Edinburgh International Television Festival

Marcus Ryder's TV Diary

As I write this, I am “officially” just three weeks and one day into my new role as CEO of The Film and TV Charity. I say “officially” because I was already performing some of the public functions back in August at the Edinburgh Television Festival.

I have not been able to gently ease myself into the job, having taken over at a time when the industry is in crisis and the role of the charity is more important than ever.

BBC Three tackles the rise of the far-right among new commissions

Why will young people care about this? he asked at today’s Edinburgh International Television Festival, as he unveiled a slate of new programmes for the digital channel.

Billy Wizz

Among the commissions is a documentary telling the remarkable story of driver Billy Monger, one of Britain’s most exciting new racing drivers, who last year was involved in an accident which resulted in the loss of both legs.

Edinburgh TV festival talent schemes open for submissions

Credit: Edinburgh International Film Festival

The charitable organisation runs two training programmes each year, The Network and Ones to Watch, that help talent from a diverse range of backgrounds across the UK kick-start their careers in the TV industry.

The Network gives 60 applicants with little or no experience their first step on the TV ladder for those who want to work behind the camera.

Amazon's online drive for audiences

The Grand Tour (Credit: Amazon)

It’s rare for Yorkshire town Whitby to make the national press – unless, of course, there’s been a flood – but wherever Jeremy Clarkson goes, the world follows. Amazon’s impending launch of The Grand Tour is one of the most globally anticipated series of all time.

Jay Marine, vice-president of Amazon Prime Video Europe, says: “It is a huge TV moment, not only for us but for UK TV generally.”

Edinburgh TV Festival Day One: The Grand Tour, Vice and new BBC commissions

Shane Smith delivering the 2016 MacTaggart lecture (Credit: RTS)

Although the much-publicised ‘steak-gate’ incident led to the end of the Clarkson, Hammond and May era of the show, the end had been looming, Wilman suggested.

“We were collapsing under the weight of the work we were doing,” he added.

Appearing at the festival to promote the team’s new Amazon Prime show The Grand Tour, Wilman would not be drawn on how much the company had paid for the series. “It’s a good whack,” he conceded, but denied that it was as much as the rumoured £4 million per episode.

Malorie Blackman's Noughts and Crosses among slate of dramas for BBC One

The adrenalin-fuelled dystopian love story is being adapted by Levi David Addai with Matthew Graham who described the book series as “a powerful story drawing on the themes of hope, love and identity.”

Director of BBC Content Charlotte Moore announced the series, which is being made by Poldark indie Mammoth Screen at Edinburgh International Television Festival.

CDN Diamond diversity monitoring scheme launched at Edinburgh Television Festival

Amanda Ariss, CDN, Creative Diversity Network

The Creative Diversity Network (CDN) has announced the launch of Diamond, a world-leading monitoring system designed to promote diversity in TV.

Diamond marks the first time accurate, industry-wide data has been gathered to monitor diversity, both on- and off-screen.

CDN’s Executive Director Amanda Ariss told the RTS that “Diversity has been an issue... for a while. We know that there is still a lot to do. […] It’s a real first that organisations who are main competitors [in television] have agreed to monitor diversity on a consistent basis and to publish the results.

How TV defines the digital era

The Big Bang Theory

Some years ago, when The Guardian hosted a supper at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, there was an unfamiliar face sitting among the executive classes.

It should be said that, over the years, this event has been notable for a number of spectacular rows. And, in the interests of transparency, I have to admit that I was responsible for one of the worst, when I asked Luke Johnson, then Chair of Channel 4, what a “pizza maker” like him knew about television.