BBC

How Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum and Dad got made

In May 2015, Rio Ferdinand’s wife Rebecca lost her life to breast cancer, leaving behind her husband and three children. The documentary that followed captures the footballer’s own grief and worries for his children as he speaks, frankly and movingly, on camera. He meets other families coping with bereavement and loss, and looks at what help is available for parents and children who have lost a loved one.

Lynn Novick on the power of documentaries and working with Ken Burns

(Credit: Florentine Films/Stephanie Berger)

Can something as apparently ephemeral as a TV programme be genuinely cathartic and help to bring a measure of healing, perhaps even closure, to a national tragedy? That was the hope behind the making of The Vietnam War, the acclaimed documentary made by Ken Burns and his long-time collaborator Lynn Novick.

Last month, PBS America began showing the 18-hour directors’ cut in the UK. This followed the British premiere of the 10-hour version by BBC Four last autumn and its repeat over Christmas.

Blue Planet II producers describe extreme lengths crew went to for the show

(Credit: Paul Hampartsoumian)

Professional skill, time, money and the latest camera technologies are all vital to making landmark natural-history shows. Less well known, when it comes to seeking unique footage of life deep in the world’s oceans, is how programme-makers put their health on the line.

The lengths that these men and women go to in the cause of producing iconic TV was explained in detail during an RTS event, “Diving beneath the waves – the making of Blue Planet II”.

How to close TV's gender pay gap

(Credit: Paul Hampartsoumian)

The huge disparity between the salaries of male and female on-air talent at the BBC has attracted widespread and much-deserved criticism. But recently released figures on the gender pay gap reveal that discrimination exists across television, from the top to the bottom of the industry.

Channel 4 recorded the worst (mean) average pay gap – of 28.6% – of the major UK broadcasters, followed by: UKTV at 17.9%; ITV, 16.4%; the BBC, 10.7%; Sky: 5.2%; and Channel 5, where women are, in fact, paid 2.9% more than men.

Anita Rani's TV Diary

(Credit: BBC)

Well, I only went and won an RTS! What a wonderful, unexpected bonus after making the most important piece of TV I’ve ever made. My Family, Partition and Me told the story of the Partition of India, the brutal end of the Raj. Not only my story, the story of millions. My motivation for making it was realising, based on the reaction to my Who Do You Think You Are?, how little people know about this momentous period in history.