Penelope Keith: The English language is in decline


After reading the recent comments of the great Penelope Keith, I feel that it is my obligation to be as brief as humanly possible with respect to today’s post. To be fair, Ms. Keith is referencing modern-day Britain. That said, I still feel it necessary to be brief so as to not add to any potential world-wide decline, although, as I expected, the U.S. is already way ahead in this race as we speak.

In true Margo Ledbetter and Audrey fforbes-Hamilton fashion, the iconic British stage and television star expressed her frustration over the poor use of the English language as a result of the increased ‘Americanisation’ (I hope that’s a word) of proper English. Citing the on-coming freight train of social networks such as facebook and Twitter as reasons for the accelerated decline in both the written and spoken word, there’s also some very clear feelings about the demise of quality television as we know it. Gone are the melding of quality drama and comedy that was so prevalent in both of her classic series, The Good Life and To the Manor Born.

In this respect, this is not the first time we’ve heard this. Many, if not all, of our interviews for the upcoming Behind the Britcom special for PBS in March 2011 expressed the same feelings. Television, today, is more of a balance-sheet decision as opposed to giving good comedy or drama a chance to grow, or even fail. Actors and actresses learned their craft in the theatre at places like the Royal Shakespeare Company or the Old Vic. While there may have been frustration with the state of television as we know it, there was also a clear feeling that quality still exists from a writing and acting standpoint, you just have to search a little harder these days to find it.