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EDINBURGH TV FESTIVAL: Day Two

Here’s the latest on what happened on the second day of the Edinburgh TV Festival 2017.


1. BBC One announce new programmes

During this morning’s BBC One controller session, Charlotte Moore was joined by Shane Allen, controller, comedy commissioning, Kate Phillips, controller of Entertainment, Alison Kirkham, controller of factual commissioning and Piers Wenger, controller for BBC Drama.

Alison announced two new documentaries, Grenfell and The Stephen Lawrence Story which Stephen’s mother Doreen describes as “a definitive piece”.

Piers also announced three new dramas, The CryThe Victim and The Barking Murders from The Moorside writer Jeff Pope.

And Shane Allen treated us to clips from upcoming comedies Porridge, Home From Home, Mister Winner, Tim Vine Travels Through Time and Hold The Sunset which marks John Cleese’s return to BBC comedy alongside Alison Steadman and Jason Watkins.

It’s been a good year for BBC One as they continue to have the largest share of 16-34 year-olds in the UK, remain the most watched by this demographic and overall have the biggest share they’ve had of the TV audience in a decade.

Speaking about the gender pay gap, Charlotte Moore said “As a woman, I fight for equality and we are committed to more female talent on screen.” and began to reel off a huge list of female BBC One talent including Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman. She went on to say that “it is something we were already aware on and were already working on”.

Of course The Great British Bake Off was discussed and Charlotte didn’t have much to say on the matter other than it was a “Difficult decision” to let the much-loved show go and went on to wish Channel 4 well.

What does the future hold for BBC One? The channel would like a greater mix of drama as there’s a growing trend for dark drama.

They’re absolutely committed to big Saturday night formats and will continue to develop these in the hope of finding the next Strictly Come Dancing.

What they’ve learnt this year is not to rush these formats to air and are keen to work on formats now that perhaps won’t air until 2019.


2. BBC Three reflect on the last year

It’s been over a year now since BBC Three went online and it recently won Channel of the Year at the RTS Awards along with many other awards including several BAFTA’s.

Nick Grimshaw spoke to BBC Three controller Damian Kavanagh about how he thinks the channel has been doing. Clearly very passionate about his channel and what he does, Damian said:

“It’s gone really well. A lot of people thought it was the wrong decision (to move online) and that something special would be lost.

One concern was that the place the nurtured new talent would be lost, but was is has done is allowed us to experiment and reach new audiences in different ways. We’re doing something new and innovative.”

It recently won ‘Channel of the Year’ but is BBC Three a channel now it’s no longer on linear television? Damian called it “A digital online brand” and “An ecosystem of touchpoints” and went on to say:

“Not having a TV channel has forced us to behave in different ways. Experiment with form and try to tell stories in different ways.”

Discussing that all important reach number, Damian was pleased to report that BBC Three has an 8.3% share of 16-34 year-olds and before when it was on linear television, it was between 18-20%, but as Damian quite rightly pointed out, the channel no longer has shows like Family Guy and Top Gear which would bring in the young viewers.

All in all I think it’s safe to say that BBC Three have done incredibly well and against all the odds have created a channel that’s fresh and exciting and innovative so hats off to them. I was the first one to say the move online was wrong, but actually it was the kick up the backside the channel needed to find a strong identity.


3. BBC One win Channel of the Year

This year’s Edinburgh TV Awards were hosted by comedian Nish Kumar and saw BBC One fight off BBC Two, BBC Three, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky Atlantic to be named the Channel of the Year.

Russell T Davies was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award and gave an excellent speech about how much he loves working in television.

Other winners include, Channel 4’s National Treasure which won Best New Programme, Sky Atlantic’s The Tunnel: Sabotage which won Best International Co-Production, BBC Two’s Employable Me which won Best Factual Programme and the TV moment of the year, voted for by festival goers was AJ’s priceless reaction to new football boots in Channel 5’s Rich House, Poor House.


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