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British TV makes too many detective and period dramas, says Wolf Hall director

Peter Kosminsky calls on British programme makers to “get up off our arses and try to rock the boat a bit more”

Published: Sunday, 10th January 2016 at 11:04 am

British programme makers need to “rock the boat” more and not make an “endless diet” of period and detective dramas, according to Wolf Hall director Peter Kosminksy.


The celebrated director, whose production of Wolf Hall is shortlisted in three categories at tonight’s Golden Globe Awards, urged “supine” film-makers to produce more hard-hitting dramas in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph today.

He also tartly dismissed Downtown Abbey as a “crowd-pleaser” and “an Upstairs Downstairs remake”, and complained about British television's "endless diet of detective dramas".

He said: “Television is such a powerful medium. Millions of people watching a programme go into their school or workplace the next day and say, ‘Did you see it?’ Imagine if that programme wasn’t War and Peace or Wolf Hall, but was something that raised real questions about the way we are governed, or how our society is structured, or the crisis over refugees and migrants.

“Imagine if people were going in and not saying, ‘Ooh, I didn’t half fancy her in War and Peace,’ but if they were going in and saying, ‘That made me really angry.’ We’ve become supine. We need to get up off our arses and try to rock the boat a bit more. I’d like to see leadership from the broadcasters to say, ‘Come on, we want more of this stuff.’”

Kosminsky’s next drama project is for Channel 4 and follows four British Muslim men who flee to Syria to fight for Islamic State.

However he warned the paper that the next series of Wolf Hall may not appear on the BBC until 2020 because Hilary Mantel, the author of the books on which it is based, is still not close to finishing her third novel The Mirror and the Light. But he revealed that he had been given an eight-page synopsis of the forthcoming book.

Damian Lewis and Mark Rylance who played Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell respectively are in the running at tonight’s Golden Globes, for their roles in Wolf Hall for the best supporting actor and best actor roles, respectively.


Wolf Hall is also nominated in the “best limited series” category alongside four other shows including Fargo and American Crime.


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