First Jamaica Inn, now Quirke. The BBC have been plagued with complaints about sound quality these past few weeks from viewers struggling to make sense of the corporation’s two big-budget dramas.
The latter – starring Gabriel Byrne and based on the books by John Banville – was adapted by Andrew Davies, the man who adapted the original House of Cards and (most importantly) Colin Firth’s lake scene in Pride and Prejudice. But even he has admitted to watching Quirke with the aid of subtitles after his wife struggled to understand what the characters were saying.
“I could hear it because I knew what the words were,” Davies told RadioTimes.com, “and I think that’s often the problem with the people in the production… When you know what the lines are, there’s a tendency to think you’ve heard them alright whereas if you didn’t know the thing, maybe you wouldn’t.”
His wife of 53 years, Diana Huntley, certainly couldn’t. “She said, ‘Do you mind if we have the subtitles on?’
“It’s a funny thing, mumbling. It’s a bit to do with actors, a bit do with with modern, flat-screen televisions and both my wife and I are of an age where our hearing is beginning to go.”
As for a second series of Quirke, well, we’ll have to wait and see if it manages to overcome the latest “mumble-gate” scandal. “I hope it’ll be on again,” said Davies. “I’m not sure whether I’d be writing it. We’ll have to see what happens.”
House of Cards is new to Drama on Saturday 12th July at 7pm (Freeview 20 | Sky 166 | Virgin 190)