Erik Thomson: “Drama was in their DNA”
When Dave Rafter laments the state of Australian drama...
Actor Erik Thomson took to social media following Seven’s Upfronts to lament the state of Australian drama, noting that just one new local drama has been commissioned for 2022: the 2 x 2hr Claremont.
On social media he wrote, “So the Seven Network has only one new first play drama for 2022: a four part True Crime series about the Claremont killer in WA. Fortunately, they have Home and Away for their drama points.
“But it really is remarkable how quickly their drama slate has declined. In my time there over 14 years and three series, I heard the various CEOs say that ‘Drama was in their DNA’. It seems that is no longer the case. Nine and 10 will fare similarly with only the ABC producing numerous high quality drama and comedy series. But the ABC as an entity is under constant threat.”
Thomson, who recently appeared in ABC comedy AfterTaste and the Seven-produced Back to the Rafters (for Amazon Prime Video) added to the call for local quota points on streaming services -something the Federal Government is still considering.
“There is hope that the big streamers will take up the slack, but unless a content quota is legislated, I get the feeling that their involvement will be shallow and piecemeal. We really need a bilateral political agenda to protect the Australian TV drama industry. Or we will be facing very lean times with crippling competition well into the foreseeable future,” he wrote.
In late 2020 the government introduced flexible local quota points, a complex system of 250 points which networks can amass via a mix of scripted, documentary or children’s content of their own choosing.
Last year when the government suspended quotas temporarily, Seven met the suspended Drama quota, but was dismally low in Children’s TV, 10 just missed the annual quota in Drama and fell short in Children’s TV while Nine was well short in both Drama and Children’s overall.
At their 2022 Upfronts Nine announced new dramas, Underbelly: Vanishing Act and jury drama After the Verdict. 10 unveils their slate next week.