Monday, 25 August 2008


Isn't TV brilliant?
You switch on the box/screen in your front room, and moving images from every part of the world are transmitted right in front of you. Brilliant!
Do we ever stop to think just how mind-bogglingly brilliant that really is? Probably not.
I mean. Think about it for a moment. I mean.. it's really very bloody clever.
Instead we spend far too much time complaining about why there is never anything on that WE like.

This weekend I attended the MediaGuardian Edinburgh Television Festival. The slogan for the weekend was 'I LOVE TV', and pretty much set the tone.
Words like 'entertainment' and 'showbiz' were uttered. People talked of 'more drama', and controllers and heads of department moved around in their chairs with genuine passion and feeling.
You know what? That was so refreshing. Television of late has been saddled with an image of number-crunchers fulfilling demographic quotas and paranoid desk-jokeys chasing ratings and agonizing over audience appreciation indexes.
Instead, what I saw were television executives who were prepared to fight for their programme makers and intensely proud of their output.
At one point a foolish member of the audience described a TV show as "rubbish" during a Q&A session and was quickly made to look very foolish as department heads and controllers rounded on him in a genuinely moving show of solidarity. It felt good to see such passion. To see people in powerful positions of television stand up for a show made you feel that any future commission of your own would be in safe hands,

I make no secret of my love for television. British television.
Yes, it's fashionable to hold up US TV as the watermark of quality television, but for me, British TV is still the best.
Drama that reflects our society so perfectly like SKINS. Documentary that soars like LOST LAND OF THE JAGUAR. And the finest, most comprehensive news services in the world.
I feel proud to live in a country that can produce anything so fantastic.

My festival highlights then, in no order:

Listening to each of these people made you realize just how exciting the coming years are going to be. Drama is coming back with a bang!

Peter Fincham provoked the longest applause the festival has seen for many many years.
I would imagine EVERYONE in that awesome hall felt proud to be part of the television industry. Entertainment is nothing to be scared of.

Graham Linehan, Stephen Moffat, Brian Elsley all gave us a fascinating insight into the mind of the creative, and how a series works on television.

Of course, there were many other highlights, involving schmoozing, boozing and giggling.
Cheese sticks, breakaway thumbs, and free facial cream.
That's a whole other blog...

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