Continuity in television and film is absolutely vital, not to please the people who watch things just to spot the errors, but because attention to detail is a prerequisite to a film or programme being as enjoyable as it possibly can be. A great plot, compelling characters, the newest technology do not make a good film unless the details – however subtle – are spot on.
Film and television programme makers know this, of course, which is why people are employed specifically for the task of ensuring ‘continuity’ – making sure things don’t go missing from or appear on set during a break in the filming of a scene, for example.
However, I’ve spotted one area where these continuity people don’t seem particularly successful: tie knots.
I first spotted this in one of my favourite US drama series, Boston Legal. The same character can be shown twice in the space of a minute and look essentially the same apart from the knot in the tie. It’s not that the type of knot changes, but that the way the knot looks does – dimple or no dimple, left large and untightened or smaller and more taut.
I noticed a quite gratuitous example in Tomorrow Never Dies, which was on ITV yesterday. Early in the film, when Bond is travelling in the car with M and others, he is shown wearing his tie in a properly dimpled four in hand knot. Literally seconds later, after the shot cuts away to M and then back, he is wearing the same tie, tied in the same way but completely dimple-free.
Does this matter? Well, not massively. Indeed I suspect I’m most certainly in a minority in even noticing (!). But if continuity is deemed important, why not go the whole way and really pay attention to the details?