The mixing of sport's TV economy

It’s more of a trickle than a flood, but live sport is returning to free-to-air television. Women’s football, cricket’s new The Hundred competition and, most recently, Super League rugby have all signed deals that give terrestrial TV the right to show some live matches.

Super League rugby games will air on free-to-air TV for the first time in the competition’s history in 2022 after a two-year deal was agreed with Channel 4. Sky Sports will show the overwhelming majority of fixtures, while Channel 4 will show 10 games.

That's Life! host Esther Rantzen looks back on her career at the BBC

It is staggering to think that, in the 1960s, one of Esther Rantzen’s first TV appearances in a trailblazing career was during a debate about whether a woman could ever read the news. “It took another 15 years before Angela Rippon read the BBC news in 1975, followed by Anna Ford on ITN in 1978,” she noted in her RTS London Christmas Lecture.

Now Dame Esther Rantzen registered a few TV firsts herself in the intervening 55 years. As she put it: “I was there when some of the glass ceilings were broken through. Indeed, some of the fragments are still stuck in my skull.”

The bedrock of the BBC: Peter Taylor's Steve Hewlett Memorial Lecture

In his stirring Steve Hewlett Memorial Lecture, “Integrity in television: 50 years through the lens”, award-winning journalist Peter Taylor offered a powerful defence of the BBC.

Before he began, Taylor paid tribute to Hewlett, a “former colleague and friend, who produced two of the films of which I am most proud: The Maze: Enemies Within and Remember Bloody Sunday. He was great to work with. Tough minded, sharp and meticulous.”

First look images released for BBC’s Then Barbara Met Alan

Ruth Madeley and Arthur Hughes (Credit: BBC)

Starring Ruth Madeley and Arthur Hughes, the drama tells the true story of the group behind the unstoppable and fierce campaign of direct action that significantly moved forward the battle for disabled rights in Britain. 

Written by Jack Thorne and Genevieve Barr, the series is told through the eyes of Barbara Lisicki (Ruth Madeley) and Alan Holdsworth (Arthur Hughes), two disabled cabaret performers who first met at a gig in 1989. 

Alex Jones set to host BBC’s Reunion Hotel

Credit: Alex Jones

The hotel will open its doors to people from all over the UK looking to reunite with those who have had a significant impact on their lives.

From lifesaving heroes to romantic and emotional homecomings, and an ex-pupil reunited with his old teacher who changed his life, the Reunion Hotel is open to all.

The six-part series will be bursting with warmth and will allow guests to reconnect and say all the things they never got a chance to say.

Exploring the relationship between Television and the Arts

Credit: Paul Hampartsoumian

Sky Arts went free-to-air while Channel 4 scored a zeitgeist hit with Grayson Perry’s Art Club and the BBC gave us Culture in Quarantine. 

But are we living through a Golden Age of Arts on TV? That was the question posed by an enthralling RTS discussion chaired by Tim Marlow, CEO and director of the Design Museum, and featuring arts commissioners from the BBC, Channel 4 and Sky Arts, and the co-founder and CEO of Marquee TV, the performance arts streaming service.