The Edinburgh TV Festival is over for another year, and here are 7 things that happened on day three…
1. Hans Rosenfeldt announced a second series of Marcella for ITV
Speaking during his Crime Noir Masterclass at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, renowned screenwriter and novelist, Hans Rosenfeldt, announced a second series of Marcella, starring Anna Friel who was also there to share the good news.
Set in contemporary London and boldly told with Rosenfeldt’s unflinchingly clear Nordic style, the new 8 x 60’ series has been commissioned for transmission on ITV in 2017.
2. Ben Winston spilled the beans on The Late Late Show with James Corden
With 1.7 billion views on YouTube, 172 videos over 1 million views and 32 videos with over 10 million views, all in just 17 months it’s fair to say that The Late Late Show with James Corden is a smash hit.
Not only that, but the show has been sold to 155 countries and has spawned two spin-offs, Drop The Mic and Carpool Karaoke.
Executive Producer of The Late Late Show Ben Winston was joined on stage by Adam Abramson who’s in charge of digital, which is clearly a big strategy for the show which has 200 hours of content to fill every year.
Winston admitted that he wakes up and “checks YouTube hits before checking the overnights” as he admits that most people are asleep when the show is on, so it’s really important that the show launches at midnight rather air at midnight.
Ben confirmed that the Carpool Karaoke idea came from the Comic Relief sketch where Smithy was joined by George Michael in the car with Wham hits playing. He said that every single big artist you can think of said no to Carpool Karaoke until finally Mariah Carey really got the ball rolling.
3. Edinburgh took on Lip Sync Battle UK
Professor Green and Mel B hosted a special version of Lip Sync Battle at the Edinburgh TV Festival which saw the great and the good of TV, Fiona Campbell, Controller for BBC News Mobile and and Online, Iain Coyle, Senior Commissioning Editor at UKTV, Pegah Farmhand, Commissioning Editor, Random Acts, Channel 4 and Jonathan Stadlen, MD of Knickerbockerglory, battle it out to become Edinburgh’s Lip Sync Battle Champion of 2016.
I witnessed some moves and body parts which I never thought I’d see at the TV Festival, and if I’m completely honest, never want to see ever again. That being said, Edinburgh Does… Lip Sync Battle was one of the highlights of this year’s festival. Very entertaining and very funny and I was surprised at hoe much everyone gave their all!
Fiona Campbell channeled her inner Beyonce, lip-syncing and dancing her way through Destiny’s Child’s Survivor, Iain Coyle channeled his inner Olivia Newton-John and got Physical, Pegah paid tribute to Prince with Kiss and Jonathan Stadlen was reaching out for a hero with his unique version of Bonnie Tyler’s I Need A Hero.
And finally, it was up to the audience to decide who should win with the classic technique of “Who can get the biggest cheer?” which often goes to the last cheer and true to form, the winner was… Jonathan Stadlen!
4. Sharon Horgan delivered the Alternative McTaggart
One half of the dream team behind one of the best comedies of our generation, Catastrophe, Sharon Horgan was interviewed by Frankie Boyle at this year’s festival as part of this year’s Alternative MacTaggart interview.
She spoke about Pulling, Dead Boss and Catastrophe as well as HBO’s new 10-part series Divorce which she’s written.
Sharon revealed how she was gutted when the BBC decided to pull the plug on Pulling after just two series and two BAFTA nominations, but at least they gave her a special before saying goodbye for good. She acknowledges that it was “unusual for them to take that risk” at that time.
Dead Boss was Sharon’s way of creating something which was “big, stupid and funny” but admits that if she had listened to the controller or BBC Three at the time and included younger cast members, the show might have stuck around for at least another series.
Speaking about Catastrophe, Sharon told the story of how she met Rob (on Twitter in case you were wondering, it’s WELL documented) and revealed that Channel 4 just “let us do whatever the fuck we want”.
We then watched a clip of HBO’s upcoming 10-part series Divorce which Sharon created and will air on HBO in October in the US and on Sky Atlantic here in the UK.
When asked what she’d change about the industry at the moment, she said the phrase “We’re looking for something like…” describing that as the problem with UK comedy at the moment. “That’s not how it works. You should just be looking for something good.”
Onto the positives, Sharon is pleased that there are more places for TV with the likes of Amazon and Netflix as well as the fact that there is more short form content around.
She also praised the rise in performer/writer driven stuff, as they’re the people with the “best stories to tell” and when talking about BBC Three’s latest hit Fleabag, Sharon said “You can’t take your eyes off her” – talking about Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
5. BBC Two announced a raft of new comedies and dramas
Speaking today at the Edinburgh TV Festival, Patrick Holland, Channel Editor of BBC Two, announced a wide range of ambitious and distinctive new titles across drama, comedy, factual and current affairs.
He announced a new drama series MotherFatherSon from acclaimed author and screenwriter Tom Rob Smith as well as a new dramatisation of the Man Booker prize winning The Luminaries from its author, Eleanor Catton.
In terms of comedy, new series White Gold, from Damon Beesley, creator of The Inbetweeners was announced along with new topical comedy news show, Common Sense and new mock-documentary Nigel Farage Gets His Life Back follows the day-to-day reality of being Nigel Farage and stars Kevin Bishop.
6. BBC Three announced that it was going stateside
This October, BBC Three is going stateside after commissioning landmark documentary series American High School, Reggie Yates: Life and Death in Chicago and Trumps’ Youngest Superfine.
New six-part documentary American High School will show young people in the UK what it’s like to grow up as an African-American teenager.
Graduating High School is a fork in the road for Americans, but even more so if you are African-American. For this school’s seniors, 2016 was their make or break year and the documentary was filmed over the course of a year at a High School in South Carolina.
Against the backdrop of unprecedented gun violence, Reggie Yates travels to Chicago to investigate gun crime in President Obama’s adopted hometown for his new documentary Reggie Yates: Life and Death in Chicago.
Chicago’s murder rate has soared by 72% in 2016 with shootings up more than 88%. There were 468 murders in 2015, a 12.5% increase on the previous year with many of the victims young African-American men. So, who is to blame?
Reggie hears first-hand the accusations of police brutality, but after attending the aftermath of a shooting, and funeral of a young black man, he comes to realise an even bigger problem is the majority of killings are perpetrated by young black men living in Chicago’s poorest neighbourhoods.
Angela Scanlon will front Trump’s Young Superfans.
Donald Trump has divided and astonished America with his own brand of politics, once seen as the outside contender he is one step away from the Whitehouse as the Presidential Republican nominee. He is accused of being a ‘racist’, ‘sexist’ and a ‘liar’ by some in his own party whilst millions of others have been inspired to join his campaign, strongly believing he can ‘Make America Great Again’.
In Trump’s Youngest Superfans Angela will meet with devoted and passionate young people stumping for Trump.
From some of his youngest fans in the USA Freedom Kids group, primary school children who sing patriotic songs at Trump rallies, to young supporters from the LGBT and African American community, Angela explores what motivates them to campaign for Donald Trump and why his message appeals to them.
7. Damian Kavanagh defended BBC Three’s move online
Six months ago BBC Three became the first TV channel in the world to switch online and speaking during his first controller session since the move, Controller Damian Kavanagh
When asked about the Thinkbox stats that 18% less 16-34’s are watching the BBC, Damian dismissed them as they refer to the BBC as a whole and BBC Three isn’t on TV and BBC One is still the show that most 16-34’s watch in the UK.
Chair June Sarpong challenged him on the BBC Three website which isn’t visually appealing and difficult to navigate. Damian acknowledged that there’s work to do on the website and he does have plans to make it better.
Damian chose to focus on the positives rather than any of the negatives and said “the stuff wre doing is absolutely world class. I’ve always said, this is a 3-5 year project. This stuff takes a while. We need to keep raising the bar all the time”.
When speaking about new talent, Damian said “I don’t feel we struggle with new talent at all, it’s what BBC Three is all about. I cherish talent like Reggie Yates and Stacey Dooley and want them to stay on the channel.”
As well as the documentaries which were announced, he also let slip that there’s going to be another drama documentary along the lines of Murdered By My Boyfriend and Murdered By My Father called Murdered For Being Different which is set to be shown in March 2017.
There’s been a lot of talk this festival about Vice, following Shane Smith’s MacTaggart lecture and how upcoming TV channel Viceland will be in competition with BBC Three to which Damian responded with “I am not in competition with Vice.
And whilst acknowledging the decision to move BBC Three online wasn’t his, June Sarpong asked him if he believes it was the right decision to do so and he simply said “I think so”.