Dear Editors,

I was disgusted by the placement of advertising in channel nine’s recent showing of Willy Wonka. Commercial breaks were timed with startling accuracy to grab the maximum response for the advertisers. Picture this: Wonka and his victims are poised outside a door barely large enough for a human to fit through, ready to step into - into what exactly? Everyone watching is well aware that beyond the door lies a riverful of chocolate, and Augustus’ imminent death. The ad break is timed to perfection, coming in just before the door is opened - right where it is wanted least - and right where the audience’s attention is most highly tuned. Imagine the same point in the Wizard of Oz, where Dorothy steps through from black and white into COMMERCIAL BREAK a world of colour. Of course, life goes on, except for Augustus, who is drowned in a river of chocolate. As is fitting, the Oompa Loompas composed a ditty to make his death all the more poignant. Obviously, as a member of the party has just been eliminated, the audience is paying lots of attention - eagerly awaiting what the Oompa Loompas have to say. This, channel nine decided, would be the perfect opportunity for an ad break. After the sponsors’ kind messages, we are returned to the Oompa Loompas - but the start of the song has been cut, and the song loses about 90% of the impact it has when positioned directly after Augustus’ death. The several minute long break changes the Oompa Loompas from singers of doom and teachers of morals to freaky little weird guys. Thanks, channel nine.

Has advertising placement been so finely tuned as to destroy all semblance of respect for the artistic integrity of a film? Do advertising dollars win out over cherished childhood memories?

Yours in sincere disgust,

Bill Page.