Ian Katz

Ian Katz’s TV Diary

Channel 4 (Credit: Channel 4)

Surprise hit of the week is 100 Vaginas, in which the artist Laura Dods­worth photographs the genitalia of 100 women and then talks to them about the images and how they feel about their bodies. It’s a great film – bold and political and warm – but firmly at the art-house end of the channel’s output. Everyone is delighted when it attracts an audience of more than 1 million.

Channel 4 promises more distinctive content for 2019

Ed Stafford will explore homelessness for Channel 4 (Credit: C4)

The new shows are part of a deliberate drive by the channel to offer distinctive content, in a bid to beat competition from streaming services and other broadcasters.

At the launch of the new slate, Ian Katz, the channel’s Director of Programming, said he wants to focus on “entertaining, mischievous and innovative shows about the big issues and arguments in Britain today.”

He added: “Many of the shows [launching in 2019] are not ones that the global digital giants, even as they plough billions into new content, would be remotely interested in making.”

What commissioners want

Michaela Coel in Black Earth Rising

Take three very different commissioners, all united by a common purpose: securing and showing content that satisfies their audiences. But achieving that simple aim is rarely straightforward in an increasingly complex media environment.

First things first. Picking up from Tony Hall’s impassioned plea that policy makers act to protect the BBC, session chair Kirsty Wark asked Georgia Brown and Zai Bennett – from Amazon Studios and Sky, respectively – whether public service broadcasting was still necessary in these content­rich times.

Benedict Cumberbatch drama amidst new Channel 4 commissions

Channel 4, Ofcom, Four

The announcement comes amid a slew of new commissions and announcements from the broadcaster, as Chief Executive Alex Mahon and Director of Programming Ian Katz, addressed Channel 4 staff about the future of the channel.

Katz revealed a five-point plan which, he believes, will secure the broadcaster against threats posed by competitors, and will ensure that Channel 4 retains its crown as the youngest-skewing public service channel in the world.

Among those aims was a renewed focus on comedy for the channel and its on-demand platform All4.

What makes a good political interview?

Getting information out of politicians on TV is proving difficult this election. Day after day of interviews on a range of programmes are testing parliamentary hopefuls on every policy they have, and straight answers are rare. 

Television becomes the perfect climate for politicians to avoid tough questioning and instead get their planned party message across. 

Tony Hall: On a Rescue Mission

Tony Hall

For an insight into the day job of the BBC Director-General two years into his role, I pop into Tony Hall's plate-glass eyrie at New Broadcasting House. I arrive in the aftermath of one of the regular encyclicals that DGs dispense.

He's sung the praises of the BBC's place in a "thriving, free and competitive market", an alternative to what a colleague terms the "Joni Mitchell" school of heartstring-tugging about the Beeb's innate brilliance.

Behind the Scenes: Newsnight

As an educational charity, part of the RTS focus is on providing information for young entrants into the television and media industry. RTS Behind the Scenes is our newest series exploring the production process of some of Britain’s most popular programmes. From current affairs to comedy, panel shows and soaps, this series will offer a rare glimpse backstage of each production, highlighting all the different roles and giving a sense of what they entail.