I just watched yesterday the first episode of Press, a six-part British TV series that aired on BBC One between September 6th and October 11th 2018. It is written by playwright Michael Bartlett (Doctor Foster, King Charles III), directed by Tom Vaughan (Endeavour, Victoria) and starring Charlotte Riley (portrayed on the left), Ben Chaplin (World Without End), Priyanga Burford, Paapa Essiedu (The Miniaturist) and David Suchet (Agatha Christie’s Poirot). It is set in the world of newspapers in England, showing the work, life and career anxiety of the staff from two very different (and fictional) newspapers: The Herald and The Post. It’s apparently inspired by The Guardian and The Mirror, two newspapers with opposite journalistic philosophies: one is more of an investigative newspaper and the other more of a tabloid (or “Red Tops” as they say in the U.K.).
It is a very good TV series. The acting is excellent and it is quite well-written — it is not as good and clever as Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom (which was about the daily operation and trials of a cable news TV station) but it is still interesting and well worth watching (like most British TV series). Of course, despite the creator’s best efforts, the show was criticized for not portraying accurately the journalistic and editorial work, but all fiction need to take same artistic license to make the subject interesting. However, the writer of the series thought it was important to base the story on some real aspects of the journalists’ work (even if the details is sometimes wrong) in order to express the essence of journalism to the viewers. And I think it succeeded pretty well.
It’s a mini-series, so I have only five more episodes to watch… That’s what I like with British TV: it is usually short and sweet, all the goodness being concentrated in just a few episodes. No car chases or explosions with special effects, but just excellent writing and storytelling. That’s all a good show needs.
Press will air in North America on PBS’ Masterpiece following the UK broadcast, probably in early 2019. I recommend that you watch it if you can…
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