In an era where TV stations deem it most profitable to bombard our screens with Mexican soap operas than excellent local dramas, it is heartwarming to see that some local production houses are bold and confident to produce local drama albeit the high cost.
Ghanaian TV screen, from the late 80’s and mid 90s, was awash with brilliant productions like the highly popular TV Theatres, Akan dramas as well as the exciting detective series Inspector Bediako and the edu-drama Things We Do For Love.
The paucity in good local TV series has led to Sparrow Productions taking a bold step by producing an excellent, fast-pace, aggressive investigative drama series Peep. As the commercial began airing somewhere in January, 2012, I was particularly interested in seeing exactly how it was going to unfold, since Shirley and her crew is known for their movies and not TV series.
The drama revolves around three individuals-David Oscar, Senanu Gbedawu and Jasmine Baroudi, who through their online publication Peep, investigates evils that confront society-from bribery, corruption, blackmail, sexual harassment, murder and everything scandalous.
PEEP'ers: (l) Jasmine Baroudi, Senanu Gbedawu (m), David Oscar (r)
Peep Online got a head start after an innocent check on the ‘promotional' side-stepping of an employee, Jasmine (who is a now partner of Peep) revealed stinking details on the activities of the bank-its phony background, shareholders and how nepotism has taken the place of meritocracy. These revelations lead to the catastrophic demise of this huge bank.
The Peep team employ overt and covert investigative tactics such as bugging of offices, stalking, snoops around their targets, all in an effort to unravel mysteries of crime. They also construct crime scenes when it comes to the crunch.
Conflicts, ego, envy, romance, controversy, greed between partners, staff and ‘outsiders’ all go a long way to offer the show its chic and trendy outlook.
The series offers the viewing public the opportunity to glean into the activities of crime from evidence gathering, interviewing, piecing of evidence together to reach a comprehensive, water-tight conclusion.
Sparrow Productions have carved a niche in the arena of good story lines, excellent actors and elegant screen photography plus awe-inspiring directing. And Peep doesn’t fall short of those attributes. No wonder DSTVs Africa Magic has snapped it up and airing it to her African audience.
Series Director Shirley Frimpong-Manso
Shirley Frimpong-Manso and her team need to be commended for resurrecting an almost moribund genre. She has take the first, bold step in proving that local production houses can produce works that can compete with those from elsewhere despite the cost involved.
It’s time for corporate Ghana and most importantly TV stations to commission individuals-screen writers-to produce works of this kind like what the BBCs, ITVs, Fox are doing in the west with hit series like Mad Men, Parade, West Wing, Homeland, Downton Abbey.
Africa has a lot of stories to tell the world, both from its past and present. Sparrow Productions have leaped with Peep. Hope the rest are taking a cue.