Channel 5

TV Diary: An anonymous Channel 5 insider

The black Channel 5 logo against a light grey backdrop

On the far wall of the programming department at Channel 5, there is a “mood-ometer” – and, on Monday mornings, the mood is not good.

The ratings are always bad at weekends, so Mondays in the office can sometimes seem like the five stages of grief on fast forward. The trick is to try to get Ben [Frow, Channel 5’s programme supremo] to accept the situation before he starts strolling around the office musing on the other things he could have done with his life. Ennui won’t get us out of our ratings slump.

New UK public service broadcaster streaming service Freely launches today

The Freely logo above the text "Backed by:", itself to the left of the logos for BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5

The free service allows its users to stream live channels through smart TVs, without the need for an aerial or dish. Viewers are also able to watch on-demand content from the UK’s biggest broadcasters.

As was previously announced, Hisense will be the first smart TV partner for the service, and begins selling Freely smart TVs today (30th April).

Freely represents the first collaboration between Britain’s four public service broadcasters, in an effort to futureproof live TV in the age of streaming.

Channel 5 announces the cast for new thriller The Catch

Credit: Charlie Gray, Dave Buttle, Ruth Crafer

Based on the novel of the same name by T.M. Logan, the four-part series introduces Ed Collier (Jason Watkins), a proud and happy father, husband and local fisherman who will do anything to keep his family together. 

He finds his happiness threatened when the rich, handsome and young Ryan Wilson (Aneurin Barnard) begins a relationship with his daughter Abbie (Poppy Gilbert), threatening to break up the family unit. 

Collier finds his life turned upside down as secrets and lies are exposed from all around, including his own past. 

Channel 5 announces new drama Maxine

The three-part drama written by Simon Tyrrell, revisits the Soham murders through the eyes of Maxine Carr.

The series will follow the 2002 police investigation into school assistant Maxine Carr (Jemma Carlton) and her caretaker fiancé Ian Huntley (Scott Reid).

Huntley was convicted of the murders of ten-year-old schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman and sentenced to 40 years in prison.

The drama will look at Carr’s complicated and turbulent relationship with Huntley, uncovering why she gave him a false alibi and her label as public enemy number one.

Channel 5's controller Ben Frow: An audience with the outsider

Jay Hunt and Ben Frow (credit: RTS/Paul Hampartsoumian)

Ben Frow is nothing if not candid. During a high-energy RTS two-way with Jay Hunt, the architect of Channel 5’s revival gave an insight into how he’s turned around a broadcaster that last year enjoyed its strongest performance since 2009.  

“Quite a few of you turned up thinking this would be the channel controllers’ version of Fight Club,” joked Hunt, one of British TV’s most successful content supremos, most notably at Channel 4 – she is now creative director, Europe, worldwide video at Apple.