Print this page

Why Britain Can't Do the Wire Featured

21 November 2009 Written by   Published in Culture and Arts


The critically acclaimed US television drama could not be made here. We have writing talent in abundance, but its output is controlled by a stifling monopoly—the BBC. Plus, an interview with The Wire's creator David Simon

Read Prospect’s interview with The Wire’s creator David Simon, in which he explains why writing is a team sport in the US

It’s been a slow burning fuse. From its first broadcast on the US pay-TV channel HBO in 2002, it took seven years for The Wire to accumulate widespread critical recognition in Britain. And it has grown into something bigger than an artistic success. Like a great Victorian novel, David Simon’s epic portrait of the policing, crime and politics of post-industrial Baltimore is now cited by politicians and leader writers. But the success of this show and a raft of other imports such as The West Wing and Mad Men begs a question about the state of one of our key cultural industries. How come US television drama has captured the high end of the market and we have abandoned it?

Login to post comments