ITV's new television series Jekyll & Hyde has received 280 complaints to ITV and 212 to WatchDog (BBC) as a result of its pre-watershed timeslot of 6:30pm.
The first episode aired last Sunday 25th October, at the strange time of 6:30pm. Based on Robert Louis Stevenson's novella: Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, its synopsis from the words of IMDb:
"Dr. Henry Jekyll believes that there are two distinct sides to men - a good and an evil side. He believes that by separating the two man can become liberated. He succeeds in his experiments with chemicals to accomplish this and transforms into Hyde to commit horrendous crimes. When he discontinues use of the drug it is already too late..."
Looking at the TV Guide this Saturday I saw that Jekyll and Hyde was beginning Sunday at 6:30pm. reading this my immediate thought was "Great. It's not going to be scary at all." As 9pm and after is the time slot for more adult themed shows. However after watching it, much to my delight, it was dark and slightly sinister. Tom Bateman delivers the role of Dr Jekyll and Hyde wonderfully, although it seems their only physical distinction between the transformation into Hyde is the use of eyeliner. Weird.
Of course I should have expected this, from all those parents out there that limit their children's viewing and enables restrictions. It's their right to do so, I commend them for that. For the pure fact that the show is on at what I would classify as family/dinner time, its not exactly the ideal time slot for the type of genre and direction it's wanting to go in. I personally think it was poorly planned, and perhaps desired a different time slot all together, but with ITV's X Factor seemingly taking over evenings on the weekend, it was going to be hard to place it in its ideal time slot. Parents complained saying it was "Too Scary" Also, Julie Mayer said it was "not for the eyes of young children", while another viewer called it "too violent and scary when young children are still up".
Agreed. It's not for children, and I can definitely see how they might have gotten frightened from that episode. (There was a half-man, half-dog type creature screeching of impending doom, which was visually disturbing to watch, even for me.) However, there are hundreds of other TV Channels in England, as this parent pointed out: John Amaechi wrote: "Loved it. Should be post-watershed, but amazed by parents outraged that their children saw it. CHANGE. THE. CHANNEL."
So what will ITV do about this issue? Nothing. According to The Guardian, ITV has refused to bow to pressure to move its teatime drama Jekyll and Hyde to a later slot after the watershed, despite complaints. I personally think this is a mistake, but with X Factor taking up the evening time slot of roughly 8pm-10pm, its hard to position it in its right slot which I would assume would be 9pm. Every good producer knows the high time of TV interaction in family homes, with 6:30pm being family time. Perhaps if they moved it to 7pm it wouldn't be so bad. Furthermore, like I experienced, looking at the time slot it was set, it might actually discourage teen, young adult, adult viewers to watch it, because they might think it wont be as scary as it could possibly be if it were set at a later time.
What do you think? Is ITV right for refusing to budge against complaints, or should they face the music and change it to watershed hours?
To me, this could just get a whole lot worse for ITV which will ultimately end up damaging the reputation of the show. With 500 complaints and counting as a result of one episode, you could only imagine how much that will increase as of next weeks episode. The wise thing to do would be to reschedule it at a more reasonable hour, or even another day.
Here's the trailer: