Eastenders

Bake Off rises to the top of 2015's most watched shows

Nadiya Hussain, Mary Berry, Bake Off, Paul Hollywood, Sue Perkins, Mel Giedroyc

Over half of the top 40 TV shows of 2015 aired on BBC One, according to research compiled by the Press Association from the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (Barb).

Despite an increase in viewers over the year, Channel 4 does not make the list, as BBC One fills 27 spots, and ITV takes the remaining 13 places. 

Strictly Come Dancing appeared 13 times in the list, making it the most consistently viewed show so far this year.

Watch: Trailer for BBC One's new Dickensian drama

Dickensian, Tony Jordan, Caroline Quentin, Stephen Rea, Pauline Collins

The 20-part series is due to launch over Christmas and is written by former EastEnders writer and Hustle creator Tony Jordan.  

The show features some of Charles Dickens’ most popular characters living and interacting on one street. Jacob Marley, Scrooge’s business partner from A Christmas Carol, has been murdered and Inspector Bucket (Stephen Rea, The Honourable Woman) is sent to investigate. 

Five things to look out for at this year's Children in Need

1. A brand new Star Wars sketch

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens is out in December, but if you can't wait until then, there'll be an exclusive sketch tonight. R2-D2 and C-3PO will be joined by Warwick Davis (who played the Ewok Wicket in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi) and Lord Sugar as they "attempt to find a worthy winner to help trigger the first BBC Children in Need totaliser of the night."

Single writer or showrunner: what's the best way to succeed in drama?

Hugo Blick and Gina Moriarty

It is the question that British writers and commissioners perennially ask: which system works best – the UK’s single voice or the US’s showrunner model?

Former head of BBC Worldwide Productions turned independent producer Jane Tranter tried to answer this key question with a panel of writers, who outlined their experiences to see how they compared.

She pointed out that, during her seven years in the US, it was not a subject the industry there generally debated openly.

ITV’s big drama: Television speaks to drama boss Steve November

Steve November

On 18 September 2016, Steve November has a problem. At 9:00pm that night, the slot arrives in ITV’s schedule that would normally be filled by the season premiere of Downton Abbey.

As Director of Drama for the ITV network, November has to find a replacement – Downton is ending, with the last ever episode to air this coming Christmas Day. And, given Downton’s blockbuster ratings performance, it’s going to be a fiendishly difficult act to follow.

Hill sweeps to the top

Polly Hill

In a smooth transition, the personable Polly Hill has become the BBC’s new Controller of Drama Commissioning. She takes over without so much as dropping a script from LA-bound Ben Stephenson.

Her new job is one of the most coveted and powerful positions in UK television. Hill is responsible for the wide range of drama across BBC One and BBC Two, an estimated budget of £200m annually, spiced with the challenge of devising a new online policy, principally for BBC Three. She also has oversight of EastEnders, Casualty and Holby City.

Tips in 60 seconds... How to become a drama director

Drama directing is an immensely fun job but also highly competitive. You need determination and imagination to succeed according to Christiana Ebohon. 

Christiana has over fifteen years in the industry. She has been behind some of the most recognisable series, directing Doctors, EastEnders, Hollyoaks and Emmerdale. As well as drama series, she has made a number of award-winning short films and is now trying her hand at high end drama and features. Here she offers her best advice on becoming a drama director.

 

Profile: Lucinda Hicks, COO at Endemol Shine

Lucinda Hicks

The world of television production can, to quote Digital UK Chief Executive Jonathan Thompson, "sometimes be somewhat sniffy about strategy folk".

With this in mind, he says Lucinda Hicks' success in becoming Endemol Shine UK's Chief Operating Officer is doubly impressive.

He hired Hicks to work with his team at Channel 4 in 2008, when he was its Strategy Director.

Spanish Armada: Dan Snow talks about the 12 Days that saved England

Dan Snow

The Spanish Armada, much like the Boudica's uprising against the Romans, is a pillar of British history often referred to, but rarely fully understood.

Now a new three-part docudrama, starting this Sunday on BBC Two, aims to explain just what the armada was all about, from the international tensions that led to the conflict, to the efficacy of the weapons used.

Using CGI, dramatic reconstructions and recently discovered documents, Armada: 12 Days to Save England will focus on this short but decisive period of Tudor history.