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TV first as ‘last time’ and ‘next time’ fill entire episode

much better than the other advertsTelevision history was made last night when the middle episode of a three-part drama contained no new footage at all, but consisted entirely of a summary of the story from the first episode and some pointers as to what would happen in the last.

The latest three-episode story opened a new series of the popular drama Silent But Deadly, which features maverick cop DI Rebecca Long, a mature single woman with a chaotic love life, and rugged, brooding, flatulent forensic pathologist Dave Strahan.

Producer Kurt Angstrom explained: ‘We find most viewers have no idea what is going on when watching crime thrillers, but they love the music, the atmosphere, the knitwear and the unconsummated sexual tension. Well, unconsummated except by Rebecca, I should say.’

With a detailed recap of what happened last time, he added, many viewers start to understand the plot and get much more out of it. ‘Similarly, a full preview of the next episode makes it feel nice and familiar when they get to it and enables them to make sense of closing plot twists that would otherwise leave them frustrated.’

Angstrom said that people in a hurry could just watch the middle episode, while others could skip it entirely and watch something interesting instead without missing a thing. However, he denied claims that audiences were being cheated by getting only two hours of drama instead of three.

‘Actually, the second half of the first episode is a preview of the second episode, while the first half of the third is a condensed recap of the first two, so basically we only have to provide one hour of drama,’ Angstrom said. ‘With the title sequence, credits and adverts, we reckon on getting it down to 45 minutes of original material for three episodes – less if we insert flashback sequences from previous series.’

Julian Fellowes has been studying Angstrom’s techniques. He is hoping to take them a step further with the next series of Downton Abbey, which will cover ten years of family history and will be shot in a single afternoon.

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Posted: Feb 8th, 2013 by Des Custard

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