RTS North West students learn the rule of three from industry experts

A crowd of people in front of a panel, being held in Dock10 Studios MediaCity UK

“Get three takeaways from each discussion. Set yourself three skills to develop. Make three meaningful contacts.” This advice came from host Beth Hewitt, welcoming students to RTS North West’s Student Networking Day.

First up was a panel discussion, “Hidden roles in TV production”. Katie Bayman, with “one of the coolest jobs in TV”, according to session chair Lyndon Saunders, is a virtual studio developer.

Martin Compston, Iain Glen and Emily Hampshire in the first look trailer of Prime Video’s supernatural thriller The Rig

Rose (Emily Hampshire), Magnus (Iain Glen) and Fulmer (Martin Compston) are among an oil rig crew 150 miles off the Scottish coast in the unpredictable and dangerous North Sea. While the crew are waiting to be collected to return to the mainland, the Kinloch Bravo rig is hit by huge tremors and encompassed by a supernatural mist, which leaves them deserted at sea with no communication to the outside world.

Neighbours to be revived by Amazon

Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue in the Neighbours finale (credit: Channel 5)

The new series will start filming in Australia next year, with the production company Fremantle signing a deal with Amazon Freevee.

Among the returning cast are fan favourites Alan Fletcher as Karl Kennedy, Jackie Woodburne as Susan Kennedy, Stefan Dennis as Paul Robinson, and Ryan Moloney as Toadie Rebecchi.

As well as a new series of the soap, Amazon will also host the show’s 37-year back catalogue of classic episodes.

WarnerMedia and Discovery deal shows merger mania sweeping TV

92% chance of Apple or Netflix buying Lionsgate (credit: Evan Shapiro)

There is a media consolidation bonanza under way, with no let-up in sight. The boom is sucking in big legacy media companies, including Hollywood studios such as Warner Bros and MGM, as well as broadcasters, production companies and global tech platforms. With its world-class creative talent, the UK is not immune, and the rush by companies to scale up and secure access to premium content is happening worldwide.  

Channel 4 and Amazon announce new comedy Frank of Ireland

32-year-old Frank Marron (Brian Gleeson) is single, unemployed and still lives at home with his mother Mary (Pom Boyd) in Dublin. A misanthropic and narcissistic fantasist, he claims to be a musician despite neither writing nor performing in over seven years.

It’s also been over seven years since Frank split with his ex-girlfriend Aine (Sarah Greene), and yet he’s struggling to come to terms with her new relationship with Peter-Brian (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor).

Jamie Dornan cast in TV adaptation of Dr Death podcast

Jamie Dornan on The Graham Norton Show (Credit: BBC)

Dr Death follows the true story of sociopath and former neurosurgeon Christopher Duntsch, who’s gross malpractice resulted in the deaths and severe maiming of numerous patients.

Dornan will star as the twisted doctor during his rise in the Dallas medical community, as Duntsch enjoys the booming success of his neurosurgery practice.

This success soon changes as patients who enter for complex but routine surgeries are left severely maimed or deceased.

BritBox: Traditional media's answer to US streaming giants

Queen Victoria (Jenna Coleman) in Victoria (Credit: ITV)

It seems only a few short years ago that the BBC and ITV were thought of as the titans of British media. But all of us in the UK’s traditional media solar system are getting smaller and smaller in the Apple, Amazon and Netflix universe.” Thus said Lord Hall, Director-General of the BBC, in March, as he unveiled the corporation’s plans for its new financial year.

“We need to find new ways to adapt to the changing needs of our audiences, and we need to be able to do it in real time to keep pace with our global competitors,” he continued.

Our Friend in the North West: Cat Lewis talks production centres in the UK

Cat Lewis

As TV producers, we’re facing more global competition than ever before. Whenever they wish, viewers can watch one of many programmes from around the world on Netflix or Amazon, rather than one of our shows. Or they can stream or download dozens of feature films available via their TV sets.

I genuinely believe that the best response to this difficult situation is to embrace the creativity of the whole country, and not just rely on London­based programme-makers.

Are smart speakers becoming threats to privacy?

Amazon's Alexa (Credit: Amazon)

Smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home accelerated their prodigious rate of adoption in the UK in the last quarter of 2018. Forecasts suggest that they will shortly be in a fifth of British homes.

But this trend of rising adoption could soon hit a wall. Surveys suggest that the majority of Britons fear that their privacy may be compromised if they invite voice-activated speakers into their homes.