Moving Wallpaper title card, which is styled to look like a word-processor
|Created by||Tony Jordan|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||2|
|No. of episodes||18|
|Running time||Approx. 22 minutes|
|Original network||ITV, STV, UTV|
|Original release||10 January 2008– March 2009|
|Related shows||Echo Beach (2008)|
Moving Wallpaper is a British satirical comedy-drama television series set in a TV production unit. It ran on ITV for two series in 2008–2009. The subject of the first series was the production of a soap called Echo Beach, each episode of which aired directly after the Moving Wallpaper episode about its production. The second series shifted to the production of a "zombie show" called Renaissance. Ben Miller confirmed in May 2009 on his Twitter account that no further series will be made.
The title, "Moving Wallpaper", is a disparaging term applied to uninspiring TV shows, or to television in general, referring to the perception that modern television viewers are "mindless absorbers of images", as if staring at wallpaper.
The show was created by Tony Jordan and produced by Kudos for ITV. Filming for series one started in July 2007 and the show began airing on ITV on 10 January 2008, continuing at 9 pm on Fridays thereafter for twelve weekly episodes. The "fictional" soap opera Echo Beach was itself shown immediately afterwards at 9.30 pm.
A six-episode second series of Moving Wallpaper was commissioned and began airing on ITV on 28 February 2009, again in the Friday 9 pm slot. The companion soap Echo Beach was cancelled, however, and the storylines of series two instead revolved around a "zombie show" called Renaissance. Unlike Echo Beach in series one, which was a full broadcast series, Renaissance was a half-hour pilot screened after the conclusion of the second series only on the ITV website, itv.com.
In Australia, season one of Moving Wallpaper aired back-to-back with Echo Beach on ABC2 each Friday at 8:30pm from 30 May 2008. Both programs were later repeated on the higher-rated ABC1 channel a year later from 6 May 2009 on Wednesday nights. Yet, this time, Echo Beach was separated from its sister program and placed in an early Saturday evening timeslot three days later. Season two premiered on ABC1 each Friday night at 10:15pm from 19 February 2010.
Moving Wallpaper storylines revolve around a crazed producer, Jonathan Pope (played by Ben Miller), trying to hold together an assortment of egotistic and neurotic writers and actors through the vicissitudes of Echo Beach production (series one), while simultaneously fighting off his bitchy boss.
Series one ended with the producer on the verge of learning whether a second series of Echo Beach had been commissioned. Series two picked up from this point with the news that the network had cancelled Echo Beach (mirroring the real-life circumstance). However, a clause in Pope's contract compels the network to allow him to make a pilot for a new show, which largely by accident turns out to be the "zombie show" Renaissance. After rejection by the network, Pope forces a website editor to upload the pilot to the itv.com website (again linking to the real-life circumstance).
|Ben Miller||Jonathan Pope (producer)||1–2|
|Sinead Keenan||Kelly Hawkins (PA)||1–2|
|Lucy Liemann||Samantha Phillips (script editor)||1–2|
|Elizabeth Berrington||Mel Debrou (cast liaison)||1–2|
|James Lance||Tom Warren (script writer)||1–2|
|Dave Lamb||Carl Morris (script writer)||1–2|
|Raquel Cassidy||Nancy Weeks (TV boss)||1–2|
|Sarah Hadland||Gillian McGovern (script writer)||1–2|
|Alan Dale||Himself playing John*||2|
|Kelly Brook||Herself playing Sam*||2|
|Susie Amy||Herself playing Angela**||1|
|Martine McCutcheon||Herself playing Susan**||1|
|Jason Donovan||Himself playing Daniel**||1|
|Hugo Speer||Himself playing Mark**||1|
* Characters in Renaissance
** Characters in Echo Beach
The first episode of series one of Moving Wallpaper attracted 5 million viewers on average with a 21% audience share, easily winning the timeslot. After that, the ratings dropped — halving to about 2.5 million towards the end of February.
Viewing figures fell again at the start of series two, with the first episode watched by 2.1 million viewers and the third attracting just 1.39 million, although it was up against Comic Relief on the BBC.
Media reviews for Moving Wallpaper were largely positive (though the series one companion show Echo Beach was received less favourably). The Telegraph's reviewer described Moving Wallpaper as "sharply written and cleverly characterised", and a review in The Times called it "joyously and uproariously funny". The Mirror was less enthusiastic, however, saying "Moving Wallpaper remains a laboured in-joke at its own expense", and celebrity website Hecklerspray agreed describing it as being "merely millimetres away from being the epitome of mediocre, easy watch television."
The episode of Moving Wallpaper broadcast on 20 March 2009, in which a transsexual script writer was made the butt of a series of jokes, was described by groups representing transgender people as transphobic and likely to encourage hate-crime and discrimination against transgender people. Ofcom, the UK broadcast media watchdog, received 100 complaints over the episode and launched an investigation to see if any broadcasting codes were breached. ITV and the programme were cleared by Ofcom in June 2009.
The complete first series was released on Region 2 DVD on 24 March 2008, combined with the Echo Beach series. It was also released separately.
- Formations, p. 175, Dan Fleming, Henry A. Giroux and Lawrence Grossberg, Manchester University Press, 2000
- Television - News - 'Beach' and 'Wallpaper' supporting cast confirmed - Digital Spy
- "Alan Dale joins Moving Wallpaper". BBC News. 2008-08-18. Retrieved 2008-08-18.
- "Alan Dale ('Moving Wallpaper', 'Renaissance')". DigitalSpy. 2009-02-23. Retrieved 2009-04-04.
- "ABC2 Programming Airdate: Moving Wallpaper & Echo Beach (episode one)". ABC Television Publicity. 24 September 2010.
- "ABC1 Programming Airdate: Moving Wallpaper (episode one)". ABC Television Publicity. 24 September 2010.
- "ABC1 Programming Airdate: Moving Wallpaper (episode thirteen, season two)". ABC Television Publicity. 24 September 2010.
- Parker, Robin (25 March 2009). "Moving Wallpaper takes zombie show to itv.com". Broadcastnow (Emap Media). Retrieved 26 March 2009.
- Conlan, Tara (11 January 2008). "Echo Beach resonates with viewers". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 13 May 2010.
- Holmwood, Leigh (25 February 2008). "Just 1.6m 'avin a laugh at Gervais show". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 13 May 2010.
- "Moving Wallpaper outstripped by Six Nations rugby", Guardian, 2 March 2009
- "Comic Relief peaks with 12.8 million", Digital Spy, 15 March 2009
- "Review: Margaret (BBC Two) - Moving Wallpaper (ITV1)", Telegraph, 2 March 2009
- "Friday's Top TV", The Times, 21 February 2009
- "Moving Wallpaper is a laboured in-joke at its own expense", Mirror, 28 February 2009
- "TV Review: Moving Wallpaper", Hecklerspray.com, 10 March 2009
- Parker, Robin (1 April 2009). "Moving Wallpaper in 'transphobia' row". Broadcastnow (Emap Media). Retrieved on 1 April 2009.