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Contents Journal of the Royal Television Society

Television January 2014

Volume 51/1

From the CEO The long run-up to Christmas was a busy time for the RTS on many fronts. It is invidious to single out any one event from a hectic period, but I think those of you who attended our “Broadchurch: Anatomy of a hit” early-evening event would agree this was a great session. Everyone I spoke to said they couldn’t remember such a big crowd coming to watch our stellar line-up explain and analyse how this brilliant show was created. I want to thank all the panellists and those who produced such a memorable evening. Thanks, too, to Lord Fowler, who hosted the “Spectrum wars” discussion at the House of Commons. Frequency allocation is not always the most accessible of topics but our two contributors, Kip Meek and James Purnell, not only made light work of it, but also conveyed how important spectrum is to the future development of both the telecoms and broadcasting industries. Anyone who doubts that great content drives the creative industries should have been at the RTS Legend’s lunch, “The show that ate the schedule”. We heard the extraordinary story of how, against the odds, Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? made it to the screen, and went on to become a world-beating format. It was brilliant having Lord Grade in the hot seat as he played a unique version of one of television’s best-loved games. The RTS also hosted the RTS Futures Party at The Hospital Club in conjunction with the launch of Broadcast’s Hot 100. We had a stimulating panel discussion before the partying – with Ben Frow, Anna Beattie, Grace Reynolds and Ade Adepitan, chaired beautifully by Anna Richardson. The awards season got underway in November with the RTS Craft & Design Awards. At a wonderful evening at The Savoy, the outstanding work of those who are, perhaps, television’s unsung heroes, was celebrated.

Theresa Wise

08 David Liddiment’s TV diary David Liddiment hopes Salford’s MediaCity proves as powerful a magnet for talent as Granada studios once were

09 Diversity deficit: British TV still doesn’t look like Britain Black British actors seek TV work in the US because the UK offers an inadequate diversity of roles. Are quotas the answer? asks Steve Clarke

12 Diversity deficit: Shamelessly typecast Owen Jones argues that TV serves up an ugly parody of working class people while ignoring the real deal, reports Steve Clarke

13 The storyteller who can’t stop crying Wall To Wall’s new boss, Leanne Klein, tells Andrew Billlen she is a ‘total softie’ – her tear ducts know whether a story will hook viewers

16 Always-on generation Young people still watch TV – but are multi-tasking while doing it. Three young Ofcom staffers, Elle Hall, Jaspal Samra and Rebecca Taylor, look at what they are up to

18 AMC takes the path of Discovery AMC’s purchase of Chellomedia is a huge step change for the US cable network, reports Kate Bulkley

20 Anatomy of a hit Matthew Bell hears how Broadchurch’s creators set about overturning many of the established conventions of the crime serial

23 Our Friend in the West S4C’s stakeholders extend far beyond its audience; engaging with them all is a complex business, says Huw Jones

24 Viewers beware: a second switchover looms Maggie Brown listens to rival camps as the battle between broadcasters and mobile operators hots up over spectrum allocation

26 How to get a job in TV Matthew Bell tunes in as leading practitioners share their hard-earned experience with young job seekers

29 The show that ate the schedule Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? is a TV phenomenon, but Raymond Snoddy learns how it very nearly didn’t reach the first question

32 Hot tips from the Hot 100 Matthew Bell joins a festive Futures event with serious presents for TV wannabees

34 BT ups the ante further BT Sport looks determined to try to outbid Sky for the biggest prize of all – Premier League soccer – argues Claire Enders

36 RTS Craft & Design Awards 2012/13 The awards were presented on 18 November 2013 at the Savoy in London

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RTS news National events

able). Tickets are free but need to be reserved in advance via andrea.carl@sunderland.ac.uk Venue: Tom Cowie Lecture Theatre, St Peter’s Riverside Campus, University of Sunderland SR6 0DD

RTS AWARDS

Saturday 1 March

RTS Television Journalism Awards 2012/13 Venue: London Hilton, Park Lane, London W1K 1BE ☎ Jamie O’Neill 020 7822 2821 * jamie@rts.org.uk

Tuesday 18 March RTS Programme Awards 2013 Venue: Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London W1K 7TN ☎ Callum Stott 020 7822 2822 * callum@rts.org.uk

Local events BRISTOL ☎ Andy Batten-Foster * andrewbattenfoster@hotmail.co.uk

Annual Awards

Host: Stephanie McGovern, BBC Breakfast Venue: Hilton, Gateshead, Newcastle upon Tyne NE8 2AR

Tuesday 11 March Big Voices

Two of the most recognisable voice talents in the UK and US, Peter Dickson (The X Factor) and Alan Dedicoat (Strictly Come Dancing), in conversation with John Myers about the impact of voiceover and narration on TV. This event is supported by The Radio Academy. Tickets via jill.hodgson1.rts@btinternet.com Venue: Live Theatre, Broad Chare, Quayside, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 3DQ ☎ Jill Graham * jill.graham@blueyonder.co.uk

NORTH WEST Wednesday 22 January An evening with Michael Crick 6:30pm Venue: Quay Five, Quay Hours, MediaCity

DEVON & CORNWALL

Wednesday 26 February

☎ Interim contact 020 7822 2815

Student Conference and Student Television Awards

* elaine@rts.org.uk

EAST ANGLIA ☎ Mike Hughes 07802 151759 * mike@transmitconsultancy.tv

LONDON Wednesday 22 January You watch it, we measure it

Speaker: Justin Sampson, CEO, Barb. For security reasons we require all attendees at London Centre events to register via the website www.rts.org.uk/events-london. 6:30pm for 7:00pm Venue: ITV Southbank, 14th Floor, Upper Ground, London SE1 9LT

Tuesday 28 January Student Television Awards Venue: ITV Southbank, 14th Floor, Upper Ground, London SE1 9LT ☎ Daniel Cherowbrier * daniel@cherowbrier.co.uk

MIDLANDS ☎ Jayne Greene 07792 776585 * jayne@ijmmedia.co.uk

Conference venue: Salford University, 43 The Crescent, Salford M5 4WT. Awards Venue: Lowry Theatre, Pier 8, The Quays, Salford M50 3AZ ☎ Rachel Pinkney 07966 230639 * rachelpinkney@yahoo.co.uk

NORTHERN IRELAND January – date TBC Quiz Night Venue: TBC

Tuesday 25 March Student Television Awards

Tickets will be available on EventBrite. Venue: E3 Campus, Belfast Met, 398 Springfield Road, Belfast BT12 7DU ☎ John Mitchell * mitch.mvbroadcast@btinternet.com

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND Wednesday 22 January RTÉ Digital Showcase Venue: RTÉ Studio 4, Donnybrook, Dublin 4

Wednesday 12 February Student Television Awards Venue: RTÉ Studio 4, Donnybrook, Dublin 4 ☎ Charles Byrne (00353) 87251 3092 * byrnecd@iol.ie

NORTH EAST & THE BORDER

SCOTLAND

Tuesday 18 February

Thursday 30 January

An audience with Kay Burley

Student Masterclasses and Student Television Awards

The Sky News presenter in conversation with John Myers. 6:30pm (pre-event drinks avail-

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Venue: BBC, 40 Pacific Quay, Glasgow G51 1DA

Fiction award winners from York University

Students battle it out at York Racecourse More than 350 students, staff and media business partners attended the RTS Yorkshire Centre Student Television Awards at York Racecourse in November. Competition was fierce, with more than 50 entries. Bradford University won the Entertainment award with Tele­ box, while York St John University took the Factual prize with Exploring the Unexplained, a documentary about spiritualism. The University of Sheffield enjoyed success competing for the Will Venters News Award, gaining three nominations. Liana Lonsdale won with her news

report about body building, Work Hard: Workout Harder. York University film Snapshot won the Fiction award, a substantial achievement for a nonfinal-year entry. Another York University film, Someday Soon, was runner-up. The awards were sponsored by Rollits LLP and presented by Victoria Whittam, a newsreader on ITV’s Calendar. Comedy was provided by stand-up Lucy Beaumont, with music from the York St John Big Band. Andy Dobson, from broadcast facility ADBS, contributed the technical expertise.

Robin Small

Wednesday 12 February

☎ James Wilson: 07899 761167

* james.wilson@cityofglasgowcollege.ac.uk

Ingest issues: panel discussion Venue: Pincents Manor, Pincents Lane, Calcot, Reading RG31 4UH ☎ Jennie Evans 01635 44991 * chair@rtstvc.org.uk

SOUTHERN Friday 21 February Annual Awards/Student Awards Venue: Guildhall, 168 High St,Winchester SO23 9BA

WALES

Wednesday 26 March

February/March – date TBC

Meet the Professionals

Getting into the TV industry

Registration via www.rts.org.uk/southern Venue: Bournemouth University, Bournemouth BH12 5BB ☎ Gordon Cooper * gordonjcooper@gmail.com

Friday 21 March Student Television Awards Venue: TBC ☎ Hywel Wiliam 07980 007841 * hywel@aim.uk.com

THAMES VALLEY Wednesday 15 January Visit to Panasonic

Joint event with Media Academy, Wales Venue: TBC

YORKSHIRE

Arrive 5:00pm Venue: Panasonic House, Willoughby Road, Bracknell RG12 8FP

☎ Lisa Holdsworth 07790 145280 * lisa@allonewordpoductions.co.uk

January 2014 | www.rts.org.uk | Television

Hannah Ali Photography

Wednesday 19 February


Love reveals secrets of Bake Off recipe Bristol centre hosted a sell-out session in November on The Great British Bake Off, offering a fascinating masterclass on this hit BBC series. The format has now been sold to 13 countries; with its spin-offs it has become a year-round project for production company Love Productions. Love’s creative director of factual, Kieran Smith, revealed to Pete Lawrence – the new creative director at Tigress Productions, who chaired the Bristol event, “Ready Steady Bake!” – that the show took years to get commissioned. The indie kept it on the back-burner because Love knew it was onto something. Clips from series 1 illustrated how much the format has developed. Initially, it was shot around the UK, but this proved logistically difficult and expensive. Smith discussed the look and style of the show, which is shot in a marquee to give it a “nostalgic, village fête feel”. Using Mary Berry as a judge was discussed from the start – the team knew she was right when screen-testing bakers forgot about the presence of cameras and began to discuss their recipes

Kieran Smith and bakes with her. Love tested a few partnerships with Berry before settling on Paul Hollywood as her partner. Bake Off contestant Glenn Cosby talked about his love of the show and how he coped with the pressure and intensity of the competition. Passion for baking is the fundamental quality the contributors all share and is key to the integrity

of the show. Love does not “cast” contributors to produce TV characters as with The Apprentice or The X Factor. The audience was given the inside track on key format points, including “the royal tour” when Mary and Paul walk around the marquee inspecting the progress of the bakers, as well as ‘”marquee rules”. Bakers are not allowed to put anything in the

How to make the most of college

More than 100 students attended a Northern Ireland RTS Futures event at BBC NI Blackstaff Studios in early November. “How to make the most of your time in higher education” provided advice from some of the biggest names in the Northern Irish broadcast media industry. The panellists included: Michael Kelpie from ITV Studios and Potato Productions; Cool FM’s Kathryn Wilson; Citybeat’s Sara Neill; UTV managing director Michael Wilson; Kieran Doherty

from Wild Rover Productions; Cinemagic’s Joan Keatings; Justin Macartney, Carrickfergus FM; Marilyn Hyndman from NvTv; Stephen McGowan from DCAL; Creative Skillset’s Ian Kennedy; journalists John Coulter and Lynda Bryans; and Derek Johnston representing Queen’s University Belfast’s Broadcast Literacy Masters Course. The event consisted of three panel discussions and a speeddating session, which allowed students to meet individual panellists for advice about their careers.

Television | www.rts.org.uk | January 2014

The experts were quizzed over opportunities for students, and advice on training and educational programmes, as well as about their own experiences. Their main advice was: be determined and develop skills outside the classroom. “Be persistent. The people who get in aren’t necessarily the best – they are the most persistent,” said Kelpie. Keatings added: “Keep sending your CV in – keep torturing them. It will pay off.”

Rachel Martin

oven without alerting the crew first – in case something is wonderfully burnt or falls on the floor. Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins’ comedic partnership has flourished over the four series and they are now given free rein on set. This is a very different to series 1, when their role was more one of straight presenting. Series 5 in 2014 will see the show make another leap forward when it moves from BBC Two to BBC One. Series producer Sam Beddoes discussed the technical details of the show, including the number of crew involved, cameras, filming days and the auditioning process. The panel also touched on the positive and negative impacts of social media – there were 156,000 tweets during this year’s finale but contestant Ruby Tandoh was also cruelly attacked on Twitter. Finally, the session looked at The Great Australian Bake Off, which has a very different feel and tone. Smith was a consultant on this series and talked about the balance of maintaining the integrity of the format while at the same time allowing another producer to stamp its mark on the show.

Suzy Lambert

Alt TV’s date-fest The BBC in Belfast hosted Northern Ireland Centre’s ‘Alternative broadcaster’ event, which featured speed-dating sessions with Northern Irish indies, followed by a panel discussion. Content creators, producers and executives from some of the biggest production houses in Northern Ireland heard first hand about the multi-platform opportunities open to them. The panel, chaired by BBC Knowledge and Learning executive editor Richard Cable, was filled by: YouTube Next Lab programmes manager Joe McDermottroe; two Channel 4 executives, commissioning editor for games Colin MacDonald and multi-platform entertainment and comedy commissioner Jody Smith; and 360 Production creative director John Farren. ‘Everyone came away from the event energised and enthusiastic about creating original, compelling and entertaining multi-platform content,’ said RTS NI vice-chair Kieran Doherty.

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RTS news

Wales does not get a “rough deal” from the London media, argued News UK director of communications Guto Harri in the RTS Wales Centre Annual Lecture in November. He also held out the prospect that “a Sun office in Swansea or Cardiff is not out of the question”. The former BBC chief political correspondent (and spin doctor for London Mayor Boris Johnson) now has a senior role in Rupert Murdoch’s media empire. He rejected suggestions that the London media is “ignorant, dismissive, hostile or patronising when it comes to Wales”. There is, from personal experience, he admitted, some historical basis to the charge: “I remember being sent back to Wales on a story for the network, the Islwyn by-election when Neil Kinnock stood down. I was told [by the producer of Radio 4’s Today]: ‘Get me lots of poor people with strong accents.’” But, he added, “that same programme has as it’s lead presenter a boy from Splott, John Humphrys. And BBC News at Ten is presented, as we know, by Huw Edwards – a boy from Llangennech.” Harri argued that political coverage “has to be earned – and generated”, adding: “The fact that Wales does some political things differently is not that interesting in itself. Doing things differently is only interesting if there are lessons that can be drawn for people outside the immediate patch.” “[Wales’s first minister] Carwyn Jones is the most senior Labour figure in office in the UK today,” he said. “What he and his team do here could easily be seen as a template for what Britain could be like under a Labour government.” Yet, asked Harri, “Could you really articulate how Number 10 would be different if its inhabitant was more like Carwyn Jones than David Cameron? “I don’t feel – as a Welshspeaking Cardiff boy and someone who spent more than a decade as a political correspondent – that I could spell out in simple sentences what the current Welsh agenda is.” The lecture, “Wales: not on their radar?” was presented in association with the National Assembly for Wales Commission.

Matthew Bell

6

PSBs defend their EPG slots

Helen Goodman MP The Government was busy over the summer, releasing both a media strategy paper – in lieu of a White Paper – and a media plurality consultation paper. A panel of broadcasting executives – plus shadow minister for culture, media and sport Helen Goodman and LSE academic Damian Tambini – picked over the documents at a London Centre event at the end of October. “Having access to a plurality of voices across the media is obviously a cornerstone of our democracy,” said Goodman. “Our intention is to protect this range of voices in the media and, on the Labour side, we want to have a cross-party approach on the media just as we had on the Leveson [report]. We don’t want this to be a political football.” Turning to the BBC, the Bishop Auckland MP said: “We don’t want, in the wake of the scandals, to rush into a new governance model.” However, having listed some of the recent problems, including the employment of Jimmy Savile, the £100m wasted on the Digital Media initiative, executive payoffs and allegations of bullying, she added: “In all these cases, real people have suffered. We’re clear that both the management and the BBC Trust, which repre-

sents the licence-fee payers, must address these issues. They must improve their management.” The key part of the strategy paper, “Connectivity, content and consumers: Britain’s digital platform for growth”, looked at how to protect the public service broadcasters – the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 – when viewers have many more ways other than the electronic programme guide (EPG) to find programmes. The DCMS said in the strategy paper: “We need to look again at how the prominence of public service broadcasters (PSBs) can be maintained as viewers move away from standard-definition formats, viewing at the time of broadcast and traditional numerical channel lists, to a world of high-definition, catch-up TV with more dynamic and tailored menus.” “It is completely reasonable for the PSBs to have a privileged place on the EPG,” said Goodman, indicating agreement with the Coalition Government. However, she admitted to Labour concerns about the state of children’s TV: “We will be looking at whether we should be doing something to encourage new programming to be made for children in this country. It’s particularly important for children to see themselves reflected on the screen.”

Flying Colours Photography

London media view of Wales ‘not ignorant’

Tambini, an expert in media policy, questioned whether the strategy paper’s goal of supporting PSBs by making their programming more discoverable and prominent on the EPG would work: “The ‘steady as she goes’ view of the Government, the ‘evolution not revolution’ approach, might not, in my view, be enough.” While Tambini accepted that linear-TV viewing is still increasing, he argued that the EPG is irrelevant to many younger viewers. Chairing the event, the London Centre’s Thomas Dillon asked the panel whether relying on the EPG to support public service broadcasting would prove futile. “The EPG is going to continue to be important for some time, but there are clearly other ways we can find and access content on a variety of platforms in the home,” said ITV director of policy and regulatory affairs Magnus Brooke. BBC head of international policy Daniel Wilson said that the EPG “contributes significant financial value to the PSBs”, and that it could benefit on-demand content as well as linear channels. Channel 4 head of corporate relations Sophie Jones wanted legislation that would “create a framework that is flexible enough to respond to new platforms as they come into the market and achieve a level of scale in the market – but not be so specific and predictive of which platforms we think are going to emerge”. Channel 5 head of corporate and regulatory affairs Martin Stott disputed Tambini’s argument that TV viewing habits are changing rapidly. “It’s not the case that 10 or 20 years ago people sat watching a programme from beginning to end and now they’re overwhelmed by interruptions from second screens. The jury is out on exactly what consumers do in front of the TV,” he said, adding: “The old model isn’t dead and if it is dying, it is probably dying very slowly.” BSkyB director of policy and public affairs David Wheeldon, however, argued that broadcasters have to accept that the media landscape is changing. “The important thing is that we all recognise that the power of content and our channel brands are the things that are going to see us through this world. “Look what Netflix has done in just a few short years, building a base of 40 million subscribers and winning Emmys.”

Matthew Bell

January 2014 | www.rts.org.uk | Television


The ideal intern: a ruthless team player While final preparations were being completed in Glasgow for Owen Jones’s RTS Huw Wheldon Memorial Lecture on television’s demonisation of the working class (see page 12), the RTS Scotland Centre was hosting a very different discussion on successful entertainment formats. An expert panel gave students from across Scotland a valuable insight into the world of studio production as Yvonne Jennings, executive producer of CBBC’s Glee Club and Who Let the Dogs Out?, BBC One Weakest Link producer Nick Gunaydin and Chris Hulme, co-developer and producer of CBBC’s Copycats, shared their considerable experience. The key element in a television series, according to Jennings, is the development stage: “Trust your gut. If you think something will not work, it won’t.” She added that the cast and presenter are also important in making a show work: if the public

From left: Yvonne Jennings, Chris Hulme and Nick Gunaydin don’t like them, the show won’t work. “It is essential to put trust in your team – you can’t do everything yourself”, explained Hulme. Trust creative individuals to make their specialist contributions, he advised, making sure that they have room to develop their own

solutions rather than following what would often be unnecessary detailed instructions. Gunaydin said that competition is tough in the creative sector, which is why a combination of work experience and ambition is vital to land a dream job. “You must be selfish and ruthless to

get that entry-level job,” warned Hulme, before adding, much to the audience’s amusement, that once you have the job you have to become the perfect team player. “The RTS is very grateful to BBC Scotland for hosting the event and to Chris, Yvonne and Nick for sharing their insight and offering their advice,” said James Wilson, chairman of RTS Scotland. “It was really heartening that staff and students from across Scotland came along in such numbers. “Nik Forbes, who is completing his honours year in BATV at City of Glasgow College, did a very professional job of hosting the discussion, and the intelligent questions the audience posed could have kept the discussion going long after we ran out of time.” The RTS Scotland Centre event, “Entertainment masterclass”, was held at BBC Scotland Studios, Pacific Quay, Glasgow on 6 November.

Nicole Zikmann

In November Thames Valley Centre debated what the future might hold for traditional linear TV and how it might be influenced by the new generation of multi-screen, cross-platform, over-the-top and IP-delivery technologies. Panellists Joss Armitage, Bob Lamb of Pilat Media and MobiTV’s Paul Scanlan defined linear television as “the schedule”, a channel created for the viewer by a professional, delivered to any number of devices, in a number of ways. Moreover, the event – be it a live football match or Sunday evening costume drama – is delivered to the device or screen at a fixed time. The challenges faced by content distributors were highlighted. Whether the consumer wants to – or even knows that they can – view TV content elsewhere can be rendered irrelevant by the UK’s poor infrastructure, which can rarely deliver the bandwidth required for a satisfactory service. The panel touched on consumer resistance to the growing number of boxes in the living room, platform fragmentation and, ultimately, restrictions

imposed by rights. Where, when, over which connection and on what device will you be allowed to view your content? After agreeing that the linear model is not disappearing any time soon, the conversation turned to metrics. The audience is fragmenting. Most consume their content in the linear fashion, fed by the channels’ schedules, some watch scheduled programming but on a PVR at a different time of day – and a small minority only watch video on-demand. The impact of this on advertising could be dramatic, raising the question of whether the broadcasters should be nervous of IPbased advertising metrics. They are real and show exactly what is being watched, when and where. After a good-natured discussion involving much of the audience, most agreed that, just as tape is still being used in the broadcast environment, and film will surely never die completely (will it?), linear TV will survive. Methods of delivering the same content to a large group of people

Television | www.rts.org.uk | January 2014

Charles Clyde Ebbets

Linear TV will outlive the masts on the hills Award-winning editor Daíthí Connaughton gave a fascinating presentation to the Republic of Ireland Centre on the making of the documentary feature, Lón Sa Spéir (Men at Lunch), about the human story behind Charles Ebbets’s iconic 1932 photograph. The idea for Lón Sa Spéir to director Sean O Cualáin and his producer brother, Eamonn, came when they visited a pub in Shanaglish, Galway. will need a reliable and efficient network that delivers the same quality of experience for everyone. It might not be transmitted over DVB from masts on hills in the future, but delivery over IP could be the future of linear TV. Scanlan heads MobiTV’s new London office, while Lamb is managing director of OTTilus,

On the wall was the photograph of 11 steel workers eating lunch on a girder 69 storeys up during the construction of New York’s RCA Building. The O Cualáin brothers trawled New York work records to identify the workers on the beam. Lón Sa Spéir, a Sonta Films production for Irish-language channel TG4 and the Irish Film Board, won an Irish Film & Television Academy award in 2013. a Pilat Media company delivering an end-to-end, over-the-top management platform for live TV, catch-up, and VoD content. Armitage has been involved in the media industry for approaching two decades, including editing Cable and Satellite Communi­ cations International.

Matthew Robbins

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David Liddiment’s TV Diary

TV diary David Liddiment hopes Salford’s MediaCity proves as powerful a magnet for talent as Granada studios once were

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meeting of the Audiences and Performance Committee of the BBC Trust, which I chair, discusses early progress on our review of BBC One, Two, Three and Four. A licence for each BBC service with the obligation to review every five years was one of the most significant innovations of the last Charter and Agreement. It has proved invaluable as a key tool by which the Trust holds management to account for the stuff licence-fee payers care about the most – the quality, range and distinctiveness of programmes.

As a direct result of this review process, BBC online is more public-service focused, daytime television more varied, Radio 2 more distinctive, BBC Two more ambitious, BBC Children’s better funded and Radio 1 getting younger. This has been achieved by assessing the service against its licence with input from licence-fee payers through research, public consultation and our Audience Councils across the UK. In other words, doing what the Trust was set up to do – serving the interests of those who pay for the BBC.

A trip up to the North West to chair a discussion at the Salford Media Festival on the current state of ITV. Pretty good was the virtually unanimous conclusion – perhaps not surprisingly, with the network growing share year on year, and production arm ITV Studios on the up. Having spent much of my career at ITV, with almost 20 years at Granada TV in Manchester, I am delighted to see ITV full of self confidence again. But I am a little sad to see Granada’s famous Quay Street studio complex virtually deserted as the network’s North West headquarters moves to join the BBC at Salford Quays.

At its best Granada was able to capitalise on its rootedness in the North to bring an array of northern-based writers and performers to a national audience, much of it developed on the nursery slopes of regional TV. In my time Paul Abbott, Kay Mellor, Sally Wainwright, Caroline Aherne, Steve Coogan and Russell T Davies all emerged as singular talents. Today, regional programmes other than news and current affairs are long gone from ITV (and BBC) screens. The ITV operation in Salford is modest compared with Granada in its pomp. Let’s hope that locating the BBC, ITV and the indies together at the MediaCity complex at Salford Quays creates a critical mass of

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production skills that can be as powerful a magnet for talent as the Granada studios were in the past.

Moving Coronation Street there, still riding high and in its 54th year, should help. The move to Salford has meant a new studio and backlot for the soap, with the Street set reconstructed in painstaking detail. I was in charge of Coronation Street the last time it underwent a major rebuild. Back then, we got the builders in not to relocate, but as a means of rebooting and modernising the show for a more competitive age. That was 1988 and relative newcomers Brookside and EastEnders were capturing a younger audience with pacier, contemporary stories. By comparison, Coronation Street looked set for slow decline; it was still brilliantly written, but was studio-bound and seemingly locked in its past. Salford (the inspiration for Weatherfield) had changed dramatically since 1960. Few of the thousands of terraced, red-brick streets remained. They were interspersed with outcrops of modern houses and light industrial units. I concluded we needed to physically update and redevelop Coronation Street to signal a broader renewal in the show. We added new families, upped the pace with more location shooting and upgraded production values with a dedicated studio complex. To top it all, we launched a third weekly episode. The creative team – producers, writers and actors – rose to the challenge and Coronation Street reasserted itself as the UK’s numberone drama serial.

The Street’s writing team is the key to its enduring success. From those extraordinary first few episodes by creator Tony Warren, Coronation Street has always been strongly authored, but as a team show its writers have not often received the credit they deserve. While in Manchester I was able to catch up with the longest serving member of the current team, Peter Whalley, as he retired from the show with a colossal 599 scripts under his belt. That makes him, by a significant margin, the author of more Coronation Streets than anyone else. Not only could Peter inhabit the Street’s array of archetypes with extraordinary empathy, he also had a fiendish way with plot, and was a star performer at story conferences. Definitely one of the unsung heroes behind Britain’s most successful TV drama. n

David Liddiment is a member of the BBC Trust and creative director of All3Media.

January 2014 | www.rts.org.uk | Television


Diversity Diversify panellist Lenny Henry

Black British actors seek TV work in the US because the UK offers an inadequate diversity of roles. Although long opposed by broadcasters, are quotas the answer? asks Steve Clarke

Television | www.rts.org.uk | January 2014

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ome 12 years ago Kwame KweiArmah was sitting in his ambulance on the set of Casualty, where he played paramedic Finlay Newton. He was waiting for the cameras to roll when the show’s producer bounded over to tell him some remarkable news: “Guess what, Kwame? We’re going to have a black doctor.” Not before time, thought the actor, but news of another non-white cast member joining the team at Holby City would inevitably mean curtains for his role. Or so he thought. “It was ‘one in, one out’,” recalled KweiArmah, referring to what at the time looked like token representation of BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) characters in the long-running BBC drama. “And it looked like I’d be the one out.” What he hadn’t reckoned on was the determination of the BBC’s then-director-general, Greg Dyke, to do something about what Dyke famously described as the broadcaster being “hideously white”, Indeed, following Dyke’s intervention the composition of the Casualty cast underwent a sea change, noted Kwei-Armah. “It went from being ‘one in, one out’ to 27%

of the cast. That made a difference to my life,” he told an RTS-produced session, “Flight of the black actor”, during a recent one-day conference, “Diversify”, organised by Broadcast and Screen International. Regrettably, since Dyke’s days running the corporation, representation of minorities in British TV has slipped back – on both sides of the camera. According to Creative Skillset’s Employment Census, published in July 2012, the number of people from BAME backgrounds working in the creative industries declined from 7.4% in 2003 to 5.4% last year. Actors from black and Asian British backgrounds increasingly have to travel across the Atlantic to find work in TV. Meanwhile, behind the cameras, the people who make TV and film remain predominantly white and middle-class. As for non-white representation in TV boardrooms, people like the BBC’s Pat Younge remain the exception. Younge, the corporation’s outgoing chief creative officer, admitted at the conference that for every non-white at the top level it was necessary to have “30 or 40 people at the level below, because it’s a pyramid. As u10

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Theodore Wood

British TV still doesn’t look like Britain


Diversity Lenny Henry CBE Broadcaster

People are very sensitive about quotas… It sounds like people are being done a favour. Perhaps it should be ‘shared targets’

Ahmed on…

TV’s shame Aaqil Ahmed, head of commissioning, religion, TV, and head of religion and ethics, BBC: ‘We should be ashamed of those Skillset figures… Look around us and we can see it. ‘It’s actually worse than that. If you go into the granular detail, it is not just the figures, it’s the fact that you won’t get another Aaqil Ahmed. ‘You’re not going to get a working-class Pakistani boy from Manchester coming through the ranks. He’s not the right kind of person. For a start, he’s a Muslim… ‘People in this industry should feel ashamed. I just don’t think we care enough… ‘You don’t have to feel like a kid to feel like leaving the industry. I have felt like leaving the industry loads of times… ‘It doesn’t matter what job you’ve got, this industry can make you feel very, very lonely if you come from a particular background where you are not in the majority.’

Pennant on…

YouTube’s call Simone Pennant, founder, The TV Collective: ‘I’m bored, I’m talked out. We’ve had different initiatives and nothing has changed. We’re still having the same conversations… ‘There are two issues – the industry seems to know what’s best for the diverse community. More importantly, I think the diverse community needs to stop talking to the industry and get on with their stuff. ‘It’s completely changed. You’ve got the internet, YouTube…You can make money. ‘You might not be making the same amount of money you can from the BBC or Channel 4, but there’s no excuses in terms of the programmes we want to see. ‘We just need to get out and make them… At that point the industry will jump up and say, “Oh my God, we should be engaging [with the diverse community].’”

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Kwame Kwei-Armah 9 u long as one person rises and one person goes, you never get progress.” Lenny Henry, now a successful stage actor, recalled how he had identified the problem that confronts British black and Asian TV talent after witnessing this year’s Bafta TV awards. “Where were we? Where were the producers and directors, and why aren’t we getting nominated for things?” Henry wanted to know. While TV soaps such as Coronation Street, Emmerdale and, particularly, EastEnders feature non-white performers, other genres in the fiction area are poor at reflecting multi-cultural Britain, according to the former BBC star. “High-end drama and comedy is where I am always shocked at the lack of diversity,” Henry elaborated. “There are no faces that look like me. That’s where the big changes need to happen.” He added: “We have to make our own programmes that emulate things like Breaking Bad and The Wire. They’re diverse and show minorities in a way that we’ve never seen them. We need to push commissioners.” Henry suggested bringing back The Wednesday Play because it was via the BBC drama flagship that a lot of British black and Asian writers got their first break. Session chair Lorraine Heggessey, executive chair of Boom Pictures, pointed out that racial diversity in the EastEnders cast translates to a much higher than average non-white audience than mainstream TV programmes in general. Heggessey, a former BBC One controller, said: “Fifty per cent of the BAME audience watch EastEnders. For the most part, viewership of popular TV shows is small within the BAME population.” All the panellists on the “Flight of the black actor” session agreed there is a lack of diver-

sity of roles in British TV for non-whites. Asian actor Sudha Bhuchar, who starred in EastEnders during the 1990s, articulated the problem that middle-aged female actors such as her have in landing TV parts. She said: “People say to me ‘You’re really successful,’ but as an actor I find every day a struggle. I haven’t had a single audition all year.” Asked by Heggessey if it was true that BAME talent had to go to the US to find work, Bhuchar said she knew a lot of young actors who’d headed west, but they were still a minority. Bhuchar added: “I remember going for auditions to play doctors in my 20s and 30s because it was thought that Asians were under-represented. “People would come up to me and ask, ‘Does that thing in your nose come out?’” Two and a half years ago Kwei-Armah moved to Baltimore, where he is artistic director of Center Stage, following a cele­ brated career in the UK as an actor, writer and director. He told the “Diversify” conference that while there has been an increase in roles for young black actors in underclass narratives such as Channel 4’s Top Boy, the depiction of adult, middle-class non-whites on UK TV is virtually non-existent. Kwei-Armah said: “While we’re all doing so well in America, here we’re punching the glass ceiling that is possibly lower than it used to be… In the US there is a diversity of roles and opportunity… They did the thing that we’re afraid to do here. They set quotas.” During the day the subject of quotas was a recurring theme. Several of the speakers, including the BBC’s director of television,Danny Cohen, were sceptical about introducing quotas. He said:

January 2014 | www.rts.org.uk | Television


Younge on…

Sudha Bhuchar “We’re much better [at on-screen portrayal] than we used to be [but] it wouldn’t be right for me to come here today and say everything is perfect because I don’t think it is.” Progress could be made, he added, through specific schemes, and the way in which commissioners take pitches. Cohen said that a diverse workforce is essential but that, overall, the industry still has a long way to go. “The better we get at having a diverse workforce that reflects the nation back to itself in all its diversity, the quicker we will stop having these sessions,” said the BBC’s director of television. Howver, Henry and Kwei-Armah both agreed that some form of quota was necessary in order to effect real and lasting change. The regulatory system that forced public service broadcasters and independent producers to commission and produce more shows outside London could be used as a model to force better non-white representation, they suggested. “In the US they talk about ‘allocation of spend’,” explained the former Casualty actor. Something similar could be adopted in the UK. “People are very sensitive about quotas,” Henry added. “It sounds like people are being done a favour. Perhaps it should be ‘shared targets’.” Turning to casting director Des Hamilton, Heggessey said that a lot of non-white performers receive their first break via the BBC, but does he struggle to find the talent? Not at all, he replied. “Sometimes it stems from the writing,” Hamilton elaborated. “We as casting directors try to challenge that. “When you read a script, characters are described in a certain way and it’s up to us to be colour blind and think, ‘Who is the best actor for this role?’

Television | www.rts.org.uk | January 2014

“First and foremost, we have to serve the authenticity of the piece. A more diverse range of writing is needed.” Kwei-Armah agreed: “You are absolutely right, writing is part of the issue. In TV and film we pass the buck very successfully. “The actor says it is the casting director, who says it’s the writers, who say it’s the production company, which blames the commissioners. Commissioners say it’s the audience.” He said the media is at fault for not doing enough to disseminate the wide range of successful non-white role models. Instead, the image of the ghetto is ever-present. Speaking from the floor Marcus Ryder, BBC Scotland’s editor of current affairs, wanted to know if colour-blind casting worked and if quotas were introduced would the creative industries be able to fill them? “To the second question, definitely,” replied Hamilton. “There is no shortage of talent. I find what I feel about colour-blind casting very difficult to articulate… In casting you are striving for the truth and to put the best people forward for the director. “I have always tried to challenge my own perceptions when I read a character but to force that would be wrong… “Everybody should be given the opportunity to grab that role regardless of where they’re from, but ultimately the best person should come through.” n

‘Flight of the black actor’ was produced for the RTS by Marcus Ryder, editor, current affairs, BBC Scotland. The panellists were: Des Hamilton, casting director; Kwame Kwei-Armah OBE, actor, writer and director; Lenny Henry CBE, broadcaster; Sudha Bhuchar, writer, actor and co-artistic director of Tamasha. Diversify, organised by Broadcast and Screen International, was held at Bafta in central London on 13 November.

All pictures: Theodore Wood

My manifesto Outgoing chief creative officer of BBC Productions Pat Younge’s ‘Manifesto for change’ ‘I don’t think the commissioning group and the controller group is diverse enough,’ said Younge. ‘There is a lot of activity… regarding portrayal in terms of volume, but not enough activity around who the [black] storytellers are and what their stories are.’ He continued: ‘We need to address commissioning within the BBC and within Channel 4. ‘In the mid-1990s the BBC had this thing called the Women’s Development Initiative, which identified 20 or 30 senior women with the potential to become tomorrow’s senior managers.’ The group included Jana Bennett, Lorraine Heggessey, Jane Root and Caroline Thomson. They were given the necessary skills to compete for the next promotion. ‘The BBC needs to do something like that because there are a lot of black execs at the level beneath me who cannot see a way through,’ said Younge. He reminded the audience that nothing is achieved without a struggle: ‘Talk to your union and organise with a clear set of demands about what the changes are you want to happen – as opposed to saying, “Can you make it better, please?”’ Lobby for change at the level of the decision makers, said Younge. Put pressure on Channel 4 and campaign regarding the makeup of its commissioning team and where it spends its money, and how many black writers it commissions. Put pressure on ITV via its advertisers. And remember, the internet is there for the taking. ‘There are organisations such as Kickstarter that are happy to fund projects that people then put on the internet. That world is out there. We don’t have to wait for these guys to respond anymore.’

Ray on…

Deterrence Adil Ray, creator of Citizen Khan: ‘I’ve been working in this business for 17 years. ‘My first experience was at a black music pirate radio station in Huddersfield. As an Asian bloke I felt like a minority there. ‘If I came to something like this as a student it would probably scare the living daylights out of me and put me off because it sounds like there are lots of problems in TV. ‘If I’d looked at this career and the fact that diversity is an obstacle I don’t think I would have ever got where I am. ‘I’ve refused to look at it as an obstacle because you then start thinking someone has placed that obstacle. It’s not an obstacle, it’s a challenge.’

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Wheldon Lecture: Owen Jones

Shamelessly typecast

Not the real deal: Jeremy Kyle – the wax version in Madame Tussauds in Blackpool

Owen Jones argues that TV serves up an ugly parody of working class people while ignoring the real deal, reports Steve Clarke

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ritish television no longer reflects the lives of ordinary people, according to writer Owen Jones. In his RTS Huw Wheldon Memorial Lecture, “Totally shameless – How TV portrays the working class”, Jones laid out a critique of how, with one or two exceptions, the digital age is failing to give viewers three-dimensional depictions of what he described as Britain’s invisible majority. Nowadays it is acceptable to “denigrate working people” on TV, a practice that has led to “replacing a whole section of British society with ugly stereotypes”. Jones, author of Chavs: The Demonisation of the Working Class, claimed it was around a decade ago that the rot set in. It was then that comic caricatures such as Little Britain’s Vicky Pollard stopped being merely funny and came to be seen as genuine representations of working-class Britain. The present age of austerity has only made things worse and has led to “a significant strain of malignant programming”. Jones said: “These programmes, either consciously or unwittingly, suggest that now – in 2013 – on British television, it’s open season on millions of working-class people and some of the poorest parts of society.” He cited the recent Channel 5 trilogy, Shoplifters and Proud, Pick Pockets and Proud and On Benefits and Proud as evidence. “The implicit suggestion is that all recipients of benefits are workshy scroungers living the high life at the taxpayers’ expense,” he said. Referring to his book, Jones disputed the thesis that Britain’s working class had vanished to be replaced by “a feckless rump living on so-called ‘sink estates’”. Early examples of TV “chav” types were comedian Harry Enfield’s characters, Wayne and Waynetta Slob. And The Jeremy Kyle Show, “where the dysfunctional, troubled lives of people from largely poor backgrounds are

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served up as aren’t-they-awful entertainment”. But recently there has been “a step change” in how TV represents working people. “Chav” caricatures have increased and “replaced accurate representations of everyday working-class people. And these [real] working people are becoming invisible.” No viewers deserve to have their lives marginalised or singled out for public ridicule, said Jones. The demonisation of the working class by both Conservative and Labour politicians has given a “licence to programmemakers who may wish to make more sensationalist programmes”. Most damaging has been TV’s “recent wave of so-called ‘poverty-porn’ documentaries”. These films airbrushed out “the tough realities of the poor” and replaced them with “sensationalist, extreme caricatures”. Channel 4’s Skint, filmed at Scunthorpe’s Westcliff estate, and BBC Three’s People Like Us, a portrait of life in the Manchester suburb of Harpurhey, were referenced as examples of programmes that stigmatise working-class people. TV drama has also failed to genuinely reflect working-class lives, said Jones. Shameless, inspired by writer Paul Abbott’s turbulent childhood as a working-class boy in Burnley, had started out as a nuanced depiction of blue-collar life. But “with each successive series it has become cruder in portrayal, especially when the spotlight falls on the notorious anti-hero of the series, Frank Gallagher. [This] character has been used by various newspapers as the poster boy for Britain’s feckless poor. “Abbott would be appalled, but Gallagher has probably been quite effective in influencing public support for recent welfare cuts,” added Jones. In the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s British TV regularly created authentic working-class drama and comedy in shows such as Coronation Street,

Cathy Come Home, Steptoe and Son, Only Fools and Horses and Boys From the Blackstuff. High-profile strands such as the BBC’s Wednesday Play and Play for Today once gave opportunities to edgy writers like Tony Garnett, Ken Loach, Dennis Potter and Alan Clarke. Their work did not patronise or stereotype working-class culture. Today there are exceptions such as BBC One’s Poor Kids and Mrs Brown’s Boys, and Channel 4’s award-winning arts documentary presented by Grayson Perry, In the Best Possible Taste, and this autumn’s Educating Yorkshire. But all too often television has turned ordinary people into figures of ridicule in shows such as Big Brother and My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. Part of the problem is that economic realities make it virtually impossible for people from working-class backgrounds to shape a career in TV. Jones urged broadcasters and producers to think hard about their employment policies: “If we want television to provide a more honest, accurate portrayal of life outside the privileged bubble, it means cracking open the industry. “It risks becoming a closed shop for those from pampered backgrounds. “We need to abolish unpaid internships, which increasingly mean that only those who can afford to live off their parents can get a foot in the door… “Now, more than ever, we need a new wave of paid scholarships and traineeships to allow ambitious television producers of all backgrounds from Glasgow, Middlesbrough, the Rhondda Valley, Manchester or wherever to have a chance to have their stories told.” n

The text of Owen Jones’s RTS Huw Wheldon Memorial Lecture, ‘Totally shameless – How TV portrays the working class’ is at: www.rts.org.uk/rts-huw-wheldon-memoriallecture. The lecture was delivered in Glasgow on 6 November.

January 2014 | www.rts.org.uk | Television


Wall To Wall’s new boss, Leanne Klein, tells Andrew Billlen she is a ‘total softie’ – her tear ducts know whether a story will hook viewers

Television | www.rts.org.uk | January 2014

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arrive at Leanne Klein’s office in Gray’s Inn Road in London to find the new CEO of Wall to Wall flattered but worried. She has been reading my profiles in these pages of the industry’s great and good, and she does not feel that, at 49, she can be counted one of their number. Although the 300 people who work for her might dispute that, her concerns chime nicely with the title of her company’s most famous creation, Who Do You Think You Are? The format was devised by Alex Graham, the huge, and hugely respected, ex-journalist who founded Wall To Wall back in 1987. In October, the month of his 60th birthday, he shocked broadcasting by announcing he was stepping down as the firm’s chief executive. Klein, who has got a repertoire of jokes along the lines of his being big shoes to fill, says she was not surprised. She had been appointed to the new post of “creative director” at Wall To Wall two years ago as part of “a stepping-back process for him”. In many ways – though not including her salary, one assumes – things are not changing very much for Klein. She even keeps her corner office, the one with the desk across which everything Wall To Wall “flows”. She would, she says, resist being promoted to a position where she could not get involved in shaping ideas or watching early cuts of programmes. They currently include

Wall To Wall

The story teller who can’t stop crying ITV’s emotive Long Lost Family, BBC One’s The Voice, WDYTYA? and a new show, The Gift, in which people find ways to atone for hurt they caused others. They are all emotive programmes. Klein is a vivacious but empathetic woman. I wonder if they ever get to her. “Let me tell you, it’s becoming ridiculous. I cry so much. “Quite frequently people come into the office and I’m like streaming. ‘Oh my God, what’s wrong?’ And I say, ‘I’ve just watched a cut of this or that.’ I’m a total softie and hugely emotional. “It is not that I want to make people cry, but I think what I’ve learnt, in the 25 years I’ve been doing this, is that if you want to reach out to people, you either make them laugh or you make them cry.” The day we talk, her morning started with her making script notes for an as-yet unannounced BBC drama. The success of last year’s The Girl, an examination of the tortuous relationship between Alfred Hitchcock and his leading lady on The Birds, Tippi Hedren, has consolidated Wall To Wall’s reputation for biopics, she says. Where The Girl differed from some of its earlier hits in the genre, such as the comedic Filth: The Mary Whitehouse Story, was in its writer Gwyneth Hughes’s determination to discover the precise truth of what passed u14

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Klein’s journey Chief executive officer, Wall To Wall Age 49; 13-year-old twins, Noah and Jack Lives Stoke Newington, London Born North London to South African immigrants, Neville and Gillian Education Henrietta Barnett School, Hampstead Garden Suburb; Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, 2:1 in social psychology; Goldsmiths College, London, MA in film and TV 1989 Runner 1990 Researcher at Wall to Wall; leaves to be an assistant producer at BBC Documentaries Unit under Bill Hilary 1993 BBC Documentaries Unit, Bristol, under Peter Salmon 1994 Directs Baby It’s You for Channel 4/TLC 1995 Wins Emmy. Joins Wall to Wall permanently 1999 Executive producer, The 1900 House, winner of RTS and Peabody awards 2003 Executive producer, The Day Britain Stopped 2008 Promoted to head of factual, Wall to Wall 2010 Becomes Wall to Wall’s first creative director Biggest hits Baby It’s You, The 1900 House, The Girl Programme she wishes she had made Gogglebox – ‘It works on so many levels, as well as being a great way to catch up on TV. And it’s brilliantly cast.’ Programme she wishes television had not made ‘I’m not sure if I want to offend anyone.’ Pet hate The use of the word ‘journey’ in TV documentaries.

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The Voice 13u between the Hollywood goddess and her lascivious director. “I’ve worked with a lot of writers who do that type of drama and have their own relationship to the story and the facts – and all of those are valid – but Gwyn is absolutely dogged about getting the truth and then being true to the people who’ve shared it with her.” Talking of screen icons, I say, was it Klein’s idea to approach Kylie Minogue to be a coach on the third series of The Voice? “I wouldn’t say it was only my idea,” she says. “I mean, everyone would want Kylie.” “Conversations” had been going on for some time (years, I surmise). It helped that the Australian singer’s management was now in LA. “They know the [American] Voice very well. But you have to keep asking. “It is like with Who Do You Think You Are? We keep asking and after 10 years people who have said no suddenly have time, a space in their diary, or think, ‘I really do want to know about my family history.’” Her own might make an episode. Her parents are South African Jews who, rejecting apartheid, emigrated to England in 1960. Her father is a dentist, her mother a publisher who worked in education, her relief at getting out tempered only by solar deprivation. They raised Leanne and her older brother, a doctor, in north London, where she went to a local grammar school. Henrietta Barnett is now a top state school; then it was “more like St Trinian’s”. Having disappointed her father by her indolence, she then surprised him by turning into a straight-A student and winning a place at Cambridge. There she changed courses from natural sciences to social psychology. “But the main thing that happened there was I was involved in the theatre company and a video co-op. I suddenly thought, ‘Actually, I don’t want to be a psychologist.’ So I then applied to do an MA in film and televi-

Leanne Klein CEO, Wall To Wall

If you want to reach out to people, you either make them laugh or you make them cry sion at Goldsmiths and came back to London to do that. “I actually wanted to be a big film director, but I became really interested in documentary film-making and the idea that you could look at the lives of people around us, and reflect upon them and tell stories about them. “Ordinary lives were really interesting. I remember getting obsessed with Seven-Up and watching it over and over again, thinking, ‘This is actually really interesting. This is what I want to do.’ “It seemed a way of understanding people, which is what I am always interested in and, I guess, why I did the psychology degree.” When I ask a question that touches on social psychology it provokes one of the longest, and most thoughtful, pauses I have ever experienced in an interview. Does she worry, I ask, if The Voice contributes to a youth culture that values fame above all else? Eventually, she replies that fame is an aspiration of people – but so is baking a cake, “and, you know, it gets as many viewers”. She knows this is not the complete answer to a fraught issue. After taking “quite a lot of years” out travelling, she got her first job as a runner in Soho working for Palace Pictures, a post-production

January 2014 | www.rts.org.uk | Television

BBC

Wall To Wall

The Billen profile: Leanne Klein


house. She thinks she brought Alex Graham a sandwich as he toiled over The Media Show. Later she won an interview for The Media Show, did not get the job, tried again and became a researcher on it. She was, after all, a media expert, having written her dissertation on the representation of women in Brookside. (“It was just an excuse to watch Brookside.”) She freelanced but was drawn back to Wall To Wall, where Jane Root, the company’s cofounder, was forming an idea for a series. “Probably a lot of people thought it was mad, but I thought it was genius: it was to make a wildlife series about the human baby.” Root asked the young woman with the psychology BA to develop it while she set about the laborious business of fund-raising. In the meantime, Klein went to work for the BBC’s anthropology strand, Under the Sun, as an assistant producer, only to be relocated to BBC TV features in Bristol. There the “inspirational” Peter Salmon asked her to direct her first film for a 20-minute slot, Small Objects of Desire. Hers was on the hypodermic syringe. The BBC offered her a staff job. Back in London, Wall To Wall had finally raised the money for what was now Baby It’s You, and Graham tempted her home with the promise she could be its director. It was an amazing piece of work (still available on DVD from Amazon for a tenner and garlanded with five-star reviews) with production values and contrivances ahead of their time. In a decade of fuzzily filmed documentaries, it was shot in Super 16. In 1995, for her first series, Klein won an Emmy. “At the time I very much felt like, ‘Oh no, have I peaked too soon? Is that it? I was something like 29 and thought, ‘Is that the pinnacle?’” She loved the babies she filmed, but also loved leaving them at the end of the day. It was another six years before she had her own. Her twin boys, Jack and Noah, are now 13,

Television | www.rts.org.uk | January 2014

Leanne Klein CEO, Wall To Wall

Ordinary lives were really interesting. I remember getting obsessed with Seven-Up and watching it over and over again not only “absolutely gorgeous” but understanding about their mother’s consuming career. “I think something to do with being twins makes them quite mature and independent,” she says. Klein split from their father when they were about three, although he remains close and lives nearby. Klein has a partner, “Mark”, who divides his life between her home and Bristol, where his children from his past marriage live. “It’s complicated, but I never feel like a single mother.” But it must have been hard working during the break-up? “I don’t know. It is a bit of a blur, frankly. No, it was tough, but that’s the nice thing about being here. It is a very supportive environment.” She tries to extend the same support to her staff, to “let people have lives as well as work”. Klein is proud that more than half of the directors of the company’s factual output are women. We have a discussion about formulaic, documentary-by-numbers television, something she believes her programmes avoid. “Long Lost Family is a format. All the beats are there, but they are not there because

they are designed to be there. They are there because the storytelling is strong.” Nevertheless, she believes the next trend in factual might be towards more straightforward storytelling. Does she get sick of the word “journey” on documentaries? “Yes!” What can we do about it? “Not use it anymore!” She must leave for a meeting in Soho, but we talk the next day on the phone. She is more anxious than ever: “We talked a lot about the past and I feel there is a lot to be said about the future. I am not actually that good about looking back. “I am one of those people who lives in the moment quite a lot and the very immediate future and this is a very interesting moment for me. I am about to take on the big job from Alex and it seems incredibly exciting. “It feels like there are endless possibilities and opportunities out there. Wall To Wall is an exceptional business. It is not new, yet we continue to grow and evolve and change. It feels like a great and exciting moment rather than a moment to do a retrospective.” So where might growth come? She points to the US, where factual channels are now commissioning major, history-based dramas – such as the History Channel’s The Kennedys, Hatfields & McCoys and Vikings, and Discovery’s gold-rush serial Klondike. Wall To Wall has a number of such projects in development. Hers is, she emphasises, an unusual independent, because it covers so many genres. I wonder if there is any ground left for it to occupy. She pauses – not for as long this time. “It would,” she says, “be interesting to make a big interactive entertainment show for children.” We recall the glory Saturdays of Swap Shop and Tiswas. “But I am thinking of my boys. Would children sit down and watch three hours of television these days?” she asks. The answer to that is, if Leanne Klein were involved, they very probably would. n

15

Wall To Wall/ Beckmann

Baby It’s You


Youth viewing behaviour

Always-on generation

T

he media and communications habits of young people are changing radically, with a plethora of screens and apps competing for their attention. But there’s conflicting evidence about how fast this change is happening and the extent to which young people are abandoning traditional media. Take-up of smart phones and tablets continues to rise, but young people are returning to the living room to enjoy the family TV viewing experience. In an attempt to get under the skin of young people to see if their behaviour could have implications for the sector it regulates, Ofcom undertook research into the wider social and economic trends and drew on a range of external data and qualitative research. This included interviews with media and lifestyle brands that are in tune with young people. We focus here on some possible signals for the UK’s audiovisual industries.

Television viewing We have often been told that linear TV would be a casualty of the extraordinary pace of technological change; that younger people’s heads would be turned by social networking, blogs, vlogs, apps and online games. But despite all these new digital distractions, younger people are still watching linear TV. The average 16- to 24-year-old watched two hours and 36 minutes of TV per day in 2012, including linear and DVR viewing – down only slightly from two hours and 42 minutes in 2002. For 25- to 34-year-olds, viewing remained unchanged over the decade at three hours and 18 minutes per day. Across all age groups in the UK, the average person watched four

16

Public domain

Young people still watch TV – but are multi-tasking while doing it. Three young Ofcom staffers, Elle Hall, Jaspal Samra and Rebecca Taylor, examine what they are really up to hours of TV in 2012, up from three hours and 36 minutes 10 years earlier. But there is one very big change. A decade ago younger people would sit in front of the TV and give it their full attention. They’d watch Pop Idol or EastEnders, transfixed, and do little else. Today, their attention is divided. Our research found that 16-24s are much more likely to be media “multi-tasking” while watching TV.

Who’s watching? Age Year group

Time spent watching TV daily (including on DVRs)

16-24s

2012 2002

2 hours 36 minutes 2 hours 42 minutes

25-34s

2012 2002

3 hours 18 minutes 3 hours 18 minutes

All ages 2012 2002

4 hours 0 minutes 3 hours 36 minutes Source: Ofcom

Nearly three quarters (74%) say they regularly multitask with other media, compared with 53% of all respondents. We broke this down into two types of multi­ tasking. First, media “meshing” (carrying out other media and communications activities to enhance the viewing experience) and second, media “stacking” – activities on another device that are unrelated to the TV programme. Among 16-24s, 44% say that they are regularly media meshing, which might be tweeting in response to a hashtag about a programme they’re watching, or instant mes-

saging their friends about their favourite soap opera. This compares with a quarter of all those we surveyed. More 16-24s are media stacking: on a weekly basis 69%, compared with only 49% of all those surveyed. While they might be browsing the web or updating their social-media status, many young people are present in the living room but watching audio-visual content on a different device. The research shows that these activities are less popular the older people are. What’s less clear is to what extent the proliferation of meshing and stacking are linked to age and lifestyle (a generational effect) or to the pace of technology adoption.

Always connected Many young people brought up in the dig­ital age are unfamiliar with the analogue world. They have become accustomed to having tech­nology at their fingertips and being always con­nected to mobile data services and wifi. The smart phone – offering precisely this kind of connectivity – is the device of choice for many young people. Three quarters (74%) of 16-24s own one, compared with a UK average of 51%. More than half of young people describe their smart phone as essential. While young people’s communications habits and behaviour might appear very different to the wider population, we found that their underlying motivations remain broadly the same as they were for previous generations at the same age. Smart phones and other “second screens” allow young people to be more connected than previous generations, but this desire to stay in touch is based on traditional, age-old concerns about missing out on something socially. We found that the Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) is driving young people to be always

January 2014 | www.rts.org.uk | Television


A day in the life

All pictures: Ofcom

How TV sits alongside other screen-based activities

For Elle (22), mornings are really the only time she watches live TV, for the news headlines before heading into work. She prefers free textbased communications, such as iMessage and Snapchat, to share texts and photos. Elle uses her Playstation 3 to watch Netflix on TV and picks up her tablet to browse the internet and shop online. She doesn’t use her laptop anymore. Elle Hall is a graduate advisor connected as a practical necessity, usually by checking social networks on their smart phones so they can keep in constant communication with friends. We’ve seen how these new behaviours, made possible by new technology, sometimes have unexpected consequences. For example, new functionality – such as instant messaging apps that indicate whether a person has actually read a message – can create added pressures to respond immediately. For some people this is too much: we heard stories about some people taking “digital detoxes” to get away from the constant buzz of their phone. It’s no surprise that in our research we encountered people who claimed to be addicted to their smart phones.

Vlogging and user-generated content Young people now have more creative outlets than ever before. Video blogging, or “vlogging”, on sites such as YouTube is very popular among younger age groups, whether they’re consuming content, subscribing to channels they enjoy or posting their own content for others to watch. Uploading videos onto social networks allows posters to express themselves and to reach out to others with similar interests. On the other hand, by watching user-generated videos online, young people are able

Television | www.rts.org.uk | January 2014

Jaspal (31) is very reliant on his smart phone for everyday communications and media. He’s not glued to it constantly, but it’s definitely his main device. He likes to watch some of the mediumform documentaries and features (10-20 minutes long) on YouTube from producers such as Vice and PBS’s digital strands (Ideas Channel and Off Book). Jaspal Samra is a strategy analyst

Hall, Samra and Taylor Ofcom

The fear of missing out is driving young people to be always connected as a practical necessity to learn new skills as well as keep themselves entertained. Ten years ago, if you were a budding Chris Martin, you would have bought a book from the local music shop to learn the guitar. Today, the first port of call is more likely to be an instructive video on YouTube showing you how to play Coldplay. More than half (54%) of 16-24s stream or download short video clips on the internet at least once a week, compared with 29% of all internet users. Like many of the trends we identified through working on this project, these behaviours are based on traditional motivations. Where young people might previously have

A typical day for Rebecca (26) involves contacting friends and family on her mobile, checking Facebook – but not interacting with it – and reading the news on a smart phone via a newspaper app. She preferto communicate with friends via email, SMS and WhatsApp. She uses Snapchat a lot now, as well. In the mornings she checks messages, Facebook, email and watches TV. Rebecca Taylor is a strategy analyst consulted a friend or sifted through books and magazines to find out how to do their make-up a particular way or to find a review of a film, they can just open YouTube and find it straight away. It’s clearly a crowded market, but some vloggers have become popular and attracted mainstream media interest. Danisnotonfire is a 22-year-old British vlogger who can claim 148 million views of his comedy-based vlog, based mostly in his flat. His popularity links in well with a general trend among young people to look for authenticity in icons that they follow. They are increasingly interested in “real people” they can relate to, rather than celebrities. Dan was recently scouted by Radio 1 and now presents a weekend show. This demonstrates how established players in the broadcasting environment are looking to new media to find talent who can cross over into mainstream TV and radio. What does it mean for the future? We do not profess to have the answers to what will happen over the next 10 or 20 years, and we do not know which trends will turn out to be transitory or enduring. But this kind of work will always be critical in helping Ofcom inform its view of what could happen in the future, beyond what we see in our spreadsheets. n

17


AMC Networks

AMC’s purchase of Chellomedia is a huge step change for the US cable network, reports Kate Bulkley

U

S cable network AMC boasts some of the hottest TV drama in the world. In September the final, 75-minute instalment of Breaking Bad was watched by 10.1 million US viewers eager to discover what fate had up its sleeve for Walter White. Zombie thriller The Walking Dead gets even bigger audiences for AMC in the US. The Season 4 premiere in October attracted 16.1 million viewers. Mad Men is another AMC signature show. But AMC is making headlines not just for the shows it commissions and for its ratings that regularly beat the big US networks at their own game. It is also in the limelight thanks to the $1bn

18

Breaking Bad purchase by its parent company – publicly listed AMC Networks – of European channels business Chellomedia from Liberty Global. AMC is pushing to become a truly global television powerhouse. “The fact that Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Hell on Wheels and The Walking Dead are working well outside the US made us think that shows like these could find a good home on channels around the globe that we own,” says Josh Sapan, president and CEO of AMC Networks. Although the investment community agrees that AMC paid a “full price” for Chellomedia – an estimated 11 times earnings, according to Morgan Stanley – it was a competitive process. There were believed to be about a dozen serious bidders, including Turner,

Scripps Networks, Fox and Discovery. The opportunity to buy a set of channels with such a diverse footprint is a rare event. “We’ve looked at everything that we could that came along, but we were never determined to be a vigorous bidder before now,” says Sapan. Competition in the international channels business is intense. “If you look at the speed with which the platform business is consolidating – and the potential for more consolidation on the telco and mobile side – then I don’t think anyone feels relaxed about the scale of their channels business,” observed one international TV executive following Chellomedia’s sale to AMC. Chello was the biggest international chan-

January 2014 | www.rts.org.uk | Television

AMC

AMC takes the path of Discovery


nel businesses not hard-wired into a producerdistributor to become available for a while, so no wonder there was widespread interest. The deal transforms AMC Networks’ international business overnight. It adds 65 channels in 138 countries that reach 390 million households. With revenues of $451m last year, Chellomedia will boost AMC’s international revenues from around 3% of the group’s total to 25%, forecasts Guggenheim Securities equities analyst Mike Morris. While Morris is bullish about the “long-term potential” for international growth, he cautions that Chellomedia’s business “is complex and it is likely we will see some growing pains as the company evaluates existing assets and sees opportunities to leverage content”. Sapan is making a hefty bet on the Chellomedia acquisition, but he believes that owning a significant international channels business can help AMC grow its production base. The move also helps it diversify its revenue base. For example, as part of the deal AMC now owns Chello DMC, a channel play-out service based in the Netherlands that delivers hundreds of channels to cable and satellite platforms around the world. He explains: “Chello had a vast and robust set of channels. We think that ultimately we will be able to make these channels better, with a user experience that is better.” Sapan predicts that AMC is likely to end up with “a more complete system” of producing and distributing programming across a bigger international footprint than at present. However, it won’t happen overnight. More than half the Chellomedia channels are sports, lifestyle, children’s and factual services. They are not natural homes for AMC’s entertainment and movie programming. Sceptics argue that Chello is a bit of a “ragbag” of channels, many of which are not rele­ vant to AMC’s movies and drama activities. But Sapan demurs, saying that AMC is “very comfortable” operating channels other than those dedicated to the network’s core strengths. AMC is also inheriting several joint ventures. These include channels operated in tandem with CBS, MGM and A+E Networks. Today AMC distributes its programmes globally primarily through third parties such as Fox and Sony, respectively distributors of The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad. The global appeal of Breaking Bad continues to grow. AMC charged US advertisers $400,000 for a 30-second commercial during the finale, according to Advertising Age. This is what a US broadcast network such as ABC would charge for a spot in its primetime hit, Modern Family. AMC reported a 59% jump in its thirdquarter earnings, driven by strong advertising sales around its original programming. Ad revenue grew 36% to $146m. The company’s stockmarket valuation on 26 November was $4.63bn. In the longer term, Sapan and the equity analysts who follow AMC Networks would like to see the group monetise its programmes globally on fully owned channels. In other words, replicate what Discovery has so suc-

Television | www.rts.org.uk | January 2014

cessfully done with its production and international channels business during the past 20 years. “The acquired [Chellomedia] networks could add a Discovery-like dimension to the story in the future,” Vasily Karasyov, of equity analyst Sterne Agee, wrote in a recent note. It is well-documented that Discovery’s international business has been growing much faster than its US business; international revenues now account for 37% of the company’s total. “If the integration goes well [for AMC] and Chellomedia starts contributing noticeably to the operating earnings growth, the story could become more attractive to long-term investors,” added Karasyov. Sapan admits that putting flagship shows such as Breaking Bad and Mad Men on owned international channels will not be a “black and white” decision, thanks to long-standing distribution agreements. But he believes that having a bigger international distribution footprint will help in financing and green-lighting new commissions. Sapan is clearly determined to continue making shows with both US and international appeal. Already in the pipeline is a prequel to Breaking Bad, entitled Better Call Saul, featuring criminal lawyer Saul Goodman, played by Bob Odenkirk. “We are fundamentally a content company,” notes Sapan. “Our production has increased at a very rapid rate, both in scripted and reality.” AMC’s purchase of the Chellomedia business also seems to have silenced rumours that AMC is itself an acquisition target. Certainly, its international ambitions developed relatively late in the day. AMC only began extending its four US channels – Sundance Channel, IFC, WE tv and flagship brand AMC – outside its native country eight years ago, when AMC debuted in Canada. Three years later, in 2009, Sundance Channel and WE tv arrived in Europe and Asia; it wasn’t until this September that the Sundance Channel was rolled out in Latin America. A year ago AMC’s four channels had approximately 16 million subscribers outside the US. Sapan and AMC’s COO, Ed Carroll, both have more than 25 years’ experience in the TV programming and channels business. They worked together at Rainbow Media Holdings, the programming and channels arm of New York cable company Cablevision that was originally founded in 1980. In July 2011 Rainbow Media Holdings was spun off to become a publicly listed company, AMC Networks. Over the years before the spin-off, Rainbow Media operated a variety of channels, including Bravo, Sundance Channel and a number of regional sports channels, plus Voom, a failed bouquet of HD channels. “We have a frame of reference for what we hope to achieve with Chellomedia,” says Sapan. “We are intrigued and invigorated by the opportunity to take channels that are less developed in their growth pattern and find ways to inject strong programming into them to make them bigger and better.” n

Josh Sapan CEO, AMC Networks

We are fundamentally a content company. Our production has increased at a very rapid rate, both in scripted and reality

AMC at a glance 1984 American Movie Classics debuts as a premium US cable channel specialising in re-runs of classic feature films. They are shown minus commercials, cuts and colourisation       1989 AMC has 39 million US subscribers 1996 AMC’s first commissioned series, comedy drama Remember WENN debuts 2002 AMC changes its programming policy to embrace movies from all eras and more original shows 2006 Broken Trail, a commissioned western, is launched on AMC 2007 Mad Men debuts on AMC 2008 Breaking Mad bows on AMC 2010 AMC launches season 1 of The Walking Dead 2013 AMC buys Chellomedia for $1bn 

19


Content

Anatomy of a hit

Matthew Bell hears how Broadchurch’s creators set about overturning many of the established conventions of the crime serial

20

I

TV’s Broadchurch was one of 2013’s landmark TV shows. It reminded everyone that audiences on a mainstream channel are prepared to return week after week to watch a complex crime drama (as BBC Four viewers had proved with The Killing) over a lengthy run. The critics loved the eight-part serial, too, and Broadchurch is expected to triumph at TV award ceremonies in the coming weeks. At a packed RTS event in late November, creator, writer and executive producer Chris Chibnall – together with Olivia Colman, who played DS Ellie Miller, director James Strong and executive producer Jane Featherstone, CEO of production company Kudos Film and Television – explained how Broadchurch was brought to television. Boyd Hilton, TV and reviews editor of Heat magazine, asked the questions. Recalling the origins of Broadchurch, Chibnall said: “It was born out of pain. I did this show called Camelot for Starz in the US. It

was the single most miserable experience of my life. “Never again: 13 sets of producers; very unhappy with the show; a terrible process. And I got pneumonia and ended up in hospital.” Chibnall took time off and wrote Broadchurch on spec, assisted by script executive Sam Hoyle. Strong had worked with Chibnall on BBC Two’s United, which told the story of the Manchester United “Busby babes” and the Munich air crash. He visited the writer at his Dorset home, a mile from the cliffs that would feature prominently in the series. Strong was struck by the beauty of the landscape, which he would use as a contrast to Broadchurch’s human pain. “The premise of [Broadchurch] is that this is a terrible event happening in a beautiful place,” he said. Chibnall took his script to (then-ITV drama chief) Laura Mackie. “There’s nothing like an ITV hit,” he argued, holding up the success of “extraordinary ITV

January 2014 | www.rts.org.uk | Television


&

From left: James Strong, Jane Featherstone, Boyd Hilton, Chris Chibnall and Olivia Colman

Question

Answer

Q A 

Did acting in Broadchurch affect you personally? Olivia Colman, DS Ellie Miller: No.

The emotional moments are real at the time… but the moment it stops, you know that you’re pretending… I love acting but… there’s nothing special about what I do – I put on other people’s clothes, I say other people’s words… I’m in touch with my emotions, but it’s just pretending.

Q A 

How did you balance the whodunit and character scenes? Chris Chibnall, writer: We gravitated

Why did you switch between fixed and handheld cameras? James Strong, director: We talked

about an emotional and a physical landscape… The wide shots set the geography of the people within a room, so you see their physical relationships. For the emotional relationships, you are intimate with them, so a handheld camera allows you to be as physically close as you can be to [the actors] without feeling that you’re interfering with them.

Q A 

Why make a new version for the US? Will it be glossier than the British Broadchurch? Jane Featherstone, executive producer: Downton Abbey is watched by

millions of Americans but contemporary British drama doesn’t generally get watched by many. No matter how successful it is you only get a tiny percentage of the population, which is what the UK version of Broadchurch got [on BBC America]. There was an opportunity to tell the same story on a different scale to a much bigger American audience… Because the story is so universal we felt it could travel.

crime dramas” such as Cracker and Prime Suspect as proof. Mackie called Featherstone, suggesting that her company produce the series. “It was an amazing script with huge heart,” recalled the Kudos chief, who immediately grabbed the opportunity. At the RTS event, Chibnall revealed for the first time the influence of Dorset’s most famous novelist and poet, Thomas Hardy, on Broadchurch: “That’s why it’s Wessex Police and [the policeman’s] name is Hardy; it’s why David Bradley’s character is reading Jude the Obscure.” Conceding that he could be guilty of being “over wanky”, Chibnall admitted that the series borrowed heavily from both the Wessex landscapes of Hardy and his notion of a “wrathful god”. Broadchurch mirrors the bleakness of much of Hardy’s work. The programme is part whodunit – DS Miller and her boss, DI Alec Hardy, played by David Tennant, are searching for the u22

Television | www.rts.org.uk | January 2014

ITV

Paul Hampartsoumian/ITV

towards the characters… [We put] the bare minimum of procedure in and as much character as we could.

Q A 

Q A 

A 

Q A  A  A 

A 

Chris Chibnall has said the show was ‘aggressively plotted’. What did he mean by this? Chris Chibnall: Plotting to the structure

of an ITV hour… Each ad break had a mini cliffhanger… and then [at the end] you have the biggest cliffhanger of the episode… If [the hour is] plotted quite tightly and it’s always progressing, it hopefully earns you the space [to put in] the emotion.

Did you change your mind about Joe, DS Miller’s husband, as the murderer? Chris Chibnall: Ellie was gay in the

original [draft], but it didn’t quite work… Joe didn’t exist.

Jane Featherstone, executive producer: Chris always wanted [the mur-

derer] to be someone connected to [Miller]. Chris Chibnall: Once we’d settled on Joe… way before Broadchurch was greenlit, the murderer never changed.

James Strong: The word “glossy” won’t be in our vocabulary… It will have the DNA of the same show, everything that made Broadchurch special… but we will find the nuances and things that make it unique to Gracepoint, this new place we’re going to create. It will be new and different but the same as well… It won’t be a horrible Hollywood remake, not if I have anything to do with it. Chris Chibnall: I started writing in theatre and the idea of having different productions of a play is completely normal – I’ve been really lucky and had plays performed around the world… It’s nice that people seem quite possessive about the UK version and ask, “Why would you want to remake it in America?” But why wouldn’t you transpose it and put it into a different landscape and with a different ensemble?… Although, to be honest, our main focus is on doing another great story for ITV.

21


Content

21 u killer of a young boy – but it is more interested in looking at the effect of a murder on the immediate family and the town’s wider community. “We never forgot our responsibility when we were making it, to portray as truthful a response to this event as possible,” explained Strong. “That’s where this show differs from others, where there’s a murder and the policeman tells the family that he will catch the killer, but then leaves the family behind. “In [Broadchurch] we stay with the family the whole way through. It’s as much about the emotional impact of the crime as the ‘who did it?’” “Part of the impulse for writing the show was to do the scenes you normally cut out,” added Chibnall. “We discovered that the emotion became the plot. I wanted to write what it would feel like to live through a police procedural, because it didn’t feel as if that was being expressed in other dramas.” Colman was the first choice to play Miller. “Every now and again you get a script that you can’t put down, that you’re turning the pages of frantically,” she recalled. “I loved the fact that [the character] was part of the community, and a loving wife and mother,” Colman continued. “You don’t often get to do that: to play normal and nice with massive amounts of drama.” “We had David in mind from very early on, too,” said Featherstone. “Chris’s development of that duo’s relationship happened organically – he was still writing the script as the casting happened.” Other big-name actors followed, including Andrew Buchan, Jodie Whittaker, David Bradley and Pauline Quirke. The casting and crewing policy, recalled Featherstone, was “no wankers allowed”. Chibnall explained: “It’s your day-to-day job. So you think, ‘Why would we work with people who are going to be difficult or miserable?’” And, added Colman: “With some of the really difficult [scenes], if you don’t feel you can trust everybody, you can’t do good work.” The actors were kept in the dark about the identity of the killer – Miller’s husband Joe, played by Matthew Gravelle – until late in the day. Chibnall called Gravelle when he sent him the script for the final episode. “I rang him and said, ‘It’s you.’ There was a long pause before he said, ‘Brilliant’, as he realised he

was going to get loads of scenes,” the writer recalled. Colman, too, was thrilled at her screen husband’s unmasking. “It’s terribly upsetting, but from a performance point of view it’s really fun to do that stuff,” she said. The killer’s identity, despite the acres of newsprint Broadchurch attracted, was kept hidden from viewers as the story played out. “The press were great. Lots of people knew and I really thought it was going to leak, but nobody leaked it,” said Chibnall. The identity was revealed at the beginning of the final episode, but the cause was left unclear – was Joe Miller a paedophile? “Most crime dramas try to tie things up neatly but Broadchurch leaves this gaping, ambiguous hole in the middle,” said Featherstone. The first episode aired on ITV in early March with a consolidated audience of 9.1 million – the highest weekday launch of a new drama across all broadcasters since the same channel’s Whitechapel in January 2009 – and around 10 million for the denouement. Broadchurch became a cultural phenomenon: hard to avoid in the media and a common subject for discussion in the office and pub. “I existed in a state of disbelief for most of the run and still don’t really believe it,” said Chibnall. “It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced because of the sheer number of people who had seen it,” added Colman. While it was on, the actress took cabs rather than her normal Tube train or bus because so many people were badgering her to reveal the identity of the murderer. A second series goes into production in 2014, although the panel remained tight-lipped about details. ITV has promised the series will be “completely different”, though Olivia Colman has subsequently revealed that she will return as DS Miller. Chibnall, Featherstone and Strong (and Tennant, who reprises his role as DI Hardy) are also heavily involved with a version for Fox, retitled Gracepoint, which begins shooting in the US in January. And the secret of Broadchurch’s success? “The whodunit element was fascinating, but I think for me the whodunit was a disguise that people used to be able to respond to the show the next day,” argued Featherstone. “Ultimately it was the emotional [content] of the show that people really loved.” n

Chris Chibnall Writer

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ITV

We gravitated towards the characters… [We put] the bare minimum of procedure in and as much character as we could

‘Broadchurch: Anatomy of a hit’ was a joint RTS early evening/RTS Futures event held at the Cavendish Conference Centre in central London on 28 November. The producers were Sasha Breslau, Sally Doganis, Anna Fern and Barney Hooper.

January 2014 | www.rts.org.uk | Television


Huw Jones S4C’s stakeholders extend far beyond its audience; engaging with them all is a complex business, says Huw Jones

Our Friend in the West

A

ccountability comes in many forms, especially if you are a minority-language broadcaster in receipt of substantial public funds. A recent 10-day period saw the S4C Authority and senior staff members taking part in a series of events, unconnected other than by the different types of legitimate accountability they represent. Since April 2013, S4C’s principal funding has come from the BBC Trust under an Operating Agreement signed in 2012. This requires the S4C Authority, while retaining its operational and editorial independence, to account to the Trust for its use of licence-fee funding. We agreed it would be useful for some Authority members to meet the Trust’s Audience and Performance Committee, chaired by David Liddiment, before the end of the year, and we drafted what was, in effect, an interim annual report, sharing our analysis of service performance and challenges. One advantage of submitting ourselves to this process is that Trust members are no strangers to complex issues relating to broadcasting priorities, such as those arising from the direction of new technology. Such meetings can give us fresh insights. Next up was a visit to our Cardiff HQ from secretary of state Maria Miller. The funding S4C receives from central government, though much reduced, remains very important. By law, the secretary of state is responsible for ensuring that S4C has sufficient resources to allow it to fulfil its statutory remit. Also, it is through her department, the DCMS, that any future legislation that impacts directly or indirectly on S4C will be introduced. It was a positive and cordial meeting, and the opportunity for the secretary of state to meet staff and share our perspectives seemed to be appreciated. Interestingly, our next annual report will be presented initially to the BBC Trust, which will provide a foreword before the final document is then submitted to the secretary of state and Parliament, as in previous years. The third event was a meeting between S4C’s CEO, Ian Jones, the Welsh Government’s first minister, Carwyn Jones, and culture minister John Griffiths. Broadcasting is not devolved and S4C receives no funding from the Welsh Government. It is, however, consulted by the UK Government on S4C Authority appointments

and other major issues, and is naturally seen as an important stakeholder in S4C on behalf of the Welsh public. This meeting dealt primarily with the possible relocation of S4C’s HQ outside Cardiff at some future date, and the possible co-location of some functions within BBC Wales’s proposed new Cardiff premises. Finally, we held the fourth of our 2013 Viewers’ Evenings, this time in Caerphilly – a Valleys gateway a few miles outside Cardiff, and an area that in recent years has seen very significant take-up of Welsh-medium education. We always come away from these meetings with at least one substantial new idea or perspective, as well as a general reality check on how viewers think we’re doing. After a brief introduction, the meeting splits into tables of 10 for discussion, there is a brief interlude for entertainment – often a local choral group – followed by a “plenary” hosted by an independent presenter who draws out the main themes that have been raised. Barb ratings samples in Wales are small (even more so when it comes to Welsh-speakers) and the figures they provide can be too volatile to capture all aspects of the response to a service such as ours, particularly when it comes to individual programmes. So this kind of direct interaction provides useful additional insights, both where there is consensus and where there are differences of opinion.  We make a point of visiting different parts of Wales in turn – urban and rural, north, south, east and west. We try hard to ensure we have participants of all ages and backgrounds, both regular and occasional viewers, Welsh-speakers and nonWelsh-speakers. Increasingly, we feel the need to hear from the growing number of viewers outside Wales as well. Simultaneous translation is provided from Welsh to English for those who need it. The resulting picture – at the very least – ensures that our own discussions about the service are informed by views other than those of the Cymric chatterati. And there is no better way of experiencing real personal accountability than having to face a barrage of questions from an irate viewer – though I’m glad to say that the good people of Caerphilly were, on the whole, very supportive. n

Huw Jones S4C

[Accountability] ensures that our own discussions about the service are informed by views other than those of the Cymric chatterati

Television | www.rts.org.uk | January 2014

Huw Jones is chairman of S4C.

23


RTS All Party Parliamentary Group: Spectrum

Viewers beware:

A second switchover looms

Maggie Brown listens to rival camps as the battle between broadcasters and mobile operators hots up over spectrum allocation

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I

n Britain the transition from analogue to digital TV was completed with ease. But now millions of households are potentially facing a second round of switchover. The reason is a tussle over scarce frequencies between mobile phone operators and freeto-air broadcasters – which mobile is tipped to win. “Spectrum wars”, hosted by the RTS All Party Parliamentary Group and chaired by the Rt Hon The Lord Fowler at the Houses of Parliament, was therefore a timely event. RTS chief executive Theresa Wise set the scene. She said the “present decision in principle is that the 700MHz range (694MHz to 790MHz, used for digital terrestrial broadcasting) will be auctioned off in due course”. This will be thrashed out by the World Radio Conference, part of the International Telecommunications Union, in 2015. Wise explained: “The backdrop is that the mobile sector is experiencing unprecedented growth in mobile data, mainly driven by the popularity of smart phones and tablets. “So among the detail of what needs to be worked out is what happens to digital terrestrial television. Can it be fitted into the spectrum that’s left?” The loss of coverage could mean “some viewers lose some of their services, while others would need new equipment.” Hundreds of thousands of UK homes might be affected. Any major change to digital terrestrial tele­ vision’s spectrum would pose problems for the broadcasters. If they are cleared, or partly cleared, out of the 700MHz band, it would reduce the number of channels they can run and make it difficult to introduce extra services. Another significant issue is: who would pay

for the disruption to viewers and broadcasters? Furthermore, DTT platforms Freeview and YouView are controlled by groups of shareholders, making it harder to reach decisions on how to adapt. The mid-2020s are potentially a period of major change – and 2026 in particular. This is because the next 10-year BBC licence will expire in 2026, as will the DTT licences. Meanwhile, the 10-year licences of ITV, Channel 4 and Channel Five are due to be renewed from 2015. “The telecoms companies are very keen to push for DTT to be abandoned, and the mobile companies will then get their hands on more spectrum,” said Wise. She added: “The development of superfast broadband has led techno enthusiasts to say DTT will no longer be needed; the fixed-line suppliers could become the gatekeepers for TV. “They would like that very much. But does the average consumer lose out?” Wise noted there had been no cost-benefit analysis. Broadcast technology is very efficient, reaching 99.8% of the population – but fibre might not be as practicable in rural areas as DTT is. Kip Meek, director of spectrum strategy for mobile operator Everything Everywhere, said: “The debate is really [about] when. I think most people in this area say mobile will get it, in 2018 [at the] earliest, to 2019, 2020.” His overall message was that broadcasters should seek collaboration with mobile companies. Broadcasters also need to address “a more efficient way of using digital TV spectrum” in the longer term via the new DVB-T2 high-definition TV standard. Adopting a voracious “big bad wolf” stance, he said “demand for spectrum is going mad,

January 2014 | www.rts.org.uk | Television


Kip Meek Everything Everywhere

James Purnell BBC

We love the low frequencies. DTT sits in the sweet spot, [where] the signal travels further and fewer masts are required to cover an area

Giving [DTT] up for something we don’t know is going to materialise is quite bold. It is not proven that the best way to deliver video is over 4G networks

five years to work collaboratively with people in this room [broadcasters] and figure a way forward.” This point was taken up by James Purnell, the BBC’s director of strategy. He warned that digital switchover “happened with the grain of change. There is a danger that policy makers will think it is easy to do again. “Lessons learnt from the past might not be the obvious ones.” He continued: “The title of this session [“Spectrum wars”] implies there is a furious row taking place. “I’m not sure that’s how we should perceive it. We have more to gain by co-operating than competing. We [the BBC] are not advocates of the status quo. Tony Hall’s vision is full of digital innovation. “Much of it cannot be done without mobile networks. Any idea we sit on different sides of a zero-sum game is wrong. It’s a cake we would all like to grow together.” But Purnell emphasised: “It should be about what is right for consumers and public policy.” Consumers are getting massive value from free-to-air broadcasting, he said. As 45% of all viewing is via DTT, “giving it up for something we don’t know is going to materialise is quite bold. It is not proven that the best way to deliver video is over 4G networks”. He added: “Auctions – be very careful not to create a system that captures economic value, not public value.” Purnell said people have a preference for free-to-air, not pay. At the moment the only way to deliver a universal service is through DTT. It also provides competition in the market­ place. He questioned whether the growth

predictions for mobile data and video would prove correct. If the reality is that a European decision has been made to give the frequencies to mobile operators, they should pay for the transition, not licence-fee payers. “We at the BBC see huge opportunities in very fast mobile networks. We just want to do it in a way that is pro-consumer.” Martin Stott, Channel Five’s head of corporate affairs, warned that “because we have had free-to-air television we assume it can carry on for ever and ever, but this is chipping away at it. After a transfer for 700MHz, will DTT be robust enough and have enough capacity to develop? We can’t take it for granted.” Ofcom’s director of policy development, David Mahoney, said that Purnell was right to say that “conditions for fibre-based, free-toair television are very difficult”. He added: “If 700MHz does end up being cleared [for mobile] and we have a second switchover, it will be difficult to make people buy new equipment when it’s not clear the picture is better. It will be a hard sell.” Purnell observed that “the broadcasters didn’t make their case as well as they could have” at the WRC. As the debate ended and private conversations sprang up, it was clear that the experts believe the issue is basically settled. The 700MHz band will be ceded. A second switchover is on the cards. But when this will occur is not yet clear. n

All pictures: Paul Hampartsoumian

Top table, from left: Kip Meek, Lord Fowler, Theresa Wise and James Purnell

with a 50% compound growth rate year after year. At EE we think 66% of total traffic will be video by 2017, which is a very short time frame. We have huge growth and underlying demand for spectrum.” About two-thirds of the 700MHz range is suitable for mobile. Meek elaborated: “We love the low frequencies. DTT sits in the sweet spot, the signal travels further and fewer masts are required to cover an area – a third of the number of masts needed for high-frequency networks. “And it provides a better service indoors. Do not confuse the future of good television programmes with the survival of a particular platform… “Do we really care about DTT, when satellite, cable, fixed-line and mobile are all means of transmission?” But he conceded that additional masts are needed for low frequencies in urban areas. Therefore the premium commanded by 700MHz diminishes over time. Later, as the debate widened out, Meek conceded that the mobile operators had made a “bit of a fetish” out of the low frequencies. He also said candidly: “Don’t think of mobile companies as having limitless pockets. “A lot of projections assume unrestrained investment [but] ARPU [average revenue per unit] is going down, not up, assisted by a crackdown on ‘margin havens’ on, for example, excessive roaming charges. “The notion that we are gasping for an auction of 700MHz next year is not so. We want a very orderly, simple process around 700MHz. “EE is quite interested in helping to form a mobile video alliance to deal with lots of issues that come up. “We think we can use the period of the next

Television | www.rts.org.uk | January 2014

‘Spectrum wars’ was an RTS All Party Parliamentary Group event held at the Houses of Parliament on 26 November. The producer was Sue Robertson.

25


RTS Futures

Matthew Bell tunes in as leading practitioners share their hard-earned experience with young job seekers

26

T

he latest RTS Futures event, hosted enthusiastically by BBC One National Lottery programme presenter and radio DJ OJ Borg, assembled a panel of series producers and talent chiefs keen to pass on their knowledge to a sell-out audience of young TV hopefuls. A job in television is a tough gig to land. Talent, enthusiasm, hard work and persistence can only get you so far – but knowhow can take you the rest of the way. And so, over two hours in early November, the industry insiders revealed the tricks of their trade: how to network and charm potential employers; write CVs; and hone interview techniques – lightening the lesson with recollections of their own, often lucky, breaks into the TV industry. Introducing the event, “How to get a job in TV (by the people who really know)”, RTS Futures chair Camilla Lewis argued that “charm is the name of the game in television – making people like you is the trick.” FremantleMedia UK head of talent Emily Gale agreed. She recommended “being

Paul Hampartsoumian

How to get a job in TV friendly, smiling and talking to people”. There is a difference, however, reckoned Borg, between being friendly, over-friendly and even creepy. “Treat someone you are meeting for the first time like someone you are meeting for the first time – show manners, be friendly without being too pushy or too in their face,” advised BBC talent manager Elsa Sharp, who recruits researchers and producers for history and business programmes and has also written a book, How To Get a Job in Television. Luck, of course, also plays a part, as Ed Booth, series producer of BBC One talent show The Voice, noted, recalling his big break. With a degree under his belt and as a fan of Chris Evans’ breakfast radio show, Booth took his CV to Virgin Radio. “In reception, there was a [huge] pile of CVs,” he said. Adding his own résumé to the pile seemed pointless, but he did. “As I was walking away down the street, the head runner ran out the door after me. He said that his work experience person had just walked out on him and asked if I wanted to replace him.” Booth secured a job with Virgin and moved

January 2014 | www.rts.org.uk | Television


All pictures: Paul Hampartsoumian

How to improve

your CV

to what was then Evans’ company, Ginger Productions. He went on to work on shows such as Strictly Come Dancing and So You Think You Can Dance. Gale also struck lucky. Having failed to land a job with BBC Radio in Plymouth, she was given a week’s work experience by the same employer. “That week turned into six months. They didn’t pay me a huge amount, but it gave me good experience,” she recalled. From regional radio she landed a job on BBC One consumer show Watchdog, starting as a runner and working her way up to producer. “Sometimes you get knocked back, but you’ve just got to keep going,” she added. TV experience is not essential to get your foot in the door, emphasised Gale. She once interviewed someone who had been working in a shoe shop: “He said he’d worked with difficult customers and I thought that was transferable to TV because we work with difficult contributors. “So, don’t ever feel that the job you’re doing won’t help in some way in telly.” Susie Worster, Wall To Wall’s head of crea-

Television | www.rts.org.uk | January 2014

tive talent, agreed. She explained that when considering applicants without TV experience she is “looking for anything people have done that tells you about them”. She recalled meeting a former Jesuit priest and youth worker who has now built a career in TV. “It took him a while to get there, but he’s now a producer/director. Everyone’s got something of interest that they’ve done. “Wall To Wall makes specialist factual programmes such as Who Do You Think You Are? So if you have a history degree, that’s pretty much all you need.” Even a university degree is not a prerequisite, added Gale: “If you haven’t been to university, you can have a really successful career in television – don’t be put off.” However, getting a foot in the door is important, agreed the panel – no matter how you do it and even if it involves little more than making tea as a runner. “I would never not take a job if offered one in TV,” said Booth. And when a young telly hopeful has taken that first step, it’s time to put some networking skills into practice. Make contacts and talk to the com-u28

The audience was shown two CVs and asked to pick the best. Overwhelmingly, they chose the one that put work experience first. The panel agreed, adding that each job should include (with the most recent job first): the main responsibilities of the role; when you worked on the show; and the name of the programme, the broadcaster and the production company. The programme credits could be prefaced by a brief two- or three-line profile of the job applicant, although the panel was split on the wisdom of this. CVs should also include qualifications and references. Samantha Beddoes, series producer of BBC Two ratings topper The Great British Bake Off, advised: ‘Include key words such as selfshooting or casting and they will come up when producers search the [talent] database.’ BBC talent manager Elsa Sharp added: ‘I would start with your key skills bullet pointed: whether you can shoot, edit, speak another language or drive. ‘When a CV pops up on my screen, I’ll only see the top half, so want to see these details first.’ And, added Gale: ‘Please don’t write an essay. If the person’s [programme] credits are really good, I’m not interested in their profile.’ Gale warned against leaving holes in a CV. ‘Don’t just leave a gap. Tell me what you’ve been doing; it doesn’t matter if it’s not TVrelated, otherwise people will wonder what happened in those months,’ she said, adding: ‘I like interests, but please don’t put reading, socialising and going to restaurants – we all do that. I want to read horse riding or Thai boxing. Tell me something different.’ Most of all, truthfulness is a must. ‘We will ring around people you have worked for. So, with CVs you have to be honest about what you’ve done,’ said Wall To Wall talent head Susie Worster.

27


Paul Hampartsoumian

RTS Futures

&

Question

Answer

Q A 

How can you move from one area of TV to another? Susie Worster, Wall to Wall: Work out

what your transferable skills are and focus on those when you write a covering letter.

Q A 

What should I put in a covering letter?

Elsa Sharp, BBC: You need to be positive about what the company [you are applying to] is doing… Enthusiasm and focus are the two things I look for, and it doesn’t want to be too long or overly funny.

Q A  A 

Do you Google job applicants? All: No. Ed Booth, The Voice: Some of the

[abusive] stuff that people write about shows [on Facebook and Twitter] amazes me – remember, it’s there for ever. OJ Borg, presenter: If you’ve got something [negative] to say, don’t put it on any form of social media or you might never work for that person again.

A  Q

The nature of TV contracts means that there will be periods of unemployment. What should you do during those times to help improve your job prospects?

28

A 

Sharyn Mills, Strictly Come Dancing:

When I was researching I used to think midway through my contract about what I wanted to do next and then I would start to put feelers out.

A 

Emily Gale, FremantleMedia UK:

You have to show a good work ethic. If someone says to me that they haven’t worked for the past few months, then I begin [to worry] about their hunger to work. Susie Worster: Don’t be scared of downtime because, as a freelancer, there is downtime… But you do get used to it and the gaps get shorter as the network of people you know gets bigger. If you have a gap, watch television and identify the companies you want to work for and the programmes you like. Read the MediaGuardian and Broadcast, and be across what’s going on.

A 

Q A 

In interviews, how do you strike the balance between offering scripted responses and answering spontaneously? Susie Worster: If you’ve learnt some-

thing by heart that you hope someone’s going to ask a question about, they ask that question and you launch into your reply, it shows. Replies need to be as spontaneous as possible, but preparation is the key.

Q A 

What interview tips do the panellists have? Emily Gale: What’s lovely is [to take] a

book with lots of ideas and newspaper cuttings. Whatever level you are at, have your own ideas, because that’s what TV is about. Ed Booth: Any examples of success you can give is a good idea, but you need [the evidence] to back them up.

A 

27 u pany’s talent manager, advised Worster. “Collect people as you go through your career,” she said. However, Worster also sounded a warning: “Everyone wants to work with people who’ve got energy and don’t put the barriers up when you ask them to do something. Be thorough and do the job well. If you don’t, all the networking in the world won’t help you.” In the TV industry, added Strictly Come Dancing series producer Sharyn Mills, “You are your reputation.” Turning to job interviews, Sharp stressed that interviewees need to be “clear, concise and confident”. Booth discussed two recent interviews he had conducted, both of which offered the RTS Futures members clear lessons in what not to do. “Both said they loved The Voice and that it was brilliant. I got into a conversation and it became rapidly apparent that he hadn’t watched any of it, which was really annoying. If you go for a job like that you really need to watch a couple of series,” said Booth. “Then I had the other extreme, when the [applicant] was so keen on it and decided to tell me all the changes he’d make to the series, where we’d gone wrong and how he would put it right, which also annoyed me. You’ve got to find a balance.” And, when you’ve got a job, concluded Worster – don’t blow it: “We had a runner for a day and during the course of the day his speech became more and more slurred. We worked out he was going to the pub at the end of each run and by the end of the day he had literally slid onto the floor.” n ‘How to get a job in TV (by the people who really know)’ was an RTS Futures event held at the Hallam Conference Centre in central London on 6 November. The producers were Carrie Britton, Ife Okwudili, Don Kong and Charlotte Gaeta.

January 2014 | www.rts.org.uk | Television


RTS Legends

Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? is a TV phenomenon, but Raymond Snoddy learns how it very nearly didn’t reach the first question

Television | www.rts.org.uk | January 2014

I

t is the television show that has been sold to more countries than any other and almost certainly has been watched by more people than any programme in history. In the UK, as the BBC’s Peter Salmon put it, the programme simply “ate the schedule”. In more than 600 editions across 15 years it handed out more than £60m in prize money. But as an RTS Legend’s lunch heard last month, Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? very nearly didn’t make it to the screen at all. The odds against Millionaire were high. At the time there were no game shows on primetime British television. They had fallen out of fashion and the idea of Millionaire seemed anathema to executives. There were also worries that a £1m prize was somehow a little un-British, too greedy. There were even greater worries that a run of successful contestants could bankrupt all of those involved. “We pitched to every network, including the BBC. It was turned down twice by ITV. I

Paul Hampartsoumian

The show that ate the schedule

lost count of the number of times I pitched it but I hadn’t lost determination,” insisted Paul Smith, founder of Celador Entertainment, the independent production company behind Millionaire. The origins of what would become the world’s most famous game show lay in a group that had worked with Chris Tarrant on quizzes at Capital Radio. One of them, David Briggs, produced a two-page concept for a programme at the time called Cash Mountain. “David didn’t come up with the format as we understand it now. But he came up with four or five key elements that were the bedrock of the show: the million; that the money would be supported by premium phonelines; a sponsor; and that it would be underwritten by an organisation and by insurance,” Smith explained. Other members of the Capital team, Steve Knight and Mike Whitehill, who were then Celador’s “inhouse writing team”, honed the concept further. u30

29


RTS Legends

Chris Tarrant

Michael Grade

Grade wins a million When Michael Grade played a spoof version of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? for charity at the RTS Legend’s lunch he faced the first question ever to air on the programme. Chris Tarrant asked Grade what part of its body a woodpecker uses for pecking – head, foot, beak or wing? Grade came through with flying colours, which is just as well because, unlike in the US, no British contestant has ever failed to answer the first question correctly. The former ITV and BBC chairman then dealt comfortably with a selection of specially chosen, Grade-related questions. These included tests about his uncle Lew’s triumph as world Charleston champion and the scorer of Charlton’s fourth goal in its promotion to the Premiership. And then, with lots of money destined for the charity of his choice – the Samaritans – things started to get tense for Grade, who wasn’t in on a crucial aspect of the game. He needed a lot of help from coughing members of the audience and a lot of leading

30

from Chris Tarrant to successfully negotiate questions such as: the correct audience for the Diana Princess of Wales Panorama interview (22.87 million), and which James Bond film was not shot at Pinewood (Never Say Never Again). And then Chris Tarrant revealed what sort of millionaire Lord Grade would be if he managed to answer the final Millionaire question: a South Korean Won millionaire – exchange rate, W0.000578 to the pound. The pound sterling had of course never been mentioned during the game. For his final question Grade was asked the one that Judith Keppel successfully answered in 2000 to become the quiz’s first millionaire in the UK. ‘Which king married Eleanor of Aquitaine: Henry I, Henry II, Richard I or Henry V?” Tarrant asked. “I haven’t a clue, so I am really not going to guess,” replied Grade who was gently steered to the right answer (Henry II) by Tarrant. As a result, Jackson and Smith delivered W1m to the Samaritans – or £725.

29 u Despite the string of rejections there was a lifeline – ITV’s head of entertainment, Claudia Rosencrantz, loved the idea. “She shared my passion and she stuck her neck out regularly,” said Smith. The crucial moment came in 1997 when David Liddiment was appointed ITV network controller. He was looking for new shows to make good his intention to lift ITV’s peaktime share from 37% to 40% over the next three years. Smith wanted to re-pitch immediately. He had heard rumours – unfounded – that ITV wanted to run the National Lottery and feared the broadcaster would not want two big money games in its schedule. “Claudia said it was too soon, but I was terrified we would lose our slot,” recalled Smith. “I imagined what would be going on in David’s head. I wanted to get something there before him before the pile just grew so high.” Meanwhile, Rosencrantz had helped to open the door by commissioning detailed market research demonstrating that, contrary to the fears of the previous ITV controller, Marcus Plantin, the British public was more than ready to compete for £1m. Liddiment instantly liked the idea but, had serious reservations regarding some aspects of the format. “While I thought it was a great idea to give people the question before they decided whether or not to answer it, to give answers as well struck me as quite dangerous,” the ex-ITV director explained. “We were talking about top prizes of £1m and I didn’t want to leave either ITV or Celador bankrupt,” he added. ITV suggested that maybe there would just be one top prize of £1m. Once this was won, the prize pot would then go down progressively to £500,000 and then £250,000 to limit the potential cost. Smith stuck to his guns. He argued that you couldn’t have a show called Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? and then have a top prize of only £250,000. The independent producer convinced Liddiment, as he convinced other doubters, including insurance underwriters, by going to their offices and actually playing the game. But to get the show away Smith still had to guarantee that Celador would take on 50% of the risk, a deal he managed to clear with his largest shareholder, Invesco. “I was gambling. I told [my wife] Sarah and the kids that we would have to sell the house if this didn’t work,” he recalled. Smith produced the pilot just two weeks before Liddiment planned – in another radical departure – to strip the show across 10 consecutive evenings. Chris Tarrant told the lunch about endless rehearsals “time after time” to get it right. “Phrases such as ‘Is that your final answer?’ were made up in rehearsal to pin people down,” said Tarrant. The Celador founder told of the “extraordinary infrastructure” put in place to ensure the public would play in sufficient numbers to support the show. This included persuading ITV to give up the advertising bumpers surrounding the show to The Sun, which also gave daily editorial coverage to Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? “We didn’t have time to grow our audience. If we didn’t have huge viewing figures on day

January 2014 | www.rts.org.uk | Television


‘The show that ate the schedule’ was an RTS Legend’s lunch, held in central London on 2 December. It was produced by Paul Jackson, Paul Smith and Kevin Bishop.

Television | www.rts.org.uk | January 2014

All pictures: Paul Hampartsoumian

one, people wouldn’t call in, they wouldn’t generate the cash on the premium phone lines and we wouldn’t have the money to pay out,” Smith explained. The pilot was problematic. Smith received a note from Liddiment telling him there was “a really good show trying to get out”. But it was far from the disaster that has sometimes been suggested. Liddiment insisted there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that the show worked – it was just that the pilot wasn’t doing the format justice. Without the hard work and rehearsals, the former ITV executive emphasised, the journey from pilot to transmission in two weeks would have been impossible. “There were changes to the lighting and the music – it was the first quiz show to be underscored from the beginning to the end,” Liddiment noted. He watched the first show with his mum on Friday 4 September 1998. The ITV chief thought it was stunning. His mum loved it, too, and friends and relatives started calling to praise the show. Because it was the weekend ITV and Celador had to wait until mid-morning the following Monday before the first overnight ratings were available. When they came it was clear that ITV had a huge hit in the making – a 46% share for the first programme, building to 55% by the third. Smith recalled how he already knew something special was happening when he looked at Rachel Mendes da Costa, the rollover contestant from the first show: “She was holding a glass of water and her whole body was shaking. “She called her father on ‘Phone a Friend’ and said: ‘Please help me, Dad.’ “He said he had no idea and advised her to take the money. “I burst into tears. It was so emotional and she was only playing for £8,000. I went into the gallery and said: ‘You are directing the most incredible drama on television.’” It didn’t take Chris Tarrant long to realise that something was happening that would transform his career. The morning after the first show, when he admitted he had been genuinely nervous, walking from his hotel to the studio, a lorry driver wound down his window and called out: “Phone a Friend!” “That has happened every bloody day for the past 15 years,” said Tarrant. Millionaire might have made television history, but it also made multi-millionaires out of many of those involved in the show. When the Disney-owned distributor of Millionaire in the US, Buena Vista, sold the show to Disney-owned network ABC for something close to the cost of production, Smith’s attention to the detail in contracts proved critical. He took Buena Vista to court for allegedly selling the show too cheaply. “This didn’t matter in theory except that we were 50% profit participants and there was no profit. We won $320m [in court],” said Smith, who became the ultimate winner from Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? n

Paul Smith

What’s in a name? Paul Smith, the man behind Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? and co-producer of Slumdog Millionaire, is famous for his attention to detail. At the beginning of his corporate career he devoted a lot of time and effort to choosing the name of his company, Celador Entertainment. Smith was certain he didn’t want anything along the lines of ‘super-duper productions’. He was equally certain that anything ‘in your face’ like Paul Smith Productions was not for him. So the Ulsterman thought very analytically and carefully about what many would have thought a relatively trivial issue. ‘I was told at the time that the most pleasing

sounds in the English language were cellar and door – the door of the cellar,’ says Smith, who has paid even more attention to contracts over the years. Tolkien was a fan of the phrase, and the idea was discussed by Jake Gyllenhaal in the film Donnie Darko. Smith recalled: ‘Jake is talking to his teacher and up on the blackboard are the words cellar door, and the teacher says, “Don’t you know it’s the most pleasing sound in the English language?” ‘That name came to me and, obviously, we made it more concise by taking out some letters,’ Smith explained.

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All pictures: Paul Hampartsoumian

RTS Futures: Christmas party

Hot tips from the Hot 100 Matthew Bell joins a festive Futures event with some serious presents for TV wannabees

Ade Adepitan

Anna Richardson

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Grace Reynolds

Anna Beattie

January 2014 | www.rts.org.uk | Television


Hot 100 tip

Hot 100 tip

Hot 100 tip

Grace Reynolds, producer/director:

Ade Adepitan, presenter:

‘You have to have a good attitude. Get your foot in the door, work really hard and make yourself indispensable. If you’re a useful person to have around, they won’t want to let you go when they’re culling numbers.’

‘You have to be interested in people, prepared to sit and listen and enjoy hearing about other people’s lives. It’s really hard work and you’re away from home a lot of the time. I’ve spent the past 10 years of my life in various parts of this country, and not very glamorous parts.’

‘Be yourself. I try to be who I am all the time in front of the camera. The biggest compliment I ever get is from my friends, who say to me, “It’s just you…” Learn how to write your own scripts because then your personality comes out.’

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TS Futures celebrated Christmas early in the company of some of Broadcast magazine’s Hot 100, inviting a few of TV’s biggest talents for a panel discussion before the party kicked off. Channel 5 director of programmes Ben Frow looked back at the year’s highlights. “I remain jealous of the juggernaut that is [BBC Two’s] The Great British Bake Off and the brilliant way it’s put together,” he said. “Educating Yorkshire has been a big breakout success – Channel 4 must be so grateful for it after the year it has had.” “Broadchurch was a really big surprise. The level of excitement – eight hours to find out who did it – was a real turning point for ITV. There are lots of lessons to be learnt from that,” continued Frow. “It said to me that people want intelligence. At the moment people have got a thirst for programming that is more rewarding, that challenges them more. The silly programmes, the silly formats and the slight ideas are sinking without trace.” Sounding a negative note, however, Channel 5’s director of programmes predicted that 2014 would be “ob doc crazy. There’s not going to be a shop in the high street that hasn’t had a series made about it – that depresses me.” Frow said he fears a return to the type of docu-soaps popular in the 1990s: “We’ll soon be in a driving school or on a cruise ship again.” Frow was joined on the panel by other leading lights from Broadcast’s newly announced Hot 100. Grace Reynolds, series producer and director of Twofour Productions’ Educating Yorkshire, talked about the making of the hit show. “It was a hugely long process,” she said, explaining that the production team spent a year before filming meeting teachers and children, and working out how and where to shoot in the school. “We had 64 cameras, although you can only record on three at a time,” recalled Reynolds. She and fellow series producer/director David Brindley, working from a truck in the school car park, would normally follow two stories at a time; a main story with two cameras and a secondary one. “We ended up with about 2,000 hours of footage, which is why we had some of the longest edits in the history of edits; then months of cutting that down to eight hours of TV,” she added. Audiences for this year’s final of The Great British Bake Off peaked at 9.1 million, making it BBC Two’s most-watched show for a decade. Yet its producer, Love Productions, had

Television | www.rts.org.uk | January 2014

spent four fruitless years pitching it to commissioners before the BBC finally bit. “It there’s something you believe in, you have to keep going for it,” said Love cofounder and creative director Anna Beattie, who is also Bake Off’s executive producer. Beattie explained the success of the show. She argued that one of its strengths is that the contestants are passionate about their hobby. “Our bakers in the Bake Off tent feel they’re in a baking competition more than a telly programme,” she said. “The bakers are not remotely interested in the cameras – they much more interested in what Mary [Berry] or Paul [Hollywood] have to say about their cakes. There’s a realness about it.” Presenters Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins bring warmth to a show that Beattie didn’t want to be “po-faced”. She added: “It’s not all experts talking to experts. Their cheek, the warmth and fun broadens the appeal.” Presenter Anna Richardson, whose credits include Channel 4’s The Sex Education Show, asked the questions at the RTS Futures event. She said that “being on-screen talent is the art of being yourself”. Channel 4 Paralympics Games presenter and medallist Ade Adepitan
agreed, adding: “I try to be someone who I would like to watch on TV. “I imagine that people are allowing me into their front room. They could be eating their dinner, watching with their grandma or half naked, but you have to be someone who they are comfortable to be with. If you don’t come across as that person, they switch over straight away.” Picking up from Beattie’s perseverance in getting Bake Off commissioned, Adepitan revealed that he had spent “the best part of 10 years” trying to get a film about the polio endemic in Nigeria, the country of his birth, made. “I was told it was too worthy, that no one would watch it, that it was too challenging and that people would feel uncomfortable with it,” he recalled. On the back of presenting the RTS awardwinning coverage of the Paralympic Games, which Adepitan said had raised his profile, Channel 4 commissioned the film – which became Ade Adepitan: Journey of My Lifetime. “It was a story that people needed to know about.” n

The RTS Futures Christmas Party, in association with the Broadcast Hot 100, was held on 3 December at The Hospital Club in central London. The producers were Donna Taberer and Hilary Rosen.

Paul Hampartsoumian

Ben Frow, director of programmes, Channel 5:

Frow on…

C5’s new look At the RTS Futures event, Channel 5 director of programmes Ben Frow announced a clutch of programmes for the New Year that point to a new direction for the channel. They include: history series Love, Betrayal and Murder… The Plantagenets; Through the Eyes of a Child, which will examine divorce, alcoholism and poverty; and The Body Donors, which follows people who have decided to donate their bodies to science through life, death and dissection. ‘I like to think we do tabloid titles with intelligence,’ said Frow. ‘I’m putting on some very different shows next year. There are a lot of big ideas: history, social experiment, science – things that you wouldn’t normally associate with Channel 5. I want people to realise that Channel 5 can be a grown-up channel.’ ‘Channel 5 has struggled for years to have a proper identity,’ he continued. ‘The average tenure of my job has been seven months, which is desperate for people working here – it’s like a revolving door. I’ve managed to outlast [most of ] them and have now been here 10 months.’ Mentioning shows such as On Benefits and Proud, the tweaked Big Brother, and its new approach to the history genre, Frow said that ‘in three years’ time we might have our own identity, which is what we lack at the moment. ‘I need shows to punch through and get people talking about Channel 5,’ he concluded. ‘I want to enhance its reputation. I want ideas that are populist and will be watched, but I’m very happy to take risks.’

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TV sport

BT ups the ante further Following the recent £900m deal to secure Champions League soccer, BT Sport looks determined to try to outbid Sky for the biggest prize of all – Premier League soccer – argues Claire Enders

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here is nothing in the world to beat auctions as a spectator sport. Two simple rules apply. Rule 1 is that auctions work well for the buying side when there is only one serious bidder. Rule 2 is that auctions work well for the selling side when there are two or more serious bidders. These simple rules or truths might lend some insight into the way that the contest for live televised Premier League rights has shaped up in recent years. The European Commission has insisted for competition reasons on an auction structure that produces at least two winners. With live televised Premier League matches representing the cream of rights, the consequence is that we now have a duopoly of premium pay-TV sports providers. These rights alone account for 60% of the total annual outlay on premium sports rights in the UK. Prior to the EC intervention in 2003, Sky was the sole winner of live televised Premier League rights spanning the seasons from 1992/93 to 2006/07. Post intervention, Sky has so far had three duopolistic partners: first Setanta, then ESPN and now BT Sport. Where BT Sport differs conspicuously from the other two is in its much greater capacity for investment. It raises the question of whether a duopoly of the latest pairing is sustainable. Unless there is some dramatic change in the competitive climate, the short answer is no. This is clear from the auction rules and from the history of Premier League payments once we have taken into account the two sides of the latest duopoly. Prior to BT, there undoubtedly existed competitive tensions between Setanta and Sky. This was nowhere clearer than in the decision by Setanta to retail rather than to wholesale its sports channels on the Sky platform, and Sky’s refusal to let Setanta advertise its offers on the Sky channels. Nevertheless, a potentially sustainable duopoly, with Sky in top-dog position, was not to be ruled out. Setanta’s successor, ESPN, which chose to wholesale its channels to Sky, came closer and would have come closer still to a workable duopoly – had ESPN managed to return an operating profit. Then BT stepped into the ring. Sky now faced a much more directly competitive giant, which made its presence clear in the latest auction of live Premier League rights in May 2012. It bid on all seven packages, although it ended up winning only two. This being a Rule 2 contest, we saw staggering rights inflation of 70%.

For anyone who doubted its commitment when it came second, BT made it clear that it was in for the long haul. Its move was strategic and aimed at defending and strengthening its retail presence in broadband, and on driving fibre adoption. Sky, with its triple-play offer of television, broadband and telephony was a major competitor. BT’s response was to attack Sky in its home territory of pay-TV. Where better to aim its first blow than at Premier League football, the very heart of Sky’s pay-TV proposition? BT’s offensive was clearly not going to end there. We duly saw several results presentations in which Sky commented on how it had shored up most of its most attractive rights in popular sports outside football – such as rugby league, golf, cricket, tennis, motorracing – for several years ahead. Then came the renewal of the European Champions League rights in November 2013, one of the very top-tier trophies outside the Premier League. This time BT left nothing to chance. Any thoughts it might settle for second place in a cosy duopoly were dispelled when BT placed a bid of £900m to secure live European Champions League and Europa League rights for three years commencing with the 2015/16 season. Under the present three-year contract, Sky and ITV jointly pay £400m for Champions League rights. Excluding the Europa League, we are looking at Champions League rights inflation of around 100%, with BT shelling out three to four times the sums paid by Sky. To put the costs in perspective, BT will pay around £250m-£300m for televising live Champions League games that currently generate an average 0.3% viewing share per annum. In other words, BT will be paying close to £100m for each 0.1% chunk of viewing by the British public; that is, assuming it can get anywhere close to matching the ITV and Sky audience figures. Were these rates to apply across the other 99.9% of total TV viewing, we would be looking at a total annual programming spend of about £100bn, or some 20 times the current annual outlay of £5.6bn. How the production industry would love it if total budgets could soar to such dizzy heights. Then comes the biggest prize of all, the Premier League: the current three-year contract is due for renewal by auction in the next 12-18 months. There is no longer any question of BT’s intent to displace Sky as the number-one provider of premium pay-TV sports. With current annual free cash flow of £2.6bn compared with £1bn for Sky, and

January 2014 | www.rts.org.uk | Television


Action Images/Jason Cairnduff

Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson (left) takes on West Ham United’s Kevin Nolan at Anfield in the Barclays Premier League on 7 December 2013 promising growth outlook in terms of price increases, fibre adoption and wholesale revenues, BT is indeed a serious competitor. Of course, there exist other factors to be taken into consideration during the coming months, which could yet change things. And an all-out fight is in no one’s interest. The on-going disputes between BT and Sky over the Ofcom WMO (wholesale must-offer) remedy and wholesale/retail access to each other’s sports channels notwithstanding, BT has complained repeatedly about the wholesale prices charged by Sky for its premium sports. These sums, however, pale into insignificance when compared with the incremental costs of winning the next Premier League battle. Or, indeed, with winning further rights for other sports and investing heavily in consumer relationship management and other service delivery areas as BT seeks to displace Sky at the top. What history does tell us is that whenever two deadly earnest competitors enter the bidding frame, the sellers have a field day.

Television | www.rts.org.uk | January 2014

Claire Enders Enders Analysis

There is no longer any question of BT’s intent to displace Sky as the number-one provider of premium pay-TV sports In the case of the Premier League, rights more than doubled in value from £168m in 2000/01 to £367m in 2001/02 as ITV took on Sky in its efforts to establish ITV Digital. The 2007/08 season saw another huge jump of £228m after NTL had taken on Sky in the 2006 auction for the top packages, although the contest ended with Setanta as the runner-up.

Things went flat after the 2009 auction as ESPN filled Setanta’s boots, but the 2012 auction again saw a massive, £412m leap as BT challenged Sky. Today, annual Premier League rights of £1.006bn are 20 times higher than when it all started back in 1992/93. The UK must by now be the most costly market for premium pay-TV sports rights per capita in the world. Unless some other means are found to end the current disputes, we can expect yet another dramatic spike at the next auction. And it will have to be followed by rights hikes in other sports because subscribers cannot live by soccer alone. Sellers may rub their hands in delight as extra monies pour in, but they also need to think about the longer-term consequences. As long as Rule 2 prevails, there is very little chance of a sustainable duopoly. A little more Rule 1 would benefit all parties and, above all, the wider public. n

Claire Enders is CEO of Enders Analysis.

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Awards

RTS Craft & Design Awards 2012/13 The RTS Craft & Design Awards 2012/13 were presented on 18 November 2013 at the Savoy in London, and hosted by Brian Conley

Costume Design – Drama Susannah Buxton, Burton and Taylor BBC Drama Production London/BBC America for BBC Four ‘Believable, memorable costume and subtle characterisation enhanced the remarkable performances.’ Nominees: Charlotte Holdich, Restless, Endor Productions in association with Sundance Channel, Red Arrow International for BBC One Lindsay Pugh, Dancing on the Edge, Ruby Film And Television for BBC Two

Costume Design – Entertainment and Non-Drama Claire Finlay-Thompson, Up the Women – Series 1 Baby Cow Manchester/BBC Comedy Production co-production for BBC Four ‘The winner’s work showed attention to period detail with surreal elements and great comic characterisation on a restricted comedy budget.’ Nominees: Stephen Adnitt, Dancing on Ice – Series 8, ITV Studios for ITV Vicky Gill, Strictly Come Dancing, BBC Entertainment for BBC One

Effects – Picture Enhancement

Effects – Digital Simon Hansen, The Girl An official South African/German Co-Production/A Wall to Wall Media/Warner Bros Entertainment GmbH/Moonlighting Co-Production for BBC and HBO Films ‘Beautifully reconstructed shots and clearly made with a love of the source material, the winning effects were faultless and delivered on a small budget, which in no way shows in the finished work.’ Nominees: Jellyfish Pictures, The Challenger, Jellyfish Pictures for BBC Two Simon Clarke, Barney Curnow and Nuno Pereira, Supersized Earth, BBC Productions for BBC One

Effects – Special Doug Naylor, Bill Pearson and Deane Thrussell, Red Dwarf X Grant Naylor Productions for Dave (UKTV) ‘Making a bold decision to use practical models where CG would have been an easier choice these days, the winners successfully captured the look and spirit of the old episodes… of a much-loved TV show.’ Nominees: Mark Lewis, Nic Stacey, Ed Edwards & Andy Jackson, Order and Disorder, Furnace TV for BBC Four Max Poolman, Strike Back: Vengeance, Left Bank Pictures for Sky1 HD

Graphic Design – Programme Content Sequence

Aidan Farrell, Utopia – Series 1

Simon Clarke, Hazel Baird, Graham Stott and Simon George, World War II from Space

Kudos for Channel 4

October Films for H2, History Channel

‘The bold comic book-style grade and exceptional work truly added to the show, aiding the unsettling oppressive atmosphere. Strong, without being overbearing, the grade demonstrated an understanding of the show’s context and delivered a defined unique look.’ Nominees: Aidan Farrell, The White Queen, Company Pictures for BBC One John Cryer and the Platform Post Grading Team, Horrible Histories – Series 5, Lion TV, Citrus Television, Platform Post Production for CBBC

‘The range of graphic devices used [made] this historic subject feel new and novel, contrasting space-age satellite images with a modern computer style and 1940s-style photography and type.The mix of styles and standard of execution was outstanding.’ Nominees: Nimble Gimbal, Swimming with Monsters, Spun Gold for Discovery UK BDH Graphics Team, Wonders of Life, Burrell Durrant Hifle/BBC Science for BBC Two u38

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9 (Clockwise): 1 Burton and Taylor, Costume Design – Drama; 2 The Girl, Effects – Digital; 3 World War II from Space, Graphic Design – Programme Content Sequence; 4 David Attenborough’s Natural Curiosities, Graphic Design – Trails and Packaging; 5 Dancing on Ice, Lighting for Multicamera; 6 Hannibal, Graphic Design – Titles; 7 Utopia, Effects – Picture Enhancement; 8 Brian Conley, host; 9 Up the Women, Costume Design – Entertainment and Non-Drama; 10 Red Dwarf X, Effects – Special

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January 2014 | www.rts.org.uk | Television


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Awards Graphic Design – Titles Nic Benns, Andrew Popplestone, Rodi Kaya and David Slade, Hannibal Momoco for Sky Living ‘This title sequence is a lesson in “less is more”,with fascinating images that draw the audience into the drama.The red liquid, evocative of both red wine and blood, builds images that are both beautiful and chilling at the same time.The typography and white background draw hints of the surgery and clinical menace to come.’ Nominees Momoco Graphics Team, Murder on the Home Front, Carnival Film & Television for ITV1 Nic Benns, Jim Fisher, Miki Kato and Tom Bromwich, Ripper Street, Momoco for BBC One

Graphic Design – Trails and Packaging Kjetil Njoten, Joe Lee, Sarah Caddy and Adam Parry, David Attenborough’s Natural Curiosities Red Bee and Strange Beast for Eden (UKTV) ‘Truly outstanding.The images herald the natural curiosities we will see in the series and then add a visual twist.There is so much to see in this trail that its “watchability” makes it a perfect example of a graphic-design-led trailer campaign.’

Lighting for Multicamera Dave Davey, Dancing on Ice – Series 8 ITV Studios for ITV ‘The beautiful use of colour enhances the action to create a magnificent spectacle.The lighting is both immersive and complementary. Never distracting or overwhelming, it brilliantly focuses the viewer’s attention on the action itself.’ Nominees: Gurdip Mahal and Ross Williams, The Voice – Series 2,Wall to Wall Media for BBC One Christopher Kempton, Comic Relief 2013: Funny for Money, BBC Comedy Production /Framestore/QED for BBC One

Multicamera Work – Sport Paul Davies, Wimbledon Men’s Final – Murray vs Djokovic BBC Sport for BBC One ‘Never missing a beat of this intense gladiatorial contest, the winner captures the atmosphere of the whole event in a truly dramatic style.Their choice of shot and the timing of each cut mean that every second of this intense battle is powerfully enhanced.’ Nominees: Camera Team, Isle of Man TT Races 2013, North One Television for ITV4 Denise Large, Carl Hicks and the IMG Racing Team, The Grand National 2013, IMG Productions for Channel 4

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Make Up Design – Drama Lucy Cain, Burton and Taylor BBC Drama Production London/BBC America for BBC Four ‘Perfect interpretation and faultless characterisation, as well as skill and lightness of touch.’ Nominees: Pamela Smyth, The Fall, Artists Studio/Fables for BBC Two Christine Walmesley-Cotham, Call the Midwife – Christmas Special and Series 2, Neal Street Productions for BBC One

Make Up Design – Entertainment and Non-Drama

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Vanessa White, Hunderby Baby Cow Productions for Sky Atlantic ‘The overall make-up design and comic characterisation made a major contribution to the originality of the project.’ Nominees: Kate Benton, Mr Stink, BBC Comedy Production in Association with Bert Pictures for BBC One Kate Benton, A Young Doctor’s Notebook, Big Talk/Points West Pictures for Sky Arts

Multicamera Work Richard Valentine, Dancing on Ice – Series 8 ITV Studios for ITV ‘Under the director’s guidance every craft is seamlessly brought together, every shot is expertly chosen and every camera used to its optimum value.The coverage complements the action and enhances every moment.’ Nominees: Frederique Olivier, Michael W Richards, Jim Clare and Martin Passingham, Penguins – Spy in the Huddle, John Downer Productions for BBC One Camera Team, Emmerdale – 40th Anniversary Live Episode, ITV Studios for ITV1

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(Clockwise from top left): 11 Dancing on Ice, Multicamera Work; 12 Hunderby, Make Up Design – Entertainment and Non-Drama; 13 Restless, Production Design – Drama; 14 Burton and Taylor, Make Up Design – Drama; 15 Dates, Music – Original Title; 16 Utopia, Music – Original Score; 17 D-Day: The Last Heroes, Sound – Drama; 18 David Attenborough’s Natural Curiosities, Sound – Entertainment and Non-Drama; 19 Wimble­ don Men’s Final, Multicamera Work – Sport; 20 Sports Personality of the Year 2012, Production Design – Entertainment and Non-Drama;

January 2014 | www.rts.org.uk | Television


Production Design – Drama Stevie Herbert, Restless Endor Productions in association with Sundance Channel, Red Arrow International for BBC One ‘The winner very successfully achieves a coherent design throughout, including timelines, scale and palette. Even though it effectively adheres to historical accuracies, it is very much a production made for a modern audience.’ Nominees: Kristian Milsted, Utopia, Kudos for Channel 4 Mark Geraghty, Ripper Street – Series 1,Tiger Aspect Productions & Lookout Point for BBC One

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Production Design – Entertainment and Non-Drama 13

Simon Kimmel, Sports Personality of the Year 2012 Unspun for BBC One ‘The winning design has an energetic set which effectively marries light and stylish design. Delivering a “good night out” for the viewer, it deals well with the design constraints of the studio audience.’ Nominees: Dominic Clasby and Stephen Bryce, Derren Brown: Apocalypse, Objective Productions for Channel 4 BDA Set Design Team, BBC News, BBC Productions for BBC One

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Sound – Drama Greg Gettens and Jamie Hartland, D-Day: The Last Heroes Clear Cut Pictures and BBC Production London for BBC One ‘The winning work is a perfect marriage between the soundtrack and the sensitive nature of the story – an incredible achievement given the short time span and budget allotted to the project.’ Nominees: Tony Gibson, Roger Dobson, Billy Mahoney and Russell Jeffery, Misfits 4, Clerkenwell Films for E4 Sound Team, Strike Back: Vengeance, Left Bank Pictures for Sky1 HD

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Sound – Entertainment and Non-Drama John Rogerson, Graham Kirkman and Richard Addis, David Attenborough’s Galapagos 3D Colossus Productions for Sky 3D

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‘An incredible sounding mix and a superb track-lay. Considering that not much sound made its way back to the cutting room, the winners’ research and attention to detail was enormous.’ Nominees: Sound Team, BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2013, BBC Wales for BBC Four Daniel Jones and Paul Taylor, The Choir: Sing While You Work, Twenty Twenty for BBC u40

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Awards Music – Original Score Cristobal Tapia De Veer, Utopia – Series 1 Kudos for Channel 4 ‘Startlingly original scoring of hyper-reality, and unlike anything we’ve heard before.The winner’s work blurred the lines between sound design and score, creating a soundtrack that felt like it was being played inside your head.’ Nominees: Dominik Scherrer, Ripper Street – Series 1,Tiger Aspect Productions & Lookout Point for BBC One Unloved, David Holmes and Keefus Green, The Fall, Artists Studio/Fables for BBC Two

Music – Original Title Hannah Peel and Erland Cooper, Dates Balloon Entertainment for Channel 4 ‘This contemporary, intriguing and stylish theme lends itself wonderfully to the bittersweet complexities of modern dating.’ Nominees: John Lunn, Shetland, ITV Studios for BBC One Oli Julian, PLEBS, Rise Films for ITV2

Tape and Film Editing – Documentary and Factual Christopher Swayne, Syria: Across the Lines Quicksilver Media for Channel 4 ‘Seamless editing with thoughtfully selected, arresting images created an immediacy and sense of place that gave the viewer a fresh, human and brutal insight into the realities of war. It induced an emotional connection rarely felt with this kind of material.’ Nominees: Ged Murphy, David Bowie – Five Years, BBC Events Production for BBC Two Sean Mackenzie, How To Get To Heaven with the Hutterites, BBC Wales for BBC Two

Tape and Film Editing – Entertainment and Situation Comedy Mike Holliday and Peter Oliver, Horrible Histories – Series 5 Lion TV, Citrus Television, Platform Post Production for CBBC ‘Smart and slick, the winning editing demonstrated a huge attention to detail and rich knowledge of craft.The jury was impressed by the terrific range of sophisticated, funny material with extremely high production values that easily rivals its adult competitors.’ Nominees: Editing Team, Dancing on Ice – Series 8, ITV Studios for ITV Steve Tempia and Mark Williams, Outnumbered Christmas Special 2012, Hat Trick Productions for BBC One

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Tape and Film Editing – Sport Editing Team, Sports Personality of the Year 2012 BBC Sport for BBC One ‘Outstanding films, with clever ideas that brought the emotion of the subjects through the screen. Beautifully crafted, the stories were told with real feeling and sensitivity.’ Nominees: Post Production Team, Isle Of Man TT Races 2013, North One Television for ITV Four Robin Nurse and Richard Gort, BBC F1 – The British Grand Prix – Lewis Hamilton and the Red Arrows, BBC Sport for BBC One

Tape and Film Editing – Drama

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Katie Weiland, Luther BBC Drama Production London for BBC One ‘The jury was impressed by the clever, engaging cutting, and the consistently brave decisions in the editing throughout.The use of space and shadow created a bold look and feel to the series.’ Nominees: Trevor Waite, The Fear (Episodes 1 and 2), World Productions for Channel 4 Liana Del Giudice, Hunted, Kudos in association with Cinemax for BBC One

Photography – Documentary/Factual and Non Drama Jezza Neumann, America’s Poor Kids True Vision Productions/BBC This World for BBC Two ‘An intuitively shot documentary highlighting the understanding between the crew and the families, with a great eye for detail and composition resulting in some highly emotive images.’ Nominees: Craig Hastings and Jonathan Young, Australia with Simon Reeve, BBC Production London for BBC Two Africa Camera Team, Africa, BBC Television (Co-produced with Discovery Channel/CCTV9/France Television) for BBC One

Photography – Drama Gavin Finney, The Fear World Productions for Channel 4 ‘Bold, brave and beautiful framing…, with innovative use of lenses and excellent flashbacks.The lighting is wonderfully controlled and enhances or evokes the mood at any given time.’ Nominees: Adam Arkapaw, Top of the Lake, See-Saw Films for BBC Tim Palmer, The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: The Murder in Angel Lane, Hat Trick Productions for ITV

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Design and Craft Innovation D-Day: As It Happens ‘The Design and Craft Innovation Award is made for any area of production that demonstrates innovative use of new technology or techniques D-Day: As It Happens truly was a new and unique way of bringing alive the greatest amphibious invasion in history. On the anniversary of D-Day, viewers could follow the lives of seven real people in 1944 across TV, the web and Twitter – in real time. Groundbreaking new research, involving thousands of hours of analysis, allowed the team to put names to anonymous faces and allow viewers to follow them throughout the day.The production team were able to plot when and where each frame was shot and play footage at the precise moment it was filmed, on TV and online. As the day progressed, 1,000 rich-media updates, including archive footage, stills, documents and testimonies, were posted to a specially developed, mobile-accessible website built by Digit London. Every single piece of archive film was geo-tagged and the route taken by each of the seven characters meticulously plotted.

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Judges’ Award BT Sport Studio

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‘This year’s Judges’ Award goes to the creation of a highly flexible L-shaped studio that can cope with three live broadcasts on air at the same time, for up to 15 hours each, in the same studio space. The two linked, three-sided studios are the largest LED-lit studios in the world.The use of LED was considered the only energy-efficient way to light such a mammoth space and the LED floodlights are calibrated to be able to create shadow. The key visual elements of the studio are generated from 27 variously sized screens driven by a Spyder’control system that can drive all or some of the screens required. Each screen has to be able to show a single image or part of a much larger image – moving or still – and instantly updatable in continuous live broadcasting. The LED under-lit glass floor featuring eight different pitch markings – including football, tennis, basketball and rugby – has never been used in a TV studio anywhere in the world before and was specifically adapted and designed to meet their requirements. The central hub, a tower in the middle of the studio, has been designed with 13 large screens, so no matter what area you shoot from you can see video backgrounds for all the programmes. It is possibly the most innovative use of purpose-built screens in Europe.’

Lifetime Achivement Award Andy McVean


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(Clockwise from top left): 21 Sports Personality of the Year 2012, Tape and Film Editing – Sport; 22 Luther, Tape and Film Editing – Drama; 23 Andy McVean, Lifetime Achivement Award; 24 D-Day: As It Happens, Design and Craft Innovation; 25 The Fear, Photography – Drama; 26 America’s Poor Kids, Photography – Documentary/Factual and Non Drama; 27 BT Sport Studio, Judges’ Award; 28 Horrible Histories, Tape and Film Editing – Entertainment and Situation Comedy; 29 Syria: Across the Lines, Tape and Film Editing – Documentary and Factual

‘With over 35 years in the industry, the recipient has provided stunning visual and special effects for many of the UK’s favourite TV shows. Combining his creative background at art school with 25 years’ experience at the BBC, he set up his own effects company at Pinewood Studios in 2002. ‘Over the past 11 years the company has gone from strength to strength, with its production portfolio dominating the primetime weekend “shiny floor shows”.But no job is ever too small or request too strange for our recipient, from blowing up over 100 caravans on Brainiac to electricly shocking Jedward… he’s done it all. ‘He has a fantastic reputation throughout the industry and works closely with production designers, art directors and producers and with his knowledge and seamless approach to providing special effects, he’s the “go-to” expert for any requirement. These are just some of the shows he has worked on – Top Gear, X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent, Strictly Come Dancing, The Voice, Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, Comic Relief, Children in Need, Dancing on Ice and Graham Norton.’ n

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And finally…

Off message

W

hoever said life at the barmy Beeb was so unbelievable that it was utterly beyond satire? Judged by events of the past 15 or so months, that may well be the case, but the brilliant comedy writer John Morton is polishing scripts for a four-part series that pokes fun at the BBC. Morton was the brains behind the wonderful Olympics send-up, Twenty Twelve. His latest project, a sequel to Twenty Twelve, reunites Ian Fletcher (Hugh Bonneville) with spin doctor Siobhan Sharpe (Jessica Hynes) as the pair attempt to kick the BBC into shape for the 21st Century. If the new show, titled W1A and pencilled in for a BBC Two showcase later this year, is even half as funny as Twenty Twelve we’re in for a serious treat. There’s no shortage of material.

For those such as All3Media’s CEO, Farah Ramzan Golant, fortunate enough to join David Cameron’s December trade mission to China, one of the many highlights of the visit was seeing Downton Abbey streamed on massive screens at a gala banquet in Shanghai. Ramzan Golant might have been happier had one of her own hits been playing – although quite how the Chinese officials would react to The Only Way Is Essex or Hollyoaks is anyone’s guess. It would be good to think that this latest attempt by the Government to boost British business in China could have real and lasting benefits for the UK’s creative industries.

Downton Abbey is, of course, an essential part of the weekly viewing routine for any fashionable, middle-class resident of Shanghai. While China’s state-owned tabloid, the Global Times, was rubbishing Britain’s credentials as a world power during Cameron’s trade mission, Chinese TV addicts demanded a law to force Downton Abbey to run for at least 24 episodes per season. Commissioning by Parliament is an intriguing idea – and one that even Grant Shapps has yet to endorse. The idea might win Julian Fellowes’ backing in the Lords.

Now that Sky has lost Champions League coverage, Off Message wonders whether the

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several hundred million pounds once earmarked by the satellite giant to land in UEFA’s coffers are to be spent elsewhere – on, say, original UK content? So far, Sky’s programming chiefs are staying tight-lipped on this fascinating question.

Talking of which, it was good to see new Sky 1 controller Adam MacDonald launch his winter schedule last month. Channel controllers occasionally vie with leading politicians for over-hyping their wares. Not so MacDonald, who actually managed to get through his speech without resorting to all the usual clichés. It will be interesting to see how Sky 1’s new London firefighter drama, The Smoke, performs. Produced by Kudos, high on the success of Broadchurch, the omens are good. Just don’t mention London’s Burning, an ITV fixture for more than 15 years.

If reports that Discovery is considering a bid for Scripps turn out to be true, any deal would bring Discovery promptly back into partnership with the BBC. Scripps is joint owner of UKTV with the Beeb, and owns international channels Food Network and Travel Channel. Discovery only recently severed its longrunning co-production link with the corporation. The synergies between Discovery and Scripps are obvious, but if a sale goes through, consolidation in Discovery’s global channels portfolio would be one likely outcome.

Returning to TV satire, it won’t have escaped readers’ attention that this coming February marks the 30th anniversary of the launch of ITV’s peerless Spitting Image. Quite what, if anything, ITV is doing to cele­ brate this milestone is unclear. Thankfully, the BBC’s Arena is teeing up a Spitting Image special, to be accompanied by a panel discussion on the show at the BFI. It’s tempting to say they don’t make programmes like Spitting Image anymore, but why should ITV worry about courting controversy when it’s got continuing series that pack the firepower of Downton Abbey? n

January 2014 | www.rts.org.uk | Television


RTS Principal Patrons BBC

BSkyB

Channel 4

ITV

RTS International Patrons RTL Group Viacom International Media Networks

Discovery Corporate Services Ltd Liberty Global

Walt Disney Company

RTS Major Patrons Accenture Channel 5 Deloitte Enders Analysis

FremantleMedia IMG Studios ITN

Jonathan Shalit/ ROAR Global KPMG

McKinsey and Co S4C STV Group UKTV

Autocue

ITV Anglia

ITV Yorkshire

UTV Television

Channel Television

ITV London

PricewaterhouseCoopers

Vinten Broadcast

Digital Television Group

ITV Meridian

Quantel

Granada Television

ITV Tyne Tees

Raidió Teilifís Éireann

Ikegami Electronics UK

ITV West

University College, Falmouth

RTS Patrons

Who’s who at the RTS Patron

Chair of RTS Trustees

President

Honorary Secretary

Vice-Presidents

Honorary Treasurer

HRH The Prince of Wales Sir Peter Bazalgette Dawn Airey Sir David Attenborough om ch cvo cbe frs

Lady Floella Benjamin OBE Colette Bowe John Cresswell Mike Darcey Greg Dyke Lorraine Heggessey Ashley Highfield Rt Hon Dame Tessa Jowell MP David Lynn Sir Trevor McDonald obe Ken MacQuarrie Trevor Phillips obe Stewart Purvis CBE John Smith Sir Howard Stringer Mark Thompson

John Hardie

David Lowen Mike Green

Board of Trustees Tim Davie Mike Green John Hardie Huw Jones Jane Lighting Graham McWilliam David Lowen Simon Pitts Graeme Thompson

Television | www.rts.org.uk | January 2014

Executives

Specialist Groups Chairs

Chief Executive

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Theresa Wise

Deputy Chief Executive Claire Price

Marcus Ryder

Early Evening Events Dan Brooke

IBC Conference Liaison Terry Marsh

Centres’ Council

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Andy Batten-Foster Mike Best Charles Byrne Isabel Clarke Alex Connock Gordon Cooper Tim Hartley Kristin Mason Graeme Thompson Penny Westlake (acting chair) James Wilson Michael Wilson

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Awards Committee Chairs Awards & Fellowship Policy David Lowen

Craft & Design Awards Nigel Pickard

Television Journalism Awards Richard Sambrook

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RTS EARLY EVENING EVENT

Sherlock: Anatomy of a hit

Tuesday 4 March Central London, venue TBC With:

Sue Vertue

Executive producer, Hartswood Films

Ben Stephenson

Controller, drama commissioning, BBC

Further speakers TBC Further information: www.rts.org.uk

Television Jan 14  
Television Jan 14  
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