BritBox

BBC announces cast for fourth series of The Syndicate

(credit: BBC)

Neil Morrissey (Unforgotten) will star alongside Emily Head (The Inbetweeners), Taj Atwal (Line of Duty), Katherine Rose Morley (Thirteen) and Kieran Urquhart (Vera).

British YouTuber Joe Sugg will make his TV acting debut in the series alongside fellow castmates Liberty Hobbs (Grey’s Anatomy) and Mark Benton (Shakespeare & Hathaway).

BritBox announces a set of debut originals

Credit: ITV

BritBox has the biggest set of British boxsets from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 and will now debut originals A Spy Among Friends, The Beast Must Die, Crime and Magpie Murders.

A Spy Among Friends is set to be a limited series based on the novel of the same name by Ben Macintyre and explores a world of espionage and duplicity in the time of the Cold War.

Spitting Image to return as BritBox UK’s first original commission

The first of two new series, starting in autumn this year, will be lampooning the likes of Boris Johnson, Harry & Meghan, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.

Co-creator Roger Law will head the creative team once again, having previously established the original series.

“The new Spitting Image will be global through a uniquely British eye, it will be more outrageous, audacious and salacious than the previous incarnation,” said Law.

UKTV's global ambition

Dad's Army (Credit: UKTV)

Marcus Arthur may be a BBC veteran, but the winds of change blowing through UKTV these past nine months or so have been like no other in his lengthy BBC career.

Last June, he succeeded Darren Childs as the outfit’s CEO. His appointment followed the end of the joint venture with Discovery, which finally gave BBC Studios full control of UKTV and its seven-channel portfolio (its three lifestyle channels were acquired by Discovery as part of the separation) and the online hub, UKTV Play.

The Syndicate returns to BBC One for a fourth series

Writer Kay Mellor has penned another six episodes of the drama, which will follow the fortunes of staff at a dog kennels in Leeds.

Facing potential redundancy after the owners announce a takeover by a larger company, the team turns to the weekly lottery as a last resort, and win.

But will the syndicate receive their rightful winnings? Set between Leeds and Las Vegas, the kennel workers will be forced to spend every last penny in pursuit of them.

UK broadcasters launch streaming service BritBox

(credit: BritBox)

The new streaming service offers content from ITV, the BBC, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

BritBox, created by ITV and the BBC, marks the UK’s entry into the paid streaming market alongside international giants such as Netflix and Amazon.

Priced at £5.99 per month, BritBox will offer the biggest collection of British boxsets such as Broadchurch, Doctor Who, Gavin and Stacey, Wolf Hall and Downton Abbey.

RTS London reflect on this year's RTS Cambridge Convention

Reed Hastings and Kirsty Wark (Credit: RTS/Richard Kendal)

The late-September event was hosted by the University of Westminster, and chaired by media producer and consultant Aradhna Tayal. It featured Bloomberg media reporter Joe Mayes, London Centre Chair Phil Barnes and James Cordell, a London committee member and first-time attendee at the convention.

The panel noted that one of the key themes throughout was the rise of streaming and whether the already established subscription video on demand (SVoD) companies – with more set to enter the market – will dominate the UK broadcast industry.

Key industry figures discuss what the future holds for linear TV in a world of streaming

Wayne Garvie, Reemah Sakaan and David Lynn (Credit: RTS/Richard Kendal)

Will the future of streaming be defined by SVoD (subscription video-­on-demand) or free, advertising-funded video-on-demand – or can they both prosper? Those were the big questions ad­dres­sed by BritBox launch director Reemah Sakaan and Viacom International Media Networks chief David Lynn.

Speaking on the day that the “best of British” SVoD announced a deal with Channel 5, Sakaan was asked by session chair Wayne Garvie how she was going to “persuade my mum and dad to spend £5.99 a month on BritBox”?

Tony Hall stresses the importance of the BBC in an age of uncertainty

Tony Hall (Credit: RTS/Richard Kendal)

Earlier, the RTS convention had been told that, as a brand, Netflix today enjoyed the same high levels of public trust as the BBC. As for the TikTok-using, mobile-addicted members of Generation Z, the BBC looked to be completely under the radar.

Now it was the time for Tony Hall, the BBC’s Director-General, to respond. He did so in a wide-ranging, troop-­rallying speech, and argued that, in today’s age of uncertainty, characterised by propaganda and disinformation, the BBC and public service broadcasting were more important than ever.

ITV's Carolyn McCall: The importance of PSB news has never been greater for our democracy

Carolyn McCall chairing the RTS Cambridge Convention 2019 (Credit: RTS/Richard Kendal)

Shifting viewing habits, developments in technology and the rapidly evolving competitive landscape are having a fundamental impact on our industry,” argued RTS Convention Chair Carolyn McCall as she opened Cambridge 2019.

But amid the change and uncertainty, which included Britain’s future relationship with Europe and the rest of the world, McCall maintained that television had a bright future.