With the first day of the Edinburgh TV Festival 2016 over, here are 7 things that happened on day one…
1. ITV2 commit to more sex on TV
During the first controller session of the TV Festival, Rosemary Newell, just six weeks into her new position as ITV’s Head of Digital Channels and Acquisitions agreed with chair Rick Edwards that Love Island is a channel-defining programme.
When asked if there will be more sex on ITV2, Rosemary very confidently replied “Yes” and went on to describe the channel as the home of “outrageous entertainment”.
She also committed to Love Island’s voiceover artist Iain Stirling, saying that she “can’t image the show without him” although no word on whether Caroline Flack will be back.
Love Island dominated the conversation at Rosemary’s controller session, which isn’t surprising considering the show was at the heart of the national conversation over the summer and proved that young people ARE still watching TV.
35 million people requested it on the ITV Hub, ITV’s catch up service and each episode on air got at least double the ratings of last year with all episodes being watched by over a million people.
2. ITV2 announce new scripted comedy Timewasters
ITV2 have announced a new scripted comedy for next year called Timewasters which is part of their ongoing commitment to scripted comedy. Although as Rosemary Newell, ITV’s new Head of Digital Channels and Acquisitions quite rightly pointed out, they’ve only ever really had Plebs.
The new six-part comedy has been written by Daniel Lawrence Taylor and will be produced by Big Talk Productions and about a struggling four-piece South London jazz band who travel back in time to the 1920’s via a urine-sodden lift in a dilapidated block of flats.
The cast includes Daniel Lawrence Taylor (Cockroaches, Uncle) who plays Nick, Kadiff Kirwan (Chewing Gum, Crims), who plays Jason, Adelayo Adedayo (Skins, Some Girls), who plays Lauren and Samson Kayo (Youngers, The Javone Prince Show), who plays Horace.
Stuck in the past after their ‘time machine’ is destroyed, our gang decide to explore, before quickly discovering that being young and black in the Jazz Age is a lot less genteel and a lot more shady than Downton Abbey had led them to believe.
Aided and abetted by a pair of oddball twins and some 1920s luminaries (including John Logie Baird, played by Kevin Eldon), the band are forced to navigate the parties and pitfalls of the Roaring Twenties while searching for a way back home. All the while, not missing the opportunity to introduce the Bright Young Things to some of the twenty-first century’s finest tunes.
3. Channel 4 triumphs in a special Edinburgh version of Taskmaster
When it comes to entertainment on television, Dave’s Taskmaster has been one of the standout hits of the year and this year followed in the footsteps of Through The Keyhole and Big Brother by opening the Edinburgh TV Festival with a live version of the show.
In a TV Festival twist, the comedians were swapped with give hyper-competitive TV execs, whose wiles, wit and wisdom were put to the test for a one-off special.
Those TV execs were; Zai Bennett, Director of Sky Atlantic, Nerys Evans, Deputy Head of Comedy at Channel 4, Jeff Ford, UK Managing Director of Fox Networks Group, Alan Tyler, the Acting Controller of Entertainment Commissioning at BBC and Claire Zowlker, the former Commissioning Editor for Comedy Entertainment at ITV.
A particular highlight was having to name as many TV programmes as possible in two minutes… in alphabetical order! Which strangely, they all struggled with. The classic get a potato into a hole task from series two was back and they were all tasked with coming up with a flag meal. A meal in the shape (and preferably colour) of a flag.
After much humiliation, which culminated in having to put a unique number of doughnuts onto a stick, Nerys Evans (the commissioner of Greg’s Channel 4 sitcom Man Down) won. Something Greg predicted at the start!
The live session proved just how great a show Taskmaster is and I look forward to the third series launching this autumn on Dave.
4. BBC One announce four new dramas
Speaking in her controller session, controller of BBC One, Charlotte Moore, announced four brand new dramas for the channel; Noughts and Crosses, Bodyguard, Trust Me and The Split.
Noughts and Crosses is an adaptation of Malorie Blackman’s critically acclaimed young adult novel. It’s an enthralling story of first love in a dangerous, adrenalin-fuelled fictional dystopia.
Divided by their colour but united by forbidden love and burning injustice, Sephy and Callum are fighting for more than simply the right to be together, in a contemporary dystopian State where strict race laws make daily existence a matter of life and death.
Bodyguard is a new six-part drama series from the team behind critically-acclaimed drama series Line Of Duty, created and written by Jed Mercurio.
Trust Me is a new Scottish drama set in Edinburgh tells the story of Cathy, a hardworking and skilled nurse, who, having lost her job for whistleblowing, is forced to take drastic measures to provide for her daughter.
And finally, The Split is a new original drama series from Abi Morgan (River) and examines the fast-paced circuit of high-powered female divorce lawyers, through the lens of three sisters, Hannah, Nina and the youngest, Rose. Hannah and Nina are leading divorce and family law lawyers working for rival firms, whilst Rose is still searching for her place in life.
It was also announced that Thandie Newton would the guest star in series four of Line of Duty.
5. BBC One announces an eighth series of Not Going Out
BBC Controller of Comedy Commissioning Shane Allen and writer and star Lee Mack confirmed in their Edinburgh TV Festival session about Desert Island Comedy, that Not Going Out will be returning to BBC One in 2017 for an eighth series.
The series follows on from last year’s Christmas Special which saw Lee and Lucy have their first child, after series seven answered the will-they-won’t-they question forever.
Now the couple will return to the screen as parents with three young children and uptight friends Toby (Hugh Dennis) and Anna (Abigail Cruttenden) not to mention Lee’s lovably-inept father (Bobby Ball) will all be returning to help Lee and Lucy though their new life journey.
6. Channel 4 stand by their decision to axe Raised By Wolves
When Head of Channel 4, Jay Hunt, decided not to recommission Raised By Wolves last week, there was uproar online, not least of all from Caitlin Moran whose baby the show was and still is. Caitlin is fighting for someone else to pick up the series which clearly has an audience.
Hunt stood by her decision to axe the comedy though and as much as she likes and respects Caitlin Moran, she disagrees with her point that there aren’t any working class comedies on Channel 4. She highlighted Chewing Gum which absolutely is working class and announced a new comedy from Lisa McGee set in Northern Ireland called Derry Girls.
7. Shane Smith delivered the 2016 MacTaggart Lecture at Edinburgh International Television Festival
This year, the honour of giving the MacTaggart lecture went to VICE Founder & CEO Shane Smith.
During his speech, Smith offered in-depth examination into the seismic shifts upending legacy and new media brands alike, arguing that the baby boomers’ stranglehold on media has finally been broken by a highly educated, ethnically diverse, global-thinking, hard-to-reach generation. But media are failing to adapt to their needs.
Throughout the lecture, the youth brand’s CEO delivered a detailed analysis of the profound changes the industry is currently facing, addressing an industry that’s all too often been paralyzed by trepidation and confusion.
“There is a revolution going on in media. And it’s scary, and it’s fast, and it’s going to be ugly. But it’s also totally necessary to keep going forward. Change has never been more important, never so crucial, especially in our industry.”
Closing his lecture, Smith argued that creating content that matters to young people, content that addresses the issues and passions of young people, is not only good for humankind, but also good for business and good for the future of the industry.