RTS Craft Skills Camera Masterclass with Sophie Darlington and Christopher Titus King

Wildlife cinematographer Sophie Darlington (the BBC’s Planet Earth II and documentary feature African Cats) and director of photography Christopher Titus King, who straddles the documentary (BBC One’s Seven Ages of Britain) and drama (the History mini-series, The Bible) genres, discussed camerawork at the RTS Craft Skills Masterclasses.

James Nesbitt fronts new series exploring Grenfell Tower and other British disasters

Commissioned by A+E Networks UK, the series takes a unique and extraordinary look at some of the most impactful events to have affected Britain in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Set to air in early 2018 on History, the original six-part series will unravel the events that led to some of the most devastating disasters of the past 60 years.

RTS celebrates 90th anniversary in Yorkshire

Melvyn Bragg touring the ITV Archives with RTS Yorkshire (Credit: RTS / Paul Harness)
The RTS was founded in September 1927, following a lecture at Leeds University from one of the future inventors of television, John Logie Baird.
“Invented before TV – the RTS was always ahead of its time,” said RTS Yorkshire Chair Fiona Thompson, while introducing Bragg to a sell-out crowd at ITV’s Leeds Television Centre in late-November.
During a wide-ranging address, the veteran arts broadcaster argued: “All new inventions provoke wonder and horror; hope and fear.” Television, too, has “a dark side”.

The Great History Debate | Full video

British television makes great history programmes – but not enough of them, claimed the experts at a lively RTS early evening event chaired by Sir Tony Robinson in early October.

Joining Tony on the panel were:

Leanne Klein, Chief Executive Officer, Wall to Wall
Suzannah Lipscomb, Historian/Presenter
Tom McDonald, Head of Natural History and Specialist Factual Commissioning, BBC
David Olusoga, Historian/Presenter

What does the future hold for history programming?

“Genres go through cycles and I feel a lack of confidence about the genre at the moment across British broadcasting,” argued the BBC’s history commissioner Tom McDonald.

The exec, who also commissions specialist factual and natural history shows for the BBC, praised the efforts of other broadcasters – “When Channel 4 do history they do it very well and differently to us; Channel 5 do some really fantastic history” – but he added that “the ecosystem only works if everyone is doing it.

“I don’t worry about finding the next generation of on-screen historians,” he continued.

90 years of the RTS: From acorns to great oaks

WGW Mitchell (left), who proposed what became the Television Society, served as its honorary secretary 1929-44, with John Logie Baird, preparing for a demonstration

‘Recalling the early days of television and the Society, and then looking at things today, may be rather like looking at an acorn and then the oak tree and wondering how it all happened.” WC (Bill) Fox’s words from 40 years ago, on the occasion of the Society’s 50th anniversary, illustrate what television felt like to him in 1977. The Press Association journalist was present at the start of the Society – and even at the birth of television itself, as an enthusiastic supporter of John Logie Baird.

A night at the museum

Hosted by museum director Nick Merriman and Egyptologist Campbell Price, the tour offered a behind-the-scenes look at the wealth of history held beyond the public eye at the institution in its vast archives.

Ancient Egyptian mummies, Roman ruins, jewellery and artefacts from across the globe were on display as members were given exclusive access to the inner workings of the museum while their hosts discussed the items in great detail.

A cocktail reception in the museum’s great hall ended an inspiring evening at a superb location.