Went to a talk last night in Birmingham. The two guest speakers were Tony Garnett and Hilary Salmon, both top TV producers. I worked with both of them in the 90s.
It was great to see them both again, and really nice to chat with them briefly afterwards. But it felt rather odd. See, I've been out of TV for nearly ten years now, because - well, basically, because it just wasn't worth it. I'd learnt at the feet of the masters, and now a bunch of minnows had taken over and were screwing up everything in sight. I couldn't afford to carry on writing for television, not if I wanted to retain my last remaining shred of sanity.
At the same time, it was odd to think that I had worked with some of the best, and had really learnt my craft. And that, for the whole of the noughties, all that know-how was redundant. Even thinking about working in British TV was a waste of my time.
Could things be changing? Is it possible that, with big cuts coming to all sectors (the BBC included), we can get rid of the thousands of spin-doctors, marketing wonks and unnecessary 'executives' who have been cluttering up the BBC for years, getting in the way and preventing the creatives from making good programmes?
I'm almost daring to hope so. Of course, I still want to carry on with my books; I've done far too much research and development on them to let all that go to waste.
But I would be happy to go back to TV, if I could bypass all the bullshit and just work with a first-class producer on a real good project.
After all, at one point I had a four-part series with the BBC, who were eager to discuss a potential second series and would I be interested in a screenplay adaptation as well? Then somebody new came along and I've never worked for the Beeb since. Maybe it's time to venture back - just dip my toe in the waters - listen out for the approaching-shark music - see how we go.
Meanwhile, I've stared into the hole in the ground where Shakespeare's house was (you can see the cellar walls now) and may well be helping to enlarge it before too long. That should help me keep my feet on the ground (or even under it) while thoughts of TV drama begin to distract me.