I haven’t been watching ‘The Hour’, the Beeb’s recent 1950s drama, set in a current affairs show (it looked like my kind of thing, to be honest, but I was never around. Busy, busy…!).
Anyway*, I was interested to see that the writer, Abi Morgan has been criticised in the press for using anachronisms in the script (phrases like ‘bottled out’ and ‘note to self’ – which just weren’t around in that era).
In her response to The Independent she holds her hands up to the accusation but excuses herself with, “But I’m a dramatist. I elaborate. I imagine.”
What do you think about that? I think … well, a word that any polite blog shouldn’t contain. Perhaps I’m a pedant (or just jealous. ‘Abi Morgan’ sounds very young.. what is she doing writing dramas for the BBC?!) but anything like that which jars and pulls me out of the story, irritates me at best and makes me switch for the ‘off’ button/close the book, at worst. They did it in the ‘80s TV series ‘Ashes To Ashes’ when the characters said things like ‘Oh, get a room!’ (I was around in the ‘80s and believe me, we did not say, ‘Get a room!’).
As writers, if we’re setting something in the past, it’s our job to get the facts right. And that, as far as I’m concerned, includes the dialogue.
*on the subject of dialogue, my friend told me last night that ‘anyway’ is my favourite word! Apparently I use it all the time and here I am, using it in my blog!! Note to self: STOP!