The cast of New Tricks has criticised the BBC for excessive censoring of scripts and dialogue.
The long-running detective show, about the ageing members of the Metropolitan Police Service’s Unsolved Crime and Open Case Squad (Ucos), returns for an eighth series next month (Monday 4 July, 9:00pm, BBC1).
And in an interview in the latest issue of Radio Times, cast members James Bolam, Amanda Redman, Dennis Waterman and Alun Armstrong express their exasperation at some of the changes that are made to scripts.
“We tend to come up against the BBC mainly when there are edicts and memos and script changes, which we never get to discuss,” says Armstrong.
Waterman agrees: “We play the game of: was this written by the writer or a BBC executive?”
“And we can always tell,” adds Bolam.
“They’re terrified of offending anyone,” says Redman, who plays Detective Superintendent Sandra Pullman, head of Ucos.
But swearing, for instance, is a realistic part of police life, says Waterman, and should be portrayed on screen.
“The BBC have a phrase that is used to our producers: ‘Audience expectation’. They say that viewers don’t expect us to swear. But we’re ex-coppers!”
However, New Tricks’s executive producer, Alex Graham, defends the show’s policy: “I don’t want to sound old-fashioned, but – although it’s technically a post-watershed show – New Tricks is a family programme. Part of its appeal is that all the generations watch it.”
Do you want to hear the cast of New Tricks swearing? Post a comment below and let us know.
And read the full interview with the cast, in which they reveal some shared history - and how they sneak in script changes - in the latest issue of Radio Times.