"More British than the streamers": in conversation with Sky's Zai Bennett

For one of the most powerful programme chiefs in the UK, Zai Bennett, Managing Director of Content for Sky UK and Ireland since June 2019, wears his authority lightly. He is responsible for a portfolio of services that includes Sky Atlantic, Sky Comedy, Sky Documentaries and Sky Arts. He has helped to nurture such hits as I Hate Suzie, Gangs of London, Bulletproof, A Discovery of Witches, Save Me, In the Long Run, Breeders and Brassic.

Cash Carraway talks creating Rain Dogs, auto-fiction and leaving behind 'poverty porn'

We’re meeting to discuss one of those stories. Carraway’s debut TV show, Rain Dogs, the brilliant dark comedy she created, wrote and executive produced with BBC and HBO, premiered earlier this year. She’d had TV developments in the past, “but nothing ever got off the ground because my life was too chaotic,” she explains. “I just wasn't ready.”

The rise of the video game franchise

If there was doubt before, there is none now: The Last of Us and The Super Mario Bros Movie have proved that games can transfer successfully to TV and film.

Audiences and box office have been astonishing: HBO’s post-apocalyptic series The Last of Us pulled in 30 million viewers per episode, while Super Mario – despite a critical lashing – is closing in on $1bn in ticket sales.

Kit Harington joins cast of financial drama Industry

Kit Harington Headshot

BBC and HBO’s Industry features university graduates striving for permanent positions at Pierpoint and Co, an esteemed investment bank. Where we left off in series two, Harper (Myha’la Herrold) and Eric (Ken Leung) had just pulled off a dramatic deal with Bloom (Jay Duplass) and secured themselves new positions at Pierpoint, but not without the help of some very illegal insider trading.

RTS West previews BBC's new comedy drama Rain Dogs

From the brilliant new voice of author Cash Carraway, Rain Dogs follows a dysfunctional family on the fringes of society attempting to go straight in a crooked world. Costello Jones (Daisy May Cooper) is a devoted mother who wants more for her young daughter, Iris (newcomer Fleur Tashjian).

As she hustles to survive, Costello leans on Selby (Jack Farthing), Iris’s pseudo father (and Costello’s pseudo soulmate) and Gloria (Ronke Adékoluejo), a loyal yet chaotic godmother and best friend.

The Gentleman Jack effect

Gentleman Jack cast

Halifax is the Lourdes for lesbians,” said producer-director and former Chair of RTS Yorkshire Fiona Thompson at “Celebrating Gentleman Jack: Changing lives”.

Not a sentence many would have anticipated hearing, but this is only one of the consequences of the so-called “Gentleman Jack effect”.

Anne Lister, Sally Wainwright’s eponymous Gentleman Jack, born in 1791, was a Halifax industrialist, landowner, diarist and self-assured lesbian, and hero of possibly the most important TV drama of recent times.

Daisy May Cooper stars in new HBO and BBC One co-production Rain Dogs

Focused on a powerful love between mother and daughter, Rain Dogs is a wild ride into the chaotic lives of single mother Costello Jones, played by Daisy May Cooper (This Country), and daughter Iris, played by Fleur Tashjian in her breakout role.

Carraway claims Rain Dogs “isn’t autobiographical”, but there are strong shades of some of her earlier work. Skint Estate, Carraway’s acclaimed debut memoir, chronicled her experiences as a single mum living through poverty and the destructive austerity programme of the 2010s.

Who's who in House of the Dragon?

House of the Dragon (credit: HBO)

Based on George R. R. Martin's novel Fire and Blood, the fantasy-epic is set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones. Focussing on the fortunes and politics of the Targaryen family, the series promises more familial machinations, deception, and blood-spilling battles in the events leading up to the Targaryen war of succession, known as the "Dance of the Dragons".

Here are the key players:

New recruits named for Industry series two

Across eight more episodes, the drama will continue following the ambitious twenty-something bankers throwing themselves into the cutthroat industry of international finance.

The new recruits include Jay Duplass (The Chair), who will play Jesse Boom, a well-respected hedge fund manager and recent émigré. Sonny Poon Tip (Anatomy of a Scandal) will play his wilful son Leo Bloom.

Katrine De Candole (The Ipcress File) will play the multilingual Celeste Pacquet, one of Peirpoint’s Private Wealth Managers.