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Dyke blast for Morse star Thaw.

BEEB boss Greg Dyke has blasted telly producers who rely on big name regulars and former soap stars to boost ratings.

The outspoken BBC Director General singled out Inspector Morse veteran John Thaw - and argued that shows should feature new talent instead.

Speaking of Thaw, one of Britain best-loved actors, Dyke said: 'We all remember A Year in Provence. It started with 14 million viewers and a week later it had two million.'

The BBC chief's comments, made at the Guardian Edinburgh International TV Festival, fly in the face of Thaw's popularity. The actor has won many viewer polls.

Stars like former EastEnders hard man Ross Kemp have been signed up for a range of ITV dramas, while his former soap colleague Michelle Collins has appeared in shows on both ITV and the BBC.

Dyke pointed out the difficulties of developing brand new dramas from scratch, adding that ITV's Controller of Network Drama Nick Elliott had told him only one in five dramas succeeded.

'There's no set formula that works,' said Mr Dyke. 'What I do see is the pressure to push on to drama and comedy a star of a soap because they are recognisable. That's not what good drama is all about.

'The production of television is about money and talent,' he added.

Mr Dyke also warned about relying on tried and trusted programme types like docusoaps, which have proliferated.

'When Driving School began, it was innovative,' he said: 'Within four years television killed the genre. The same thing is happening with makeover shows.'

Entertainment and new drama will be among the range of programmes to fill the slot vacated by the Nine O'Clock News when it moves to 10pm on BBC1.

Is Inspector Morse star John Thaw a has-been? Write to Telly Debate, Sunday Mercury, Colmore Circus, Birmingham B4 6AX or send your e-mails to
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Aug 27, 2000
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