posted by Glenn Barton

Lets NOT Knock Creativity

There are times when it is difficult to defend the BBC - especially in the last few years when the corporation seems to have done nothing but trip over itself, only to pick itself up and find it's in the line of fire - think BBC Trust, closure of TV Centre, and golden handshakes.  But I did feel some sympathy for the great institution, and more specifically for those involved in the recent BBC Music promotional video, a highly imaginative cover of the Beach Boys, 'God Only Knows'.

I'm sure you've seen it by now, but if you haven't, then click this link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqLTe8h0-jo

Let me first begin by saying this - if I had had anything to do with any part of that production, I would have been as proud as punch.  Quite simply, it's a wonderfully creative piece of visual art. 

The special effects are beautiful - linking every scene seamlessly, taking you on a fantastical journey from orchestra pit, up through bubbles and clouds, before finally landing back to earth with Brian Wilson at his piano. 

The huge achievement at bagging one A-lister after another - can you imagine the headaches involved in organizing the individual filming shoots with each of those artists - making sure they would cut neatly together?  Let alone the battle that must have raged behind the scenes in agreeing what line each was going to sing? 

And can I please shake the hand of the genius who thought of lighting standard lamps (as seen in many a living room, next to the TV) throughout the orchestra as it played it's rhythmical intro?  Superb.

A shame then that such an achievement seems to have attracted such vitriol.  On Facebook, some people have shown dismay that the budget used to make this piece could have been used to make many documentaries instead.  Yes, of course it could - but the money could also have been spent on taxis, management hob-nobbing, and flights to some fancy film festival somewhere.  Can the BBC never win?  At least the money spent is ending up on screen.  Isn't that the oft-heard cry from us producers and directors?

The Independent called it "a propaganda film, an autocratic regime sensing that its legitimacy is crumbling might produce."  Oh please - why don't we all just pack up and go home then?  If we go along with this argument, then for the BBC to survive, we have to believe all it can offer is failure after failure - until it dies a death of course. 

Well I don't know about you, but my glass is half full - and as long as I'm paying a license fee, I want the people who work for the BBC to have a half full glass too.  How can it be that a rare piece of creative success can be used as a stick to beat the BBC with?


Finally - let's not forget the song itself is also out there to raise money for Children in Need.  Just like Perfect Day from 1997, such a production can actually make a real difference to some very deserving people.  So let's cut back on the negativity, should it affect potential sales.

I for one hope it achieves the success it deserves.  So far so good.  At the time of writing, number 8 on the iTunes download chart, and almost 3 million views on YouTube.   I hope millions more see it, hear it, and buy it.  Not just to raise money for a worthwhile cause, but so we can all continue to marvel at what creative greatness the BBC can in fact achieve when it puts it's mind to it - even if it was created by an agency and not in-house.......but then that's a whole other discussion! 


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