Entertainment

The Newsreader BBC2 Review This Subversive Australian Drama Is A Gem

The broadcast news show given new life and Anna Torv excels in this funny yet playful story set in an ’80s setting

The Newsreader – an Australian production acquired by the BBC

With its distinctively heady mix of exaggerated egos, ratings wars, wild tonal swings and the relentlessly dangerous tightrope of live television productions, the heightened world of broadcast news has long been a rich source material for dramatization and dark comedy. The gamut. Runs from The Newsroom and The Morning Show to Anchorman and Underrated Great News. The Newsreader – an Australian production acquired by the BBC – probably sits closest to Abi Morgan’s The Hour which excels in a period setting.

Launches in the luxurious beige newsroom of the News at Six Bulletin

The six-part series begins in January 1986 in the luxurious beige newsroom of the News at Six Bulletin, presented by veteran Geoff Walters (Robert Taylor) and rising star Helen Norville (Anna Torv) and presided over by news director Lindsay Cunningham. had done. (William) did. McInnes), a really terrible boss. But our way into this world is through the eyes of aspiring young reporter Dale Jennings (Sam Reid), a man with the immense enthusiasm (and hair) of a golden retriever.

Cross-Eyed Single Mothers and Aids and Christ Knows What Else

Desperate to become a real newsreader, Dale is taking lessons from a voice coach and spends his evenings practicing at home. His lucky break seems to have come when Lindsay sacked Helen for attempting to take Helen more seriously by presenting a special bulletin that – in Lindsay’s words – “Cross-Eyed Single Mothers and AIDS and Christ Knows What Els”. But when Dale finds Helen unconscious after an accidental overdose, an unlikely bond is established between them.

Homophobia, office politics and war ambitions

While some of the topics are new – rampant sexism, casual racism, flippant homophobia, office politics and war ambitions – the newsreader gently and charmingly breaks down some of the stereotypes. Where Dale may be off to an unpleasant start, he is kind and eager to learn. Where Helen can be flamboyant with self-preservation, she is passionate and principled but more delicate than before.

Her performance in episode two

In a strong ensemble cast, both leads are excellent: while Reid has a lovely knack for rabbit-in-the-headlights comic timing, Torv is powerfully nuanced as Helen. His performance in episode two, when he desperately tries to hold back tears and hold it together during a live bulletin, is particularly heartwarming.

After real life events

The time period is cleverly chosen for the turbulent news agenda. While later episodes covered the case of Halley’s Comet and Lindy Chamberlain (wrongfully convicted for the murder of her daughter, who was later attacked by a dingo), the first episode an encouraging sequence. was. Joe sees Helen triumphantly returning to Challenger Studios to present rolling coverage of the spacecraft disaster. His professionalism and emotional connection with his audience is in stark contrast to Dale’s toe-curling first attempt at delivering a bulletin single.

Remembering the soundtrack, big hair and even bigger lapels

While some elements of the plot are a bit soapy, such as the bitter plot of Geoff and his wife, the broadcast news set-up lends itself to melodrama with all its frantic activity from the camera to make sure everything shines on screen. . Made and polished while making variety-aware casting choices, recalling its era-appropriate soundtrack, big hair, and even big lapels, GLOW leans into the show’s ’80s setting the way it does. , talks about him. reminds me of.

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