Channel 4

Quiz show legends discuss the popularity of hard questions

Jo Street, Judith Keppel, Boyd Hilton, Anne Robinson and James Fox (Credit: Paul Hampartsoumian)

She was speaking at an RTS early-evening event in early December that celebrated the enduring appeal of quiz shows.

The audience were treated to a clip of Keppel’s triumph – one of British TV’s most iconic moments. Despite appearing calm and clear-headed as she pondered the jackpot question –Which king was married to Eleanor of Aquitaine?* – Keppel admitted: “I was like a duck – I was paddling madly underneath.

“I wasn’t calm at all. I thought my heartbeat was so loud that the mics would pick it up.”

Ad funded TV: How brands are boosting budgets

Kate Bulkley, Greg Barnett, Emily Hudd, Saj Nazir and Simon Wells (Credit: Paul Hampartsoumian)

With programme budgets under pressure, TV is turning to advertisers to fund shows directly. And the amounts that brands can bring to the table are significant – anything up to half a million pounds for an hour of TV.

This was the message from a packed RTS early-evening event in October, at which a panel of leading commissioners, producers and advertising experts discussed how they make branded programming.

Russell T Davies: An audience with a TV revolutionary

Russell T Davies with Gethin Jones (right) and Judith Winnan (left), who presented him with his RTS Fellowship (Credit: Aaron Lowe Photography)

In just 20 years, Russell T Davies has left an indelible mark on British television. From Queer as Folk, via Doctor Who, to this year’s dystopian chiller Years and Years, Davies has written unforgettable drama. His work – like the writer in person – is opinionated and loud, but also warm and human.

Walter Presents founders launch new production company

Walter Iuzzolino (Credit: Channel 4)

Eagle Eye Drama will produce English language dramas based on hit foreign language programmes that have been distributed on Walter Presents channels across the world.

Channel 4 will be a stakeholder in the new company and will invest through the Indie Growth Fund, which is aimed to support independent enterprises in the UK’s creative sector.

With several dramas already in development, Eagle Eye Drama has won two commissions from two broadcasters that will be announced in early 2020.

Leading animators share their tips for mastering the craft

Neil Kidney, Elmaz Ekrem, Terry Marsh, Christine MacKay and Will Cook (Credit: Phil Barnes)

“Make your face known… just apply and pitch for stuff, even if you might feel out of your depth,” said young 2D animator and film-maker Elmaz Ekrem. “Someone will eventually take a chance on you.”

Ekrem’s film (made with Dominika Ożyńska) about the refugee crisis in Europe, The Law of The Sea, was part of Channel 4’s short-film strand, Random Acts.

The four-strong panel offered advice to the many young animators in the audience.

Channel 4 acquires Taskmaster

Greg Davies and Alex Horne (Credit: Avalon/Channel 4/Dave/UKTV)

​Initially a live show at the Edinburgh Fest Fringe, Taskmaster was originally developed with Channel 4 and then later commissioned by UKTV where it aired on Dave for nine series.

The series follows Greg Davies and show creator Alex Horne as they host a series of complex and comedic challenges that test the wit of a line-up of famous contestants.

Following the six series deal, new episodes of Taskmaster will air on Channel 4.

Celebs Go Dating series eight singletons revealed

Amy Childs, Malique Thomson, Olivia Bentley, Dean Gaffney, Amy Hart, James Lock (Credit: Channel 4)

This year’s singletons ready to play the dating game includes Love Island star Amy Hart, who recently had her heart broken by fellow Love Island star Curtis Pritchard before dramatically leaving the villa in response to the breakup, former The Only Way Is Essex star Amy Childs, who after a recent split is hoping this will be her chance to meet Mr Right, and Made in Chelsea’s Olivia Bentley, who will be ditching the Chelsea dating scene in the hopes of finding a connection.

Channel 4 commissions new documentary with Adam Hills

Adam Hills (credit: Channel 4)

Adam Hills: Take His Legs will follow The Last Leg host as he undertakes a personal and physical challenge to realise his boyhood dream of playing competitive rugby league.

The documentary will chart the remarkable inception of Physical Disability Rugby League (PDLR) in the UK and the underdog success of the Warrington Wolves PDLR team, who rose from open trials to World Champions in just six months.

As a huge rugby league fan, Hills put his passion into practice and became a driving force behind the establishment of the first PDLR team in the UK.

Editing masterclass with Emma Lysaght and Matthew Gray

Matthew Gray and Emma Lysaght (Credit: Paul Hampartsoumian)

How to get into editing: Emma Lysaght: “I left school at 16. My father was a film editor so I grew up watching my dad cut film. It was something I’d always wanted to do.

“It was quite a male environment, I was very nervous and very shy. I didn’t get into the cutting room until I was 19. My dad knew of one female editor.

“She needed an assistant so I stepped in and became her assistant. Within the first few months I was cutting news for Channel 4, which was very pressurised but you know exactly what you’ve got to do in those three minutes.

Comedy masterclass with Nerys Evans

Sarah Asante and Nerys Evans (Credit: Paul Hampartsoumian)

How her career began: "I’m from a very small town in Wales. No-one I knew ever worked in TV. I had no in. I just followed my dream and worked really hard to get my foot in the door.

"I’m not an extraordinary person. I am very lucky to work with some quite extraordinary people. It’s hard to get into telly and it’s getting harder.

"I am a massive comedy fan. I wanted to do something in comedy although I didn’t know what that would be. I read politics at Liverpool’s John Moores University where I joined the student radio station.