Stars of New Tricks criticise the show’s writers

Amanda Redman, Alun Armstrong and Dennis Waterman tell Radio Times the series has become too "bland" and isn't as "anarchic" as it used to be

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New Tricks stars Amanda Redman, Alun Armstrong and Dennis Waterman have spoken out to Radio Times against the writers of their hit BBC crime series.

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In this week’s magazine, Redman discussed the general tendency in contemporary TV drama to spoon-feed viewers by overstating and oversimplifying:

“It’s more bland now. The characters are not being as anarchic as they used to be, which I think is a shame.”

Armstrong agreed with her comments, adding, “My character has got saner. Which I’m not enamoured with. And it’s about time Amanda’s character got her leg over.

Dennis Waterman also jumped on board, stating, “You have to remind yourself that people aren’t as stupid as writers think. But that’s the way things are going in the industry. Basically, we all want to move to Copenhagen to get to do some really extraordinary television.”

After eight successful series, the trio went on to reveal the level of involvement they have come to expect during filming:

“If we felt that a story didn’t work, or that bits of the story could be improved, then – if the writer wasn’t around – we would set about rewriting it ourselves,” said Alun Armstrong.

Amanda Redman added, “It’s not that we bully directors, but in any creative process, it has to be collaborative. They (programme executives) are not dealing with young kids.”

And beware any director who thinks they can muscle in on the threesome’s on-set work ethos…

“We have never tolerated anybody – and we’ve had the odd one – who will come on to the set and say, ‘You will do this’ or ‘You won’t say that,’” warned Armstrong. “They get short shrift and there’s an almighty battle until they’re forced to collaborate.”

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New Tricks was first broadcast on BBC in 2004 and enjoyed its highest ever ratings during season eight before actor James Bolam departed from the show. Filming has just been completed on the new series which begins on Monday 27 August at 9:00pm.