Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A lot of smoke and hot air

On March 26th, the smoking ban in public places came into force in Scotland. Since film and theatre sets are 'public places' then actors will probably have to use artificial cigarettes.

South of the border, this generated a blip of inaccurate press coverage that any films or TV programmes in Scotland had been banned from depicting smoking.

I'm glad there isn't a ban on the depiction of smoking in films and TV, but it's a sufficiently credible prospect that expect an announcement from the government soon. There are lots of anti-social things that people do - swearing, binge drinking, committing crime, behaving aggressively, smoking... but programmes and films are to some extent a depiction of reality. It would be very difficult to make a grittily realistic drama about life in a rundown area of Glasgow if all the characters were required to slump against lampposts in the rain... actually, scrub that, slumping against lampposts in the dark would make them anti-social and intimidating. Let's have them vigorously tending to old ladies gardens on a sunny Saturday afternoon, going: "Anyone got an organic smoothie with added vitamins? Jolly botheration - I've left mine at home"

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