Articles

damaris study guide to… Attachments

Starring: Justin Pierre, Claudia Harrison, Amanda Ryan, David Williams, Iddo Goldberg, William Beck

Created by: Tony Garnett (This Life, The Cops)

Production company: World Productions

Broadcast: BBC 2, 9pm, Tuesdays (26 Sept 2000 – 28 Nov 2000)

Website: www.seethru.co.uk

 

 

Summary (after two episodes)

Mike and Lucy Fisher are trying to get an internet startup company, ‘seethru.co.uk’, off the ground. Mike (Justin Pierre) had previously run the new music website alone out of his bedroom and it has gained a strong following while Lucy (Claudia Harrison) worked in publishing. Now he has gathered a small team of young staff:

 

Sophie (Amanda Ryan) – arrogant, controversial lesbian writer and content manager

 

Jake (David Williams) – perfectionist site designer

 

Brandon (Iddo Goldberg) – programmer, brilliant but painfully shy geek

 

Reece (William Beck) – sex-obsessed programmer

 

Mike also takes on thirty-something Yvonne (Sally Rogers) as marketing manager – unaware that she had stolen the CV of a rival – and prettier – candidate.

 

Joe, the backer they have lined up, delays producing a contract for Mike and Lucy to sign because it takes much longer than they expected for the team to redesign the site ready for an official launch. The initial £50,000 that Joe had put in has run out so Mike and Lucy are desperate to get the contract signed. When Joe finally comes with the contract the terms are much tougher than Mike and Lucy originally agreed with him. Joe insists on them because he fears that seethru.co.uk will always be late and unreliable otherwise. However, before Mike finally – and reluctantly – agrees to sign, Joe suffers a pulmonary embolism and dies.

 

Seethru now desperately needs a new backer – the money has gone and the staff are about to need paying. Mike and Lucy had put their flat up as security for the initial investment from Joe but his estate now expects the money to be returned. They conceal the crisis from the staff and meet many venture capitalists in an attempt to secure funding. One had been very positive but when Mike and Lucy meet with the group Mike gets angry with one of them. Finally, after another potential backer turns them down, Mike and Lucy tell the staff about the situation. They are angry and walk out. As they go through the door the positive venture capitalist arrives to talk.  

 

Background

Attachments comes from the same production company as This Life and The Cops – Tony Garnett’s World Productions. These series earned considerable reputations as ground-breaking drama – defining moments for television’s development.

 

Attachments is set to be seen in the same light. It’s the first dotcom drama and has an associated website – not a website about the series but the website that is central to the series. The seethru.co.uk site that Mike Fisher’s company is constructing is online and is updated with appropriate content throughout the series. It looks and feels like its been created by the fictional characters in the series and will change to reflect events on screen. Articles and other content elements mentioned in the programme are there as well as Seethru office webcams so that viewers can see additional material. It’s a Baudrillard-like blurring of reality and fantasy.

 

Jane Root, controller of BBC 2 says “There will be lots of people watching and arguing about things – stuff that’s on the webcams, that people have written – who can go and see it on the internet after the show… I hope people who contact the site will be able to have a role on it.”

 

The style is gritty and somewhat claustrophobic but despite the reputation of its creator, Attachments has not so far attracted impressive viewing figures -with strong competition from ITV’s Peak Practice. A second series has already been commissioned. A video of the first series will be available from late November 2000.

 

Study questions

In episode 2 Mike meets someone who offers to buy some of the Seethru content for his own website. Mike refuses, saying ‘I don’t believe in your website; I believe in my website.’ The man mocks Mike parodying American Pentecostals: ‘I believe!’ Why do you think Mike does believe in his website so much?

 

Do you think any of the other characters believe in the website or their contribution to it? What else do they believe in?

 

How would you describe the various relationships within the team? Which are good? Which aren’t? What might be the reasons for this?

 

Mike and Lucy are portrayed as people of integrity: at one point Jake says to Sophie ‘I defy you to find a straighter pair of people’. What evidence have you seen for this? When Mike tells the team that there is no money Sophie accuses him and Lucy of lack of integrity. To what extent is she right? How does integrity relate to morality? How would you assess Mike & Lucy’s morality?

 

The site content is not supposed to be pandering to the tastes of the market but rather the site’s philosophy should direct the content. Do you think this is really true? What is good and bad about such an approach? Why is it so important to Mike that the content is controversial or even offensive? How important is it to the users of a website like this?

 

What does the series suggest about contemporary attitudes to work sex the internet the purpose of life

 

What do you think the creators of Attachments are trying to achieve through the seethru.co.uk website?

 

Action questions

Some of the characters demonstrate a typical postmodern lack of commitment and are inclined to spend a lot of time playing games, winding each other up, sending emails, etc. and then working flat out because there’s a deadline and their jobs depend on producing results. What are the challenges that this approach to life poses to the church – in our discipleship and in our evangelism? How can we best respond to those challenges?

 

To what extent has your church or organisation considered the challenges and opportunities of the internet? What do you think are the main issues involved? What kind of approaches do you think would be helpful for a website that is intended to help people come to know Jesus Christ?

 

What would the characters in Attachments need in order for them to seriously consider the claims of Jesus Christ ?

 

 

This study guide produced by Tony Watkins

Online Resources Editor: Tony Watkins

 

Copyright © Damaris Trust 2000           Last modified on 4 October, 2000

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