It’s the dark days of 87 and, while some of my contemporaries were sitting in their mate’s XR3 at the local services, waiting for news on the location of the latest acid house party, I could be found getting my serotonin rush on hearing the first few bars of a tune based on morse code. I became so addicted that by the time I was living in London in the late 90s I would make sure I had prepared my tea beforehand and I would sit in the bath, with my plate of food on the bath rack, watching Morse on the portable TV that I balanced on the toilet seat lid. It may not have been the safest way to watch a 2 hour episode of Morse, though the bathroom was large enough for the TV to be a fair distance away from the bath, but it was certainly the comfiest. What’s more I could always top up with hot water…
Morse was a way for me to escape into a world of opera and crosswords, clues and problem-solving, beautiful Oxfordshire settings and best of British beer. Sadly it’s only the beer that I am able to truly appreciate in my ‘real’ life.
Today, when I’m not getting my fill of Broadchurch, Arne Dahl or Spiral, I have Shaun Evans and his depiction of the young Morse to look forward to. Everything stops for my fix of Endeavour; it may be a touch sad (the sponsorship by Viking River Cruises justly gives others the right to accuse me of watching pensioner TV) but I get a great deal of pleasure from well crafted crime dramas such as this.
Which makes my plea to ITV even more earnest. You see, while I’m not immersing myself in the plotlines of great TV detective drama, I am striving to earn a living making things look nice for other people – some call it graphic design. What it does involve is a certain amount of knowledge of typesetting and I was lucky to have earned my stripes with a design tutor who was an absolute luddite, as a consequence of which, I learned to apply the rules of typography by hand; I learned leading, tracking and kerning amongst other things. My problem is that, while I love escaping into the richly conceived world of Endeavour Morse (the 60s fashion, music and brilliantly furnished sets), each time an ad break occurs, not only am I reminded of the target demographic with the Viking Cruise ads, but I also have to witness the appalling neglect that is the ad break title frame. Somewhere in the process the design team have failed to see to the kerning* of the word Endeavour – it’s a graphic designer’s nightmare, or curse as some would have it.
I know it’s petty and, god, I’m sure guilty of committing gross design errors myself, but this is my TV program, my guilty not-so-secret, and it drives me crazy. It’s like I’m one of those dumb laboratory animals, forever doomed to electrocute itself each time it wants the red pellet or some kind of analogy like that that I can’t be arsed to complete for the sake of this post!
*kerning is the process of adjusting the spacing between characters to achieve a visually pleasing result.