Some ordinary Joe
Tuesday, October 17, 2006 by Stuart Ian Burns
The Stage is reporting Kudos, the independent production company behind, Spooks, Hustle and Life On Mars has been commissioned by ITV1 to create a new drama.
Ordinary Joe is about: “life and the ramifications of decisions you make and what determines your destiny. It follows one man’s life in four different ways but each narrative takes place in the same timescale. It will use the same cast to tell the different stories. It explores to what extent you can shape your own future.”
Bizarrely this isn’t a completely new idea – it sounds very similar to range of films including Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Blind Chance (1987), Tom Tykwer’s Run Lola Run (1998) and the underrated 11:14 (2003) – oh and all right Sliding Doors (1998). But the genius of Kudos’ other work has been distilling a range of influences to create something that still feels fresh and new.
The real story here is probably that ITV1 are going out on a limb and actually commissioning something with such an experimental concept. It’s not clear from the description the extent to which the fantasy elements will lead the story, but the channel’s recent flirtations with genre have been mixed. The Eleventh Hour with Patrick Stewart and Ashley Jenson was dulled by bizarre directorial choices, imagery and a publicity campaign that tried to describe the series as speculative drama rather than science fiction (oh really, and the difference is?). After Life with Lesley Sharp and Andrew Lincoln is better and currently enjoying a second series.
The real trick for Ordinary Joe will be selecting the correct time slot – let’s just hope they don’t do something silly, like play it opposite Life On Mars as a spoiler…