Question of the week: why does ITV make so many crime dramas?

Have a look through the ITV schedules. Now I won’t make this easy for you by suggesting you look at ITV3’s schedules, where just tonight you can find Heartbeat, Murder She Wrote, Wycliffe, Taggart, Inspector Wexford, Numb3rs and The Blackheath Poisonings.

But take a look at ITV1’s schedules and see how many crime programmes you can spot. Possibly not many at the moment, with just Scott and Bailey on Mondays, but have a look at the number of dramas that ITV is currently airing in primetime and you’ll find that roughly 50% are crime dramas. Then have a think back at all the recent ITV1 dramas – Above Suspicion, Marple, Poirot, DCI Banks, Endeavour, Eternal Law, The Jury, Kidnap and Ransom, Law & Order: UK, Marchlands, Midsomer Murders, Vera, Whitechapel – and you’ll notice that pretty much all of ITV’s drama output, with a few Julian Fellowes-scripted exceptions, are crime dramas.

This week’s question is therefore:


Are ITV crime dramas really so good? Do ITV viewers want to watch nothing else but crime dramas? Do you watch ITV crime dramas? And can ITV really not make any other kind of drama?

Answers below or on your own blog, please


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.