BBC’s new restaurant drama Boiling Point faces backlash over ‘terrible sound’ as viewers complain that sequel to 2021 Stephen Graham movie is ‘inaudible’ and have to watch TV show with subtitles
- New BBC drama based on 2021 movie of the same name had 2.4million viewers
- But many switched off and took to social media to complain of terrible audio
- This isn’t the first time the BBC has been slammed for ‘mumbling’ dialogue
BBC drama Boiling Point has been hit with complaints that the dialogue is ‘inaudible’ and people have to watch with subtitles on.
The new show is a sequel to the 2021 feature film of the same name and drew an audience of 2.4million.
Vinette Robinson stars as the head chef in a busy kitchen who has to guide her team through extremely stressful dinner services.
Many viewers took to social media to slam the dialogue with many saying they couldn’t understand what was being said.
However, this isn’t the first time that the BBC has been slammed for mumbling dialogue as viewers complained about the 2014 dramas Jamaica Inn and Happy Valley, the 2017 drama Rellik and the 2022 drama Marriage.
Vinette Robinson (right) stars as the head chef in a busy kitchen who has to guide her team through extremely stressful dinner services
This isn’t the first time the BBC has been at the centre of so-called ‘mumblegate’ as many viewers complained about being unable to hear the actors in Quirke (pictured, Gabriel Byrne as Quirke and Michael Gambon as Judge Garret Griffin)
War and Peace was allegedly ‘sexed-up’ for the BBC adaptation but unfortunately, the audio wasn’t turned up in parts and many viewers complained about audio issues
Even the screenwriter for BBC’s Quirke, Andrew Davies, said he and his wife struggled to hear what the actors were saying and his familiarity with the script wasn’t enough.
He said his family had to turn on the subtitles to follow what was going on.
People also complained about Happy Valley with some viewers quipping, ‘do we have to speak northern to know what’s going on?’
Also, the Pursuit of Love was completely inaudible to some viewers in parts as well as the ‘sexed-up’ BBC adaptation of War and Peace.
According to Malcolm Johnson, of the Institute of Professional Sound, this is a deliberate choice by directors to persuade actors to downplay their delivery to make it ‘more realistic’, he told The Telegraph.
But viewers at home were less than impressed by the quality of the audio of Boiling Point and there has been countless posts hitting out at the ‘inaudible’ dialogue.
One viewer said online: ‘The sound wasn’t so clear on a regular TV (2022 LG) which to be honest is a lot of the BBC audience in this timeslot and does seem to be a recurring issue with drama.’
Another said: ‘BBC needs to sort sound issues out.’
‘This TV version of Boiling Point is not a patch on the film,’ another added, ‘Way, way, way too much chatter and personal stuff going on for a professional kitchen in a high-end restaurant. And awful sound too…’
One person complained: ‘Boiling Point, yet another BBC drama I can’t make head nor tail of because the sound is awful and it’s impossible to make out the dialogue.
Many took to social media to complain about the sound of the audio on the BBC show
According to a TV expert, the decision to make the audio unclear is a deliberate choice
‘1/2hr was more than enough for me. Done watching the series now. Will have to find something else to watch on a Sunday night.’
Another fuming viewer added: ‘Boiling Point: iPlayer. The busy life of a restaurant kitchen is captured brilliantly in the first episode.
‘But there is a huge problem with the sound, especially as there are different accents amongst the cast.
‘I had to watch with subtitles.’
‘What happened to the sound on Boiling Point, ruined it for me!’ Added a viewer.
And another continued: ‘Boiling Point, it started with very poor sound, then I felt sick with the stupid drunk camera operator followed by lashings of overacting.
’30 seconds and I was out. Watched something I could hear instead.
‘Good luck but not for me. Come on BBC, pull your socks up.’
The return of mumblegate: How high-profile BBC dramas including Jamaica Inn, Happy Valley and Marriage have all faced complaints from viewers about hard to hear dialogue
The corporation has had many problems with the sound on some of its other major TV series.
The BBC took so-called ‘Mumblegate’ so seriously in 2016 then BBC DG Tony Hall said ‘audibilty issues’ would be dealt with.
Jamaica Inn: In this 2014 adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier’s book, the show received more than 2,000 complaints about the sound quality and blamed BBC actors for mumbling.
Happy Valley: Calderdale-based police drama Happy Valley was first shown on screens in 2014. But legions of fans frequently complained on social media about being unable to hear the programme because of poor audio levels.
Quirke: The 2014 drama, which starred Gabriel Byrne and Michael Gambon, was so inaudible that even its writer admitted he needed to use subtitles. Andrew Davies said he and his wife struggled to hear what the actors were saying and his familiarity with the script wasn’t enough.
War and Peace: The 2016 adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s magnum opus received rave reviews at the time. But it also received a lot of complaints that people struggled to hear what the actors were saying.
The Pursuit of Love: The 2021 drama received complaints that people couldn’t understand some of the characters. Some scenes featuring stars Lily James and Emily Beecham came in for criticism over the audio on the mini-series. One licence fee-payer said they had ‘worn out the remote control’ adjusting the volume to try and counteract the ‘extremes of sound’.
This isn’t the first time the BBC has been slammed for having ‘inaudible’ dialogue with mumbling actors
A lot of people said they turned off the show because it was difficult to hear while others needed subtitles
One of the sound engineers for the mixing, Jules Woods, said on social media that people should listen to the show in 5.1 surround sound.
Speaking on social media, he said: ‘Btw. #BoilingPoint is being transmitted in 5.1 tonight. If you have the power – I would recommend.
‘There’s a lot of movement and space that we put into the sound of the episodes which really pops in surround. Obvs the stereo mix is banging too.’
Head of production sound recording at the National Film and TV School, Simon Clark, said viewers without surround sound systems could struggle to understand what was being said.
The BBC admitted there was a problem and said it was working to improve the quality of the three remaining episodes.
A spokesman said: ‘There is a limited sound issue which has affected some viewers. BBC iPlayer viewing is unaffected.
‘The series is currently being reviewed and any necessary technical adjustments needed will be made ahead of next week’s episode.’
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