Sunday Review: "The Newsreader"
Back to the 1980's for another newsroom series.
There has been a number of series set in TV newsrooms over the years. In recent times this has included "The Newsroom" from Aaron Sorkin and "The Morning Show" starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon on Apple TV+. In both cases, those shows have critiqued and criticised the modern media environment. "The Newsreader", however, takes viewers back to the dark ages...1986.
Available on BBC iPlayer in the UK, the show is set in an Australian news network and follows the team putting together the 6PM bulletin and related updates. We see the full gamut of sexism, racism and homophobia at play in just the first two of the six episodes. Those episodes predominantly deal with the Challenger space shuttle disaster and its fallout. In keeping with the celestial theme, there is also coverage of the once-in-a-lifetime appearance of Halley's Comet. Stepping back in time does not mean viewers are spared the typical lofty assertions about what the news should be, although these are somewhat less grandiose than in those aforementioned series.
In the news team at the heart of the story is Helen (Anna Torv), a talented, young, female newsreader. She is degraded by her male counterparts, but there is also clearly quite a lot else going on as we see her anger, outbursts and breakdown. There is also senior reporter Dale (Sam Reid), who ends up by her side as the two become something of a double act. He even unwittingly rescues her from an increasingly sinister encounter with boss Lindsay (William McInnes), in which it appears the editor was about to demand sexual favours for support at work.
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