Now, I don’t claim to be the worlds greatest writer. In fact,if I were to rank myself against the most astounding writers in history, I’d place myself somewhere around 11th – 12th maybe, but that’s only because I’d want to include Douglas Adams twice, but I do understand what I’m writing.
OK, so what I’m writing is generally bollocks – OK, entirely bollocks – but you get what I’m saying: I understand my limitations and I know my subject.
So why do people who get paid to write for TV, insist on writing about things that they
a) Don’t understand
B) Haven’t bothered to research.
Things like Britain.
See, every American show that travels to Britain for an episode or two falls into the same traps and stumbles over the same things, and I would like to remedy that.
So, for the benefit of our Transatlantic cousins, here are my tips for improving American portrayals of Britain.
1. There are more than 2 universities in Britain.
Every American seems to be under the impression that every English person went to either Oxford or Cambridge. Watch any show and in their ‘British’ episode, the main characters will come across someone who went to one of them. Never have I witnessed the American ‘leads’ popping into Durham Uni to follow up on a case or the student union of Dundee Uni to question suspects. It’s always fucking Oxbridge.
2. There are more cities in Britain than just London.
Red double deckers, black cabs, tube stations, they’ll all be there because, you know, every city in Britain has them, don’t they?
3. Not every English guy is called Nigel.
For the love of fuck, how many times do we have to see the female ‘lead’ meet the bloke she used to date whilst at Cambridge and discover that he’s called fucking Nigel.
4. It is possible to hire a car that isn’t a mini.
Hmm, our characters are going to Britain. They’ll need a car. What shall we get them? A Mondeo? A Volvo, maybe? No, I know what’ll be a fucking hoot, let’s get them a Mini, then have the tall male character complain about tiny British cars. Hey, we could also make him an arrogant cock about driving on the left. Gold!!
5. Try some regional accents
Apparently, we Brits (and I loathe that word) have only 3 accents: Sarf London, Cockney or Hugh Grant. Now, I understand how difficult it must be for somewhere as culturally barren as America to even begin to fathom the prospect of different accents, but it would be nice if, just once, the British guest star was Cornish, or Welsh. I’d even settle for fucking Scouse if it meant changing the bloody format.
And finally, 6. We don’t all know the fucking Queen!!!
According to America, we all have some connection to royalty. I mean, obviously, Britain’s so small it only makes sense that we went to school with a royal or two. Hell, I was in Prince William’s rowing team at whichever of the two universities I went to, doncha know.
This list is not exhaustive. There are myriad things about the portrayal of Britain that fuckme off, but I just don’t have time to list them all.
Maybe I’ll come back to this later.