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Amazon's online drive for audiences

The Grand Tour (Credit: Amazon)

It’s rare for Yorkshire town Whitby to make the national press – unless, of course, there’s been a flood – but wherever Jeremy Clarkson goes, the world follows. Amazon’s impending launch of The Grand Tour is one of the most globally anticipated series of all time.

Jay Marine, vice-president of Amazon Prime Video Europe, says: “It is a huge TV moment, not only for us but for UK TV generally.”

The horn of plenty: TV in a hyperconnected world

The panel (L-R): Hugh Dennis, Sue Unerman, Jim Ryan, Simon Pitts and Ben McOwen Wilson  panel (L-R): Hugh Dennis, Sue Unerman, Jim Ryan, Simon Pitts and Ben McOwen Wilson (Credit: Paul Hampartsoumian)

Comedian Hugh Dennis aired the thoughts of many trying to navigate the new television landscape when he introduced this session. In a video diary shown to conference delegates, he was seen stuck inside a room for a month. His task was to watch all the content available to modern audiences. 

“Watching telly used to be so easy,” he complained. “Four channels, maybe five – everyone watched the same thing in the same place at the same time, unless your family was at the cutting edge of technology and had a VCR.” 

Edinburgh TV Festival Day One: The Grand Tour, Vice and new BBC commissions

Shane Smith delivering the 2016 MacTaggart lecture (Credit: RTS)

Although the much-publicised ‘steak-gate’ incident led to the end of the Clarkson, Hammond and May era of the show, the end had been looming, Wilman suggested.

“We were collapsing under the weight of the work we were doing,” he added.

Appearing at the festival to promote the team’s new Amazon Prime show The Grand Tour, Wilman would not be drawn on how much the company had paid for the series. “It’s a good whack,” he conceded, but denied that it was as much as the rumoured £4 million per episode.

Sky 'not worried' about competition from Netflix and Amazon says Gary Davey

Sky, Sky Arts, television, Europe, Damian Lewis, Gary Davey, Pat Younge, Sugar Films, The Hospital Club,

Speaking at an RTS Early Evening Event Davey said that despite the proliferation of ways of watching content linear channels would continue to survive. 

“Channels will always be around. | cannot see a future where they don’t exist,” said Davey, a pay TV veteran who was part of the team that helped establish the pioneering satellite broadcaster in the early 1990s.  

“There is a revolution going on but it’s happening a lot slower than people think…

Amazon commissions original UK drama from makers of Ripper Street

Ripper Street

The Collection is an eight-part series from Lookout Point, the Production Company behind popular shows such as Ripper Street and upcoming BBC period drama War and Peace.

The drama is being created, written, and executive produced by Ugly Betty showrunner Oliver Goldstick, whose work also includes the popular American TV show, Pretty Little Liars. Joining Goldstick are Emmy Award-winning director Dearbhla Walsh (The Tudors) and BAFTA-winning producer Selwyn Roberts (Parade’s End).

This week's best on demand TV

Graham Norton and Adele (Credit: BBC)

1. Adele at the BBC

Available on BBC iPlayer

The world's been waiting three years for 25, the follow-up to Adele's phenomenally successful 21 - and the day is finally here. To mark the release of her album - which will no doubt shoot to the top of the charts and dominate the airwaves for the next several months - she performs a special concert at the BBC, interspersed with excerpts from an interview with Graham Norton, peppered with her trademark wit throughout.

TV comedy experts examine the challenges facing the genre

Nerys Evans, Simon Lupton, Gregor Sharp, Jessica Knappett and Boyd Hilton

The classic sitcom no longer rules the TV schedules in the way that shows such as Fawlty Towers, Open All Hours and Porridge did in the 1970s. Or does it?

A panel of TV practitioners attempted to tease out the answer last month at an RTS early-­evening event, “No laughing matter: how does comedy fight back?” This stimulating debate made one think that we could be living through another golden age of TV comedy without necessarily knowing it.