Stephen Fry: "British television is infantile"


Blistering? Maybe. Accurate? Definitely.

For a brief moment in time, the brilliant Stephen Fry abandoned Twitter during the Annual TV Lecture at the BAFTA’s and set his sights on the British television industry. Targeting the BBC, but with a message that could be Stephen Fry thoughts on the television industryapplicable to all of broadcast television, Fry fired off the belief that “Infantilism is the problem. It’s just shocking. The only dramas the BBC will shout about are Doctor Who and Merlin. They are wonderful programmes, don’t get me wrong, but they are not for adults“.

Fry went on to say “It’s children’s TV. I’m not saying TV should be pompous and academic, but it should surprise and astonish and say there’s a world outside we know nothing of“. And, finally, brilliantly put….“The more TV trusts that British adults are not children, the better our TV will be”.

His assessment of Doctor Who may be a bit harsh as I think of this as more of a family show than a children’s show, but I have to say, I couldn’t agree more with his overall comments.

Fry, well-known as host of QI and who’s television credits include BlackadderBit of Fry and Laurie (with longtime friend, Hugh Laurie) and the great British comedy, Absolute Power, suffers a bit from ‘the good old days syndrome’ when thinking back on what television once was, but isn’t off at all as to what it could, and should be.

Anyone have thoughts on the state of television today?

p.s. Here’s the official BAFTA definition of the Annual TV Lecture. Stephen Fry’s lecture will be available on the BAFTA website as of Thursday, 17 June.

The Annual TV Lecture:

The Annual Lecture is the highlight of BAFTA’s public programme of TV events. Each year, we invite one of television’s foremost figures to give their personal view on the creative terrain of the medium and their vision for the industry. With the ever-changing landscape of the TV industry putting continual pressure on its output, programme-makers need to provide innovative solutions and the UK is arguably at the forefront of this innovation. This lecture is an opportunity to explore and champion some of the creative excellence alive in our industry today.

  • I can understand what he means, but British television is still better than most US television.

  • Johan Lichtenstein

    He should come and take a look at the tele in the United States. Hundreds of channels of infatilism.