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Last Updated on January 27, 2023 by Stefanie Hutson
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a hot topic these days. Kids are using it to cheat, businesses are using it to power their customer service, some websites are using it to write their articles, and hackers are even using it to aid in creating malicious code.
But what about more creative endeavours, like coming up with new British TV shows? To put it to the test, we used a variety of prompts to get Open AI's ChatGPT to give us ideas for British TV shows – and even a short script.
British TV Show Ideas Generated by AI
Though we'd definitely tune in for shows made from MOST of these ideas, we generated a few hundred different ideas and after a while, it became clear that many had entire sentences/phrases copied from one to the next.
Quite a few ended with “using his knowledge of the local community and its history to uncover clues and suspects” or “with lots of comedic moments and heartfelt dramas”. To prevent this list from being incredibly boring and repetitive, we cut out a lot of the repetitive ones and only copied in some of the more interesting ideas.
The St. Ives Sleuth – A detective with a passion for art history investigates murders in the art colony of St. Ives, drawing on his knowledge of art and artists to solve crimes.
The Edinburgh Enigma – A detective with a background in mathematics uses his analytical skills to solve murders in Scotland's capital city.
The Pub Landlords – A comedy-drama set in a small village pub where the owner and staff face the daily challenges of running the business and their personal lives, with lots of comedic moments and heartfelt dramas.
Cornish Clues – A detective with a love for Cornish folklore and legend solves crimes in a picturesque coastal town, using his knowledge of local legends to uncover hidden motives and suspects.
The Oban Oracle – A detective with the ability to speak with the dead uses his powers to solve murders in a small Scottish coastal town.
The Harrogate Heritage Hunter – A detective with a background in history investigates murders in the elegant spa town of Harrogate, using his knowledge of the town's past to solve crimes.
The Truro Tracker – A detective with a background in tracking and survival skills solves murders in the rugged Cornish countryside, using his knowledge of the land and its inhabitants to solve crimes.
Bourton's Dark Past – A crime drama that centers around the discovery of a long-forgotten murder in the village of Bourton-on-the-Water, and the attempts of a group of amateur sleuths to solve the cold case.
The Gardeners – A comedy-drama set in a small village where a group of friends run a local gardening business, with lots of comedic moments and heartfelt dramas.
The Inverness Illusionist – A detective who is also a magician uses his skills in deception and illusion to solve murders in the Scottish Highlands.
Bourton's River Secrets – A mystery series that follows the investigation of a string of mysterious disappearances and deaths linked to the River Windrush that runs through the heart of Bourton-on-the-Water.
The Looe Loner – A detective who struggles with social interactions solves murders in a small seaside village, using his solitary nature to his advantage as he keeps a low profile and gathers information unnoticed.
The Perth Psychic – A detective with psychic abilities uses her powers to solve murders in a small Scottish city.
The Cotswold Tourist Trap – A mockumentary comedy that follows the antics of the employees of a popular Cotswold tourist attraction, as they deal with a stream of eccentric and demanding visitors.
Murder in the Manor – A murder mystery set in a grand English manor house located in a small village, where the wealthy and powerful residents are suspects in a series of killings.
The Village Mystery – A crime drama set in a small English village where a series of bizarre deaths occur and the local police must uncover the truth behind the murders.
The Village of Deception – A crime drama set in a idyllic English village where a series of murders occur, and the local police must uncover the truth behind the facade of the seemingly perfect village. (Sound familiar?)
The Land's End Lawman – A detective who is also a skilled marksman solves murders in a remote coastal town, using his sharpshooting abilities to catch suspects and gather evidence. (Because sharpshooting to catch suspects sounds SO VERY BRITISH, right?)
Will AI Take Over British TV?
Admittedly, some of the ideas above could easily serve as descriptions for some of the most-loved British TV shows in production – but really, there are only so many concepts available, especially within certain genres. The real value is in the details and execution, and AI isn't very good at that yet.
When we offered more complex prompts to the AI, asking it to create scenes or dialogue, results were much worse. The resulting scenes were boring, devoid of personality, and entirely formulaic – pretty much what one might expect of a technology still in its infancy.
AI certainly COULD make a British TV mystery, but it's not going to give us the bold, fun, quirky characters we've gotten from shows like Hetty Wainthropp Investigates, Jonathan Creek, Vera, and CB Strike. At least not anytime soon.
A Short British TV Script Generated by AI…
For a bit more AI-driven fun, enjoy the following script, complete with the world's best interrogation scene (yes, that's sarcasm)…
I don't think Sally Wainwright and Jed Mercurio need to start making backup career plans just yet.
EXT. LITTLETON VILLAGE – DAY
We see a panoramic shot of a small, idyllic English village. Rolling hills, lush greenery, and quaint cottages dotted the landscape. The sun is shining, and birds are chirping.
EXT. WOODS – DAY
We see a group of people gathered around a white sheet that is covering something on the ground. Among them, we can spot a uniformed police officer and a forensic team.
INT. LITTLETON POLICE STATION – DAY
We see DETECTIVE JOHN SMITH, a middle-aged man with a serious expression, sitting at his desk, reading a file. The phone on his desk starts ringing, and he picks it up.
Detective Smith speaking.
VOICE ON THE PHONE:
Detective, we have a body found in the woods outside of Littleton. We need you to come to the scene.
I'll be there right away.
EXT. WOODS – DAY
Detective Smith arrives at the crime scene and approaches the group of people. The uniformed officer greets him.
Detective Smith, we have a body. It's a young woman, and it looks like she's been strangled.
(looking at the body)
Not yet, sir. We're still trying to track down anyone who might have been in the area at the time.
Alright, I'll start talking to the villagers and see if anyone knows anything.
INT. LITTLETON POLICE STATION – DAY
Detective Smith is sitting at his desk, going through papers and interviewing people. We see him talking to different villagers, but no one seems to know anything about the murder.
(to a villager)
I understand that you live close to the crime scene. Did you hear or see anything unusual last night?
No, I'm afraid not. I didn't hear anything and I was in bed by 9 pm.
Thank you for your time.