State Of Play

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Former BBC TV series starring John Simm as an investigative journalist and David Morrissey as a politician trying to make a difference, that became a Hollywood movie starring Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck in those respective roles. It was one of the few pieces of television that Mark Kermode had seen prior to his discovery of the medium in the early years of the 21st Century, as he had been asked to review it by the Observer in 2003 as part of a series of pieces asking if TV was now better than films. (For context, 2003 was the year of Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl).

The appearance of a schlubby Crowe once again prompted discussion of how when he plays fat, he is taking the work seriously. Mark was hurt by a review in the free Metro newspaper that described it as being like "all those Gene Hackman movies that your dad likes," given that The French Connection is one of his favourite films of all time.

David Morrissey happened to be a guest on the show the week after the film came out and so contributed his opinion during the UK Box Office Top 10 countdown. Morrissey heartbreakingly revealed he had not been able to bring himself to watch it, describing it as being "like going to the wedding of an ex-girlfriend you're still in love with."

While the original TV series was noted for actually making some effort to portray how journalism actually works, the film is laughably wide of the mark, with a massive emphasis on the need to hold the presses and input copy directly onto the front page, rather than, say, just publishing the story online.