It’s a brave film-maker who takes on the story of the Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci. Can their treatment hope to measure up to the real figure who – for starters – painted the world’s most famous canvas, designed flying machines and was a ground-breaking anatomist and scientist.
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At first glance, the outlook looks less than sunny for traditional broadcasters faced with competition from Netflix and the other streamers. Dig a little deeper and the situation looks a lot more nuanced.
That was the main takeaway from the second of two Steve Hewlett Scholarship debates, “British broadcasting in crisis?”, organised jointly by the RTS and Media Society.
Academy Award-winning actor Christopher Walken (The Deer Hunter) will be making his leading British television debut as Frank, a long-established swindler undertaking community service in Bristol.
The Offenders follows seven strangers from vastly different backgrounds, who come together as part of Community Payback sentence in Bristol. As they grow to become more involved in each other’s lives, they also accidentally become entwined with a hardened criminal gang.
Over the past year, SVoD services such as Disney+, HBO Max, Peacock (NBCUniversal) and AppleTV+ have come on stream, joining the likes of Netflix and Amazon.
Alan Wolk, co-founder of media consultancy TV[R]EV, speaking from New Jersey, dubbed the streaming boom a “flixcopalypse”. He said two more – Paramount+ and Discovery+ – were due to launch soon.
Success is not guaranteed. The short-form streamer Quibi, launched by former Disney exec Jeffrey Katzenberg, collapsed this month after only half a year in business.
But the makers of Sky Atlantic’s Britannia starring David Morrissey, Mackenzie Crook and Zoe Wanamaker took a more imaginative and freewheeling approach to their costume creation.
The series is set approximately 2000 years ago when the Romans are attempting to stamp their bloody authority on a tribal land made up of Celts and Druids.