Entertainment & Arts

New Tricks criticisms 'an insult'

New Tricks
Image caption The ninth series of New Tricks will begin on Monday 27 August

The Writers' Guild of Great Britain has hit back at criticisms made by the stars of BBC One drama New Tricks about the show's writers.

Actress Amanda Redman told the Radio Times the show was "more bland now" and the characters were not as "anarchic" as they used to be.

Co-stars Alun Armstrong and Dennis Waterman were reported to have agreed.

But the guild described the comments as "an insult to the writers who have made New Tricks a success for nine series".

General secretary Bernie Corbett said: "It is astonishing and deeply disappointing to hear this from rich and famous celebrities who owe their careers to the scripts they have interpreted, as much as to their own talents."

Waterman told the magazine: "We're always talking about history and some writers - not all of them - can go on and on, repeating themselves.

"You have to remind yourself that people aren't as stupid as writers think. But that's the way things are going in the industry. Basically, we all want to move to Copenhagen to get to do some extraordinary television."

Armstrong added: "We put a lot of time into making the scripts work.

"If we felt that a story didn't work, or that bits of the story could be improved, then - if the writer wasn't around - we would set about re-writing it ourselves."

Responding, Corbett said: "Waterman and his co-stars have had decades of success on the back of UK scriptwriters.

"We regret their imminent departure, but we wish them every success in the state of Denmark, and hope that if they find anything rotten they'll acknowledge their own responsibility for it."

One of the show's writers has also hit back at the comments.

'Zero' contribution

"A New Tricks I wrote and directed airs on Monday. I can tell you EXACTLY how much of it the actors wrote: not a comma," said Julian Simpson on Twitter.

"The following week, Sarah Pinborough's episode is on. I directed that too. Cast contribution to script? Big fat zero.

"I was going to be writing today, instead I'm just going to hand the actors a pad and pen. I wish I'd learned this 15 years ago," he added, before noting: "Worth saying that I get on phenomenally well with the New Tricks cast.

"Just don't appreciate actors speaking out of turn and they know that."

The first series of the popular police drama about cold cases was broadcast in 2004 and it is one of the BBC's most popular dramas.

The actors have just finished filming the ninth series, the first without James Bolam, who announced he was leaving last year.

The eighth series attracted the show's highest ever ratings, and a tenth is confirmed for 2013.

The show's writers were nominated for a Writers' Guild Award in 2007.

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