Not exactly Bodyguard

James Evelegh's editorial from today's edition of InPubWeekly.

By James Evelegh

Not exactly Bodyguard

Were you one of the 10.4 million glued to Bodyguard last Sunday? I was.

Are you also watching Press, BBC1’s new drama series, set in the newsrooms of two rival newspapers – The Post (thin disguise for The Sun) and The Herald (equally thin disguise for The Guardian)? Probably not, because I hear the viewing figures are rubbish, which is a shame.

There are some engaging characters, ethical dilemmas and story lines that are beginning to show promise, and lots of nice newsroom vignettes, perhaps wasted on the general public: 30-something Herald news editor Holly urging one of her juniors to “go there, talk to the people”, because you can’t do all this from behind a desk, Post rookie Ed lying to his mother about what he did (“novels, poetry, that sort of thing”) and struggling to keep his moral compass when faced with his news editor demanding, “I need something to pitch – anything”, Herald editor Amina bending over backwards to run her front page mega-story completely by the book, only to be pipped by Post editor Duncan, who, err … wasn’t. And last week’s episode ended with every newspaper editor’s absolute worst nightmare. I won’t spoil it.

That episode also included a pleasing raison d'être for newspapers. Herald editor Amina Chaudury is chatting to a taxi driver, who presumably is explaining to her why he no longer buys one:

Taxi driver: “It’s all on my phone – newsfeeds.”

Amina: “Newsfeeds narrow your world view. They work out what you like and then give you more of that. If you buy a newspaper, it’s better for you.”

Not particularly new, but beautifully put, I thought.

Press has had mixed reviews, and the approx. 3 million viewing figures don’t point to a second series. But I for one, am looking forward to episode 4 tonight.