Veteran arts programme The South Bank Show has celebrated the best of TV drama from its earliest days. In the very first series it aired a film on Dennis Potter. Since then, Andrew Davies, Paul Abbott, Jimmy McGovern and Sally Wainwright have all featured.
Deborah Turness greets me in the top-floor café of NBCUniversal’s UK HQ, which looks out over London’s rooftops. This is appropriate as NBC News took a 25% stake in Euronews in February in order to “change the landscape of international news”, as Turness’s boss, Andrew Lack, put it.
He said that, for years, NBC News had “wanted to establish a global reach”, and Turness was moving from being President of NBC News to do just that – to become the first President of NBC News International and oversee content for the new Euronews NBC.
The project puts the broadcaster live at 250 declarations across the country, from Witney to the Western Isles, and from Hastings to Hartlepool.
Sky 250 builds on Sky’s world record-breaking coverage of the 2015 election, which put them at 150 declarations. That project took over a year to organise, this time they had just seven weeks to do it all again – but bigger.
Overseeing the organisation of the Sky 250 project is Valerie Hamill, who has been tasked with recruiting over 300 personnel, organising the tech and liaising with 150 count locations.
“I remember on the day of the [Trump] election thinking there is not a news organisation, or periodical that won’t be covering this on the front page.”
The RTS Network Presenter of the Year nominee has spent the year hot-footing it across America in pursuit of the new president.
“I didn’t call it for Trump,” she confesses. “I started in Texas following Ted Cruz. I went down to Florida, I followed Marco Rubio. I knew each of the candidates before we got to Trump.”
That was fewer than five months after her show, BBC Two’s Victoria Derbyshire first took to the air.
Throughout her illness Derbyshire made the decision to document her treatment on camera. “I didn’t know what chemo[therapy] was. I didn’t know what radiotherapy was. I didn’t know what a mastectomy was. It seemed like a good opportunity to document it in a sensible, moderate way.”
The response has been exceptional. “Thousands of people got in touch to tell me that it affected them in really good ways. They said it gave them courage.”
The series is back with Matt le Blanc, Rory Reid and Chris Harris forming the main line up.
Sabine Schmitz and Eddie Jordan also make a return in the series in supporting roles, Rory Reid revealed in an exclusive interview with the RTS.
The new series, he says, is “going back to what Top Gear was very well known for – wacky ideas, big ambitious projects, things that are scary to look at and dangerous to take part in.”