Channel 4

Taskmaster: Top ten tasks

Greg Davies and Alex Horne (Credit: UKTV)

Created and written by comedian Alex Horne, the series stars Greg Davies as the Taskmasterwith Horne acting as Davies’ assistant and umpire during the tasks.

Each series, five contestants compete each week to score the highest mark on the bizarre tasks set by the Taskmaster.

Taskmaster originally aired on Dave, but will make the move to Channel 4 in 2020 following a new six series deal. 

With over 200 tasks to date so far, here is a roundup of some of our favourites.

Channel 4 announces new Gen Z inspired content

Flawless (Credit: Channel 4/Barcroft Studios)

Produced by Barcroft Studios, the series of short films will explore a range of topics that surround young people in 2019 Britain.

 

Fix Up

A new style of debate show, Fix Up takes place inside the best-loved beauty salons and barbers in the UK.

The series tackles current issues and topics that impact Britain, including knife crime, abortion, cosmetic surgery, relationships and sex.

 

David Abraham delivers RTS London Christmas Lecture 2019

David Abraham (Credit: Phil Barnes)

Speaking at the RTS London Christmas Lecture, he predicted that despite the growth of streaming services a lot of people would still be watching live, scheduled TV in a decade.

He said: “In ten years’ time linear TV will be distributed by IPTV, but scheduled TV will still be important, that more passive way of consuming curated content will have a very important role, not least in news and entertainment.”

Ackley Bridge set to return for a fourth series

Rob James-Collier, Jo Joyner and Sunetra Sarker (Credit: Channel 4)

Instead of 60-minute weekly episodes, the new ten-part series will now be 30 minutes.

Ackley Bridge was inspired by real-life Lancashire and Yorkshire schools, which had been set up to help integrate white and Asian communities in some of the most divided towns in the country.

The RTS award-winning series has been praised for tackling real-life issues with intelligence and sensitivity, creating hard-hitting and thought-provoking stories.

RTS Thames Valley Awards 2019

Tony Orme and Bob Clarke, CEO of Mama Youth Project (Credit: Matt Robbins)

“Without the heroic passion” shown by the event director of Olympia’s Media Production & Technology Show, said the judges, “it’s likely that to enjoy high-quality, world-class tradeshows, we here in the UK would have to travel to Amsterdam or Las Vegas”.

Mama Youth Project, which trains young people from under-represented backgrounds to succeed in the media industry, won the Community Improvement award. Over the past 12 years, the project has trained more than 520 people from schools, colleges and homeless refuges, as well as ex-offenders.

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.