While we don’t necessarily agree with every single programming decision that the BBC has made over the years, we do deeply admire them for their bravery when it comes to the miniseries / TV movie format. They are completely unafraid to air short seasons of shows, and to invest money in stories that have a precise beginning, middle, and end. This is the sort of thing that would make CBS executives suffer a heart attack.
One of the latest examples of this is what the network is doing with “The Jamaica Inn,” an ambitious series for so many reasons. It is the first real series for Jessica Brown Findlay since leaving “Downton Abbey,” even if it is not designed to be something that will last for many weeks. It is dark, brooding, and could not be any more far away from what we saw from Lady Sybil.
But what is interesting about this show at the moment is something that you really do not want to be a headline: Sound issues. The first episode was so stuffed full of mumbling, the average viewer in Britain had a hard time understanding what most of the characters were saying. The BBC released a statement saying that the issue would be repaired for tonight’s episode, and it was. This allowed us to enjoy much more of the series, which Findlay gives an incredible performance in through all the elements and hardship. (Our opinion here is admittedly a minority; many viewers on Twitter have complained that regardless of sound levels, the series just isn’t any good.)
What we wonder now is whether or not most of the public stuck around to see it. Given that there are more TV options now in Britain than in years past, there may have been many frustrated viewers that chose to go somewhere else after sitting through Monday’s mumbling. Over 6 million viewers (a strong number) saw the premiere, and it will be interesting to see where the number for episode two lies tomorrow.
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Photo: BBC One