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Last Updated: Friday, 16 January, 2004, 14:28 GMT
Alan Clark Diaries: Your views
Hurt stars as the incorrigible Clark
The Alan Clark Diaries on BBC Four is one of the most talked about programmes ever made for one of the corporation's digital channels.

Acclaimed actor John Hurt plays the irrepressible former Tory minister in the six-part series, which started on Thursday.

Clark, who died in 1999, was one of the most colourful politicians of the last 20 years, and was as famous for his eccentricity as he was for his womanising.

But what did you make of the BBC adaptation of his diaries? Was it a fair portrayal of the politician or caricature?

Is the BBC right to be showing the series first on one of its digital channels?

This debate is now closed but you can see a selection of your comments below.

Superb. Hurt was spot on and Julia Davis was brilliant. Very funny indeed. I have to agree with other posters that 30 mins was far to short. Could easily have stood being an hour. And for all those who haven't got access to digital's time to move into the 21st century. Chop chop.
Mark Williamson, Glasgow

To Sandy, UK and others. Unfortunately a lot of areas in Scotland are not in the coverage for digital television, inlcuding East Lothian, so unless one wants an unsightly satellite dish there is no way to watch digital television. So don't brand us as moaners when there is little to be done about it until digital signals are improved. I would love to be able to see this programme as I think John Hurt is an excellent actor so hopefully it will be shown on 'normal' television in the very near future.
Hilary, Scotland

I have to admit that I've become something of a BBC Four addict. Unfortunately, so have my grandfather and two aunts - there's a lot of video swapping going on.
James Boulter, UK

Like the series very much, John Hurt is perfect for the part. I would like to know if anyone can help - the name of the piece of music which is played on the trailers. I believe it is something to do with shepherds/sheep?
Martin Nichols, Lincoln

Please, please, please!!!!! Show this on BBC2..I can't get ditigal TV here in the Netherlands, and it does seem bizarre to relegate this to channels that no one watches....mmm....
Suz, Netherlands

Most of the people commenting on the programme have seen it on digital, and are already converted to the cause. But the others...

For goodness' sake! It's not as if the show is never going to be on terrestrial BBC! All they're doing is giving digital viewers a preview. No-one's forcing you to buy digital. The choice is yours - if you simply HAVE to be the first person to watch something, then pay extra for the privilege and get digital, but if you simply want to enjoy good programmes - what does it matter whether anyone's seen them before you or not?

I thoroughly enjoyed the Alan Clark diaries - I couldn't quite believe they weren't extra scenes from Yes Minister! (which I also watch on digital).
Helen, Bristol, UK

Loved it. Witty and tight. Nice to see spent on actors and scripts rather than camerawork and snazzy music.
Daniel Hall, London, UK

Excellent. The acting by the main cast is perfect, and the show does seem to capture more of the dreary reality of political life than other shows. However it is clear that the BBC has been skimping on parts of the production budget, and an extra 15 minutes would have been nice.

Loved it. Witty and tight. Nice to see money spent on actors and scripts rather than camerawork and snazzy music.
Daniel Hall, London, UK

The first episode was great. Uniquely, it made a career in politics seem duller, more chaotic and less fun than we humble plebs usually imagine it. I suspect this view brings us closer to the reality. John Hurt was his usual brilliant self: unfortunately he doesn't convey Clark's roguish cheek and dash, but so what, he's hilarious at the gaping incompetence. I can completely understand why the BBC is airing the programme on BBC Four first: it rightly wants to attract more people to that excellent channel and to digital in general. Terrestrial viewers should stop whingeing and go and buy a Freeview box today. I'm really glad I did.
G. Noon, London, UK

This is the first time I've ever watched BBC Four - as a draw to get people to watch the channel it seems like a good idea. Very funny - like the diaries themselves.
Pete, London

For those who are complaining about the fact it was on digital..grow up !!! Are these the same people who complained about vinyl when CD came out? Digital is new technology, you pay extra on the licence fee for it already and you can get a freeview box for 50. The BBC are right to try and encourage viewers to digital by showing such top quality entertainment there first. More power to you !!
Sandy, UK

Absolutely amazing! Funny and light-hearted but intelligent, overall a brilliant watch, can't wait for the next episode. Hopefully it will be out on DVD.
Leon, UK

Brilliant. A bit on the short side at 30 mins but I can't wait till the next episode.
Brian, glasgow

I tuned into BBC Four last night at 8.30pm and i couldn't tear myself away from the screen until 11.30. Both the play on the Falklands and Alan Clark were outstanding. I think its good that BBC Four are first airing these programmes, it needs as much recognition as it can get. John Hurt was outstanding.
Andrew Morgan, London

Outstanding entertainment! Another BBC success. John Hurt playing Alan Clark really shows up the establishment for what it is,and with such aplomb. How did he get away with it for so long? Bravo BBC Four
Bruce Kennedy, south Wales

Excellent, I really enjoyed it. In fact I thought 30 minutes was too short. Well done for putting it on digital television as well, I see no reason why BBC Four and BBC Three should be the second eleven to BBC One and Two. People should join the digital revolution!
Andrew Moffat, Poole

John Hurt is excellent. The programme reminds you of times when MPs were characters and had an edge - for good or bad. Well done BBC, this sort of programme would never be made by ITV.
Ian Croft, Bristol

The future of ditigal television relies on people having a reason to watch new channels. This inevitably means forcing people into investing in new equipment... This can either be done by first airing new, "must see" programmes on the unwatched digital channels, or by forcing viewers off the mainstream channels (they are currently satisfied with!) by making them unwatchable to all but the biggest fragment of the overall audience... If the BBC had decided to stick with producing only two very high quality TV stations their audience share would almost inevitably shrink to a tiny level over the next few years, because of competition from multiple niche-channel providers such as Sky. Under these fragmenting circumstances the defence of quality over ratings, and the licence fee, would quickly become even harder than it already is... We are therefore seeing the consequences of the decision for the BBC to adapt to competition by following the specialist, multiple channel route, rather than the generalist's slow path to extinction... and we can expect more of the same!
Matt Prescott, Oxford, UK

A very entertaining and interesting programme - gave an insight into the bureaucracy and inner workings of parliament and the civil service. I think it is fine to show it on BBC Four. Get with the times - everyone should have digital TV by now! Just because a few people want to cling on to old technology doesn't mean that the rest of us should be held back.
Pete, Swindon, UK

Disappointing, cartoon-ish. No charcterisation. I know Christmas has just gone , but the BBC putting this pantomime on masquerading as drama makes me look closely at the trades descriptions act.
Barry Lowry, London UK

I wish the BBC had shown it on analogue television then I could send in my views. Can't get digital where I live and don't see why I should be forced to buy it. I realise it will be released on BBC One in the Spring but it's not fair I should have to wait. I contributed to it by paying my licence fee. However, the trailers look good and as I listen to Radio 4 more than I watch television I am resigned to waiting a little longer
J Turner, England

Julia Davis' performance as Alan Clark's vindictively officious secretary was superb. If I didn't have access to Freeview though, I would be heartily hacked-off that the BBC had decided to show it first on BBC Four. The BBC's primary concern is to provide for the needs of its licence holders. How this is served by penalising them for not having digital television is beyond me. Isn't this de facto pay-for-view? I've invested in a terrestrial licence and a Freeview box; therefore, I earn the right to see the programme before you. Very dodgy.
Francis, London, UK

Flat, boring, and uninteresting. Very disappointing.
John, London

Hilarious! But far too short at 30 minutes... and what on earth is this on BBC Four for? Surely this has BBC Two written all over it. It seems odd to relegate it to a channel that hardly anyone can watch!
Jack, UK

Hurt attacks 'ludicrous' budgets
10 Dec 03  |  TV and Radio
BBC digital TV is 'coming of age'
15 Jan 04  |  TV and Radio
The Alan Clark I knew
14 Jan 04  |  Magazine



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