Channel 5

Channel 5's Ben Frow swaps Big Brother for "life-affirming" shows

Ben Frow

It’s a good time to sit down with Ben Frow, Channel 5’s director of programmes. A purple patch that started with the station winning Channel of the Year at the Edinburgh TV Awards last August has just been topped with the station’s best Christmas since 2005 – and all this after Frow’s “carnage” assessment of the first half of the year.

From his now much more comfortable perch, the executive is happy to reel off a catalogue of titles that, in those first months of 2018, passed most of the nation by.

Our Friend in Leeds: Helen Scott prepares for Channel 4's arrival

Leeds (Credit: Channel 4)

The announcement that Channel 4 will be coming to Leeds literally lit up the city. Social media went mad. Leeds City Region’s #4Sparks campaign had prevailed, and Leeds University floodlit its iconic Parkinson Building in celebration.

Friends and neighbours with no connection to the media were talking about it as a good thing. A new wave of prosperity, jobs and creative pride was on the way.

Moreover, we had been the underdog and beaten off the challenge from the two Andies (mayors Andy Street, heading the Birmingham bid, and Andy Burnham, in Manchester).

Bill Malone delivers Dan Gilbert Memorial Lecture

Adrian Dunbar (Jim Hogan) & Carolina Main (Cat Hogan) in Blood (Credit: Channel 5)

Virgin Media Television’s director of programming said: “We’re constantly being told that linear TV is dead, but the facts actually present a different picture.”

In Ireland, Virgin Media is “bucking the trend and showing continual growth in audiences”, a result, he claimed, of a “notable step up in [the] scale, ambition and quality” of programming.

TV picks of the week: 29 October - 4 November

Crow's Blood (Credit: Channel 4)

Black Earth Rising

Monday: BBC Two, 9.00pm


Michaela Coel (Credit: BBC)

The thrilling political drama comes to a close with a key villain finally being unmasked. Kate (Michaela Coel) also finds what she’s been looking for. A collective guilt hangs over her and Michael (John Goodman) over the Rwandan genocide and the reprisals that saw Hutu refugees massacred in camps.