Monday, 12 December 2005

Dubplate Drama Exposed

No doubt most of you reading this will have watched an episode or more of Dubplate Drama. It's had some great press and feedback but on the flip, as one would expect, it's raised some questions. I got into an email conversation with main man Luke Hyams who kindly broke some points down and has since given me permission to post the evidence up here...
CF: I'm enjoying the show but I do feel some of characters are OTT and there's few stereotypes been played out but at same time I understand perhaps this has to be done in order to make the show work and give it the dramatic element.
LH: Stereotyping is a problem that comes about when creating characters that are amalgams of many different real people. Its also a challenge when we are trying to make the characters acsessable to a nationwide audience and also to get it past Channel 4 etc. Who do you think is ott?

CF: Radio station managers in my experience have always been reasonably professional, I thought the portrayal of the pirate was bad and it's things like this that annoy those involved in the scene as they're constantly battling such stereotypes.
LH: As established in episode 2, Prangers, the white station manager has recently returned from a stretch and has taken control of the station back from the professional manager (sideshow) who was looking after it. He is quite messed up in the head and is trying to pick up his life where he left off five years ago, although by episode 5 he has lost control and smashed the turntables and by ep6 he has ended up kidnapping the rival station manager.

CF: My bad, I either a. forgot b. totally missed the whole situation with Prangers been a nutcase. Hadn't realised that's why he was acting as he was. In that context it makes sense... At least we get to see a flipside with a pirate station being run professionally.
LH: It is just too short to pick up on these things in the 15min format but its all we could afford to make on the money we managed to scrounge.

CF: Ok, the way some of MC's were put across... the way Titch and J2K were to Shystie, see why you needed to do this but at the same time it's unlikely this would happen. In real life they would have given her the chance I'd imagine and felt it gave MC's negative image.
LH: The reason why they reacted like they did is because she jumped on uninvited and they were very territorial about their show. Ok, perhaps they are negative representations of emccee's, but then at the same time we have many positive examples of mc's like doogz marcy hypa etc who did give her a chance in ep2.

CF: Ok I get you. I felt they would have perhaps challenged her to spit in the first place expecting her to be shit rather than not give her the mic.
LH: I just felt it was more 8-mile cheesey if she took the mic and tried like it would be a life changing moment. I stress again for her to take it makes it more of a liberty. Also I thought the bit of crazy titch drinking ash was a good moment which I've seen happen in stations twice.

CF: What about the club bouncers going straight up and attacking that guy for smoking a zoot in the club? Again just from my experience it wouldn't happen like that. Played up to typical bouncer stereotype.
LH: This is a symptom of me writing episodes that were too long for the time slot and then having to cut out key parts. There are bits missing where the bouncer tells him a couple of times to stop blazing and he blatantly ignores him. I can see how this is a problem. Did I mention I hate bouncers?

CF: Ha ha. I don't hate all bouncers but there are a lot of arseholes, agreed. Again, it's logical when you break it down re: bits missing etc... You gotta come to the clubs I go to, you're more likely to be smoking than drinking ha ha.
LH: I have been thrown out of clubs as many times as I have left willingly. I guess i'm getting kicked out of the wrong places. The thing with this also is that we managed to get a little contribution from government charity talk to Frank who made it so we had to have a little advisory tale about drugs. The idea was to show a couple of reasons why weed was impairing that character's life which was meant to lead onto an interesting story about cannabis psychosis which we didn't have time for in the end but may try and do next time. A worrying amount of my friends have ended up in mental homes from blazing too much and although I smoke everyday I do think it would be good to show that it can affect people who have fragile mind states already in a bad way.

CF: The way the boy disrespected his baby mums. Most guys I've come into contact, even if they don't like their baby mum they would never allow her to be pushed around like that by a bouncer, it's the mother of his child afterall.
LH: Again there is more to this that didn't make it into the show but really this was my way of showing another side of this boy's (redhand) character and a way to hint to the audience about what was to come with him being not as much of a mr. Nice guy as he is showing shystie's character he is. And then also you have to agree that they are not suited and really just had a liason of convenience so he could get her lawyer dad to help him to bust a case.

CF: I just thought he was an arsehole after this so yeah. However didn't think it was 100% clear he used her just to bust case, I thought he just didn't like her for whatever reason (primarily because she was a stuck up cow who fell back on her dads money).
LH: This is another one of those stories which is only really meant to become clear in the last episode. Glad you were put off him.

CF: I thought the clash between Shystie and Envy was really weak. For one the music switched to hip hop and lyrics aside, it didn't have the energy a clash normally has. They would have probably both got booed off for that in a club.
LH: We needed to show that people are open to mixing up the styles a bit between grime hip hop garage etc.

CF: Why?
LH: They felt more comfortable doing it on hip hop, what can I say? Because when I was young I loved gangsta rap then jungle then drum and bass then garage then grime then g-hop (whatever that is) and now I also like pan pipe moods, chromeo and the smiths. My points are two fold... 1. Although you seem to be living a life of grime you do like hip-hop etc
and do rave to it from time to time. I am a big fan of uk rap and think it is important that some of that flavour is reflected in a show about the underground uk scene. 2. In my opinion, Grime has been built with inspiration from all of the above forms of music so for that reason I wanted to have some hip hop in there to show that the two forms can co-exist in a rave.

CF: Ok, now I'm surprised... They would rather have done it on hip hop!
LH: Its slower so the idea is that non-heads can hear the lyrics easier and
catch joke (or not) from the rhymes. Also what you're saying about the energy, we made this show for a secret low budget figure and had to rely on extras we could draw in during the day for free on a school day. Ideally I would have liked to have more people in the audience.

CF: I Understand that, it wasn't the extra's it was the actual vibe of the clash. Watch some rave/club footage i.e. Skepta V's Flirta D @ Sidewinder and you'll see what I mean. At the same time I realise you were working with what you had and it's not a Sidewinder.
LH: In retrospect we should've clashed on grime because the atmosphere would've been a lot wilder and more hype. Why does everyone wanna clash Flirta all the time?

CF: Boy, good question, maybe cause he's funny. People want more humour these days.
LH: As for the actual clash... I'll get you to come and clash them both in pt 2
CF: You don't know about my flow (actually, what am I saying... I don't have one)
LH: Wait til I clash you on karoke...

CF: I've never actually done karoke before although I do a mean So Solid '21 Seconds' at Christenings. Anyway, back to the show. The guy in the studio who was trying to get Redhand to do a job for him was overly aggressive, there's been a few moments of aggression like this and although perhaps this stuff does go on, it didn't ring true to the scene/people I deal with in it. I just couldn't imagine that happening. And if this guy was who he is being portrayed to be he would surely have had something to say and come across like a bit of a bad man, you know stood up to the guy?
LH: I had written a very sombre intimidation scene between a character who wanted something done and a character who couldn't say no for various reasons and no this didn't really come across.

CF: That's what I imagined would happen
LH: Win some lose some. Normally I'd have rehearsals to sense this type of thing out but no luck with the schedule. The Redhand character (the one who is being intimidated) just couldn't say no to Rudy because his whole life has been provided by Rudy and his family. Plus, he is very concerned that Rudy is a bit of a psycho who will harm him without thinking twice. I think really what is meant to be is a journey through the underground scene and the underworld that infiltrates some sectors of it.

CF: I hear that and I realise that. I think sometimes I just wish more of the positive side of the scene were displayed more often because it's a constant battle in the media and society on the whole to dispel certain stereotypes. But it's not all one sides. There is an underworld at work and that can't be ignored.
LH: The idea of the series is to show a girl trying to get into a masoganistic scene and her trying to navigate the snakes and find the ladders. I know what your saying about the constant battle to make the scene not look grim. People like the Daily Mail and The Standard are just never going to let it grow. They will always just attack it negatively. I wanted to create a good drama that showed an innocent positive person on a journey that would see her reject the wrong sides of the scene at the end as she realises she must hustle for herself to get anywhere rather than to listen to the various brers who are trying to show her a path. I think the mission for the second bigger better series is going to be to make it much more positive while trying to draw from what has happened in the above events to make a story that repells the negativity surrounding the scene.

CF: I'm sure it's going to continue to grow in quality and popularity. Don't get it twisted, there's a lot of things I like about it. I think the concept is amazing and I like the fact you've incorporated real members of the scene to play themselves and it's not made up of actors. It's obviously great exposure for the music too and no doubt it's a platform for a lot of people to step onto. Keeping the story's short while sometimes you want more, at least you're going to come back and watch the next episode to find out what happens. At no point are you left bored. I think it would be great if you were given more time/money to really develop the characters. I'd love to see you get into the real social contexts of things, educate the people out there who are alien to this world and all that comes with it. I'm trying to recall which has been my favourite episode but can't decide... I'm a fan!
LH: Amen!

You can watch Dubplate Drama so often that I can't even list it. Check out for MP3's, past episodes and all the info you could ever want. Thanks again to Luke for granting me permissssssssion. We're British and we complain too much, don't deny it. Dubplate Drama may have room for improvement, but what doesn't? Keep things moving forward.


terrorhythm said...

Yeh I've liked the show too.

I think you raised a lot of points I too was stressing over Chantelle.

I would like to see a second series - hopfully it will be a bit more in depth than the one on now - it sounds as if the producer had big plans but the budget just didn't allow him to express himself fully.

Still. If they need some comedy in the next series they can come on tour with me and Skepta and we could film a scene where we try to get shystie drunk during a performance.


Chantelle Fiddy said...

I did wonder about a Shystie/Envy love situation too

fearless prophet said...

This show needs some real actors before I can believe it. The acting's so bad I end up laughing during a supposedly serious scene.

jazzy said...

forgetting the bad acting and lack of depth in the storylines, i saw the most recent episode and ms dynamite was a major highlight...miss her mcing!!

Chantelle Fiddy said...

yeah how many times do people need to tell her... come back!