Why does nobody seem to praise the production designers?

TV, it’s a visual medium right? 

So when we get a new series the critics and the public talk about the cast, and sometimes about who wrote it, but on the whole not about the production designers. Which given that they’re the ones who make a program look as it does is just all wrong.. The 70s TV show ‘The Fall Guy’ used to have the tag line “I’m the unknown stuntman who makes Eastwood look so fine”. There are equally unknown art and design folks who do the same for tv programs.

Go on, think of a show you love…name the stars….name the script writer….now name the production designers. Hey I can’t do it either because by the time their names go by on the credits the writing is quite small and it’s going by fast. At least with the advent of the special edition DVD there is now a chance that there’s going to be a feature item on the production design so we not only get to see the people who make things look as they do but hear why. 

So this post is a shout out for the people who make our favourite programs look the way they do – so I’ll go for two of my favourites

Musketeers – BBC, 2014 – production designer Will Hughes-Jones

Okay, so I’m not convinced that 17th century France really looked like that, though it might have been close, but every moment is lovely to look at. The colour palette is always right and brings out the light, and the costumes and hair (by Phoebe de Gaye and Anne Oldham respectively) are to die for!  I love this program.

Bron | | Broen (The Bridge) – 2014 – production designer Søren Gam (info from IMDB)

So monochrome (apart from the very occasional splashes of colour which make you realise just how monochrome it is) and yet so visually absorbing, like a great monochrome photograph. And the Oresund Bridge itself is such an amazing structure when it appears curving away in the background of shots. The show is also a delight for all devotees of Scandinavian Interiors, and which of us do not look at the interiors of apartments in Scandinavian dramas and not want to head for our nearest branch of Ikea 🙂

So, let’s hear it for the production designers, art directors and costume designers who make good tv look so brilliant!