Posted by: Paul | January 24, 2011

Comments on Zen

Hello everyone.

There have been rather a lot of comments on the post I wrote last week about Zen, the BBC’s dramatisation of the Michael Dibdin detective novels which finished last week. Firstly – thank you very much for reading, even more so if you stuck around and read any of my other posts. I have at least one new subscriber from the attention this has garnered.

Secondly, due to the nature and subject of many of the comments, I just wanted to make clear that I am in no way affiliated to or employed by the BBC. I’m simply a part-time home blogger, writing about things that interest him. If you’re upset about the fact that the Beeb only made three episodes, airing your views here – while very welcome indeed – won’t get the show recommissioned. You need to get onto the Beeb directly – as if this many of you feel this strongly that it was a great show and are willing to say so on my blog, imagine how many of you there are out there who enjoyed it and would welcome more. Start a movement. Start a Facebook group if you must. Get onto the BBC’s Points of View pages and make a big noise there. Because jumping up and down on it on my own page is going to get you precisely nowhere!

It seems that the chief gripe is that the run was very short – only three episodes. But consider these points in response to that. The shows are adapted from novels, which take a good long time to (a) secure the rights for and (b) adapt for the screen. Then, consider that the entire show is shot on location in Italy. Fairly long shoots, which logistically take a great deal of organisation. Finally, consider that each episode is 90 minutes, making 4.5 hours of TV. That’s like shooting two feature films back to back, without even starting on the post-production on top of that to make it look and sound as beautiful as it does. All in, once the scripts are written, you’re talking about a time frame of about a year to produce three episodes. Trust me, if they’re thinking about recommissioning it, they’re thinking about it NOW for screening next January, so if you want to see it again then making your voice heard now gives Zen as good a chance of returning as it’s going to get.

In the interest of redressing the sexual balance from my last post, here is a photo of Caterina AND Rufus. Copyright BBC.

In other news, this week I’m working on some more material for LA – going through old audio and multimedia content and selecting choice material for inclusion in the mobile web application which is on its way. It’s quite fun work and I know the material from having written and edited the condensed versions of those texts in the autumn. The house sale rumbles on, we went to see another place nearby yesterday and I was horrified at the state of it for the asking price. They were smokers and had two dogs – bull mastiffs I think, more at home on a chain in a south London park than here. The whole place stank, we’d have to rip it apart and even then it would take years to rid us of the smell. For my wife it’s on the ‘maybe’ list – for me a definite ‘no’!



  1. Very valid points – I was all ready with my flaming of the BBC for their cutting short of Zen and their on-off approach (Sherlock, Survivors, etc). Yes, especially where Zen is concerned there’s a lot of effort going into each episode so I suppose I can live with that.

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