Working on ''Eleventh Hour''

Creator of UK science-fiction series explains how science TV dramas can produce backstage dramas of their own

Stephen Gallagher
Jul 6, 2006
Here in the UK there's a template for science-based TV drama. It goes like this: a broadcaster fixes upon a hot issue of the day, assigns a writer to fashion a 'human drama' around it, and locates some qualified scientist to advise the production. The press office issues a release asserting that "this is science fact, not science fiction."Then about two weeks before the show goes out, the science advisor -- who maybe gave notes on the first-draft script and then saw nothing more of it until the cast-and-crew screening -- loudly and publicly withdraws from the entire enterprise. When it airs, any dramatic merit is far overshadowed by arguments over whether its "science fact" can stand up to inspection. The producers, who usually have no idea one way or the other, fall back on the argument that they were simply trying to "raise the issues for discussion."And...

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