IS television run by “a lot of fools”?
That’s the view of Life On Mars star Philip Glenister, who thinks television is “screwed up”.
In an interview with today’s Radio Times he also described reality shows as “sadistic” and said EastEnders was “up its own ****”.
You could be forgiven for thinking that Glenister had sent his no-nonsense Manchester cop DCI Gene Hunt along for the chat.
But he has always held strong views about the industry he works in and one he has known since an early age.
His father John was a cameraman turned TV director and elder brother Robert – star of Hustle – went into acting before him.
I’ve interviewed Phil several times and he’s always good company, with a sharp sense of humour.
And he’s not afraid to speak his mind.
Before the start of the current series of Life On Mars he told me: “I’ve been doing more of the driving, actually, on this series, because, obviously, they slashed the budget, which is what happens at the BBC.
“You make a hit series and they cut your budget.”
It was something which rankled with all the main cast, along with the production team.
He told the Radio Times: “It seems the better the quality, the more you’re penalised.
“If we bring Life On Mars in on time and perhaps under budget, they say you can do it for less next time.
“It’s very frustrating when they want to hurry you up to save money. I tell them, ‘I didn’t sign up for The Bill. Let’s do it properly.’
“There are some very good people in television, but a lot of fools running it.”
Many will applaud his comments. But he may not have done himself any favours in certain quarters.
Some fellow actors will also have taken offence at his comments about soaps.
Talking about the dumbing down of TV, he said he was annoyed that every awards ceremony now has a special soap category.
“I don’t want to be a snob, but they only do it to satisfy market forces.
“Soaps are a separate industry, churned out on a treadmill with no time for any creative process.”
Thankfully, Mr G added: “I have a soft spot for Coronation Street, it doesn’t take itself too seriously.”
That’s just as well, because anyone who saw Sunday’s classic Corrie episode will know that Phil, like the Gene Genie, doesn’t always get it right.
Written by Jonathan Harvey, the two-hander involving mother and daughter Deirdre (Anne Kirkbride) and Tracy (Kate Ford) was TV drama of the very best kind.
And while some soaps may be guilty as charged, there’s nothing wrong with the current creative process at Coronation Street.
The Railway Arms