp-content/themes/headlines/includes/theme-comments.php on line 66
    February 20, 2024 at 1:46 pm

    I was wondering when this show would air and thought it would be this month. Thanks for the heads up Philip.

  2. The series is looking great, as Australians loved that Brit Drama so much it attracted 1.5 million national viewers on Seven which it was their highest rating British drama on Seven since Downtown Abbey in 2011. Rated at 11 Million on ITV that is a most watched drama series in the UK this year. Hope it will be a same story for TVNZ soon.

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