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Monday 14 May 2012

The Silence of the Witness

A shout-out to David Richards and the crew who today begin shooting on my two-part Silent Witness story for series 16. It'll air next year.

I was told, "Don't be afraid to make it your own," and I've taken them at their word. It can be tricky, making a contribution to an established and long-running show; it's not your setup and they're not your characters, but you still have to bring your best game. Many of SW's writers seem to be regulars and it can be hard not to feel like some kind of an intruder.

One of the best things about the work has been the access to the top-level consultants and experts that the show has on standby, all of whom are alert to ways to enhance and advance the narrative. They don't just see it as their role to shoot down science flaws. Some viewers will recognise something of an Eleventh Hour vibe in my episode. Which will hardly be a coincidence.

So while we're at it, another shout-out for the people at Planet Hood, unshakeable in their drive to see a return of that show to US TV in some form. My stance all along has been supportive (well, obviously) while my energies have been directed, as they must be, into keeping up a working profile in a fast-moving business.

My feeling from the start has been that if Eleventh Hour should ever return, its optimum form would be that of CBS's one-off Jesse Stone TV movies. It's a form that could work rather well, I reckon, and it wouldn't be impossible to set up. I still have good relations with the Bruckheimer team - a couple of seasons ago we developed another show together, for a pilot that didn't get picked up. The next season I developed a non-Bruckheimer pilot for Fox while writing another for NBCU. I completed my coverage of the networks by working for ABC and this season I've a show that I'm pitching to cable. So if there's ever an opening for a rebooted version of a cancelled show, I'm in a position to chase it; what I can't do, alas, is force one.

But that's the game. As Lynda Obst wrote in her excellent Hollywood memoir Hello, He Lied, it's a business in which you have to ride the horse in the direction it's going. In other words, pursue what you want to achieve through the opportunities that you get.