BBC drama Press leaves actual journalists unimpressed

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Photo credit: BBC/Lookout Point
Photo credit: BBC/Lookout Point

From Digital Spy

Newspaper drama Press premiered on BBC One tonight (September 6) and, as usual for a new series, journalists had a lot to say about it.

But this time, it was because it was about them.

From Doctor Foster creator Mike Bartlett, Press follows the fortunes of journalists working at two fictional rival papers - one a left-leaning broadsheet, the other a sensationalist, scoop-obsessed tabloid.

But by the end of the episode, the only thing separating the Herald from the Post was their lack of accuracy - that's according to real-life hacks on Twitter, anyway.

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Kate Bevan, freelance writer, wrote: "In what parallel universe would a government minister come in to a newspaper office to argue with an editor?"

Meanwhile, Janine Gibson, editor-in-chief at Buzzfeed UK, took issue with one particular scene's accuracy: "'Have you seen James?' 'Why?' 'I had a call from MI5 reminding me of the official secrets act, can you check what he's up to?'... is not quite how that conversation goes, trust me."

Photo credit: BBC/Lookout Point
Photo credit: BBC/Lookout Point

"In order to make #Press digestible for the public @BBCone has clearly chosen to ignore reality & make journalists look like slick, highly paid bankers from c.1986," commented one disgruntled blogger.

"Markedly less realistic than Star Trek at this point #press," added the The Mirror's Michael Moran.

Of course, not all the criticism was serious and some journos took the opportunity to poke fun at their industry.

"Already looking forward to episode 2 of #press when all the characters get made redundant in a newsroom cull and start a career in PR," joked one freelance sub-editor.

"Very confused that no one has yet got a phone call 'just checking if you've seen the press release' #Press" added Jacob Aaron, deputy news editor at New Scientist.

Think you had a bad first day at your current job? Wait 'til you hear Angling Times' Thom Airs story…

"I got the wrong house on my first death knock, he gets a national exclusive," he said.

Social media editor Kat Brown was quick to point out an office inaccuracy: "I'm hugely enjoying #Press but I have yet to see a single giant Sports Direct mug in either newsroom."

And of course, before journalists get ahead of themselves, perhaps we should let TV personality Richard Osman put things into perspective.

"Before too many journalists bemoan television getting newspapers wrong in #Press," he began.

"Just remember newspapers have been getting television wrong for years. This is just payback."


Press continues next Thursday (September 13) at 9pm on BBC One.

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