When, 20 years ago, John McVay became CEO of the producers’ lobby group Pact, his first outing to the world of London TV types did not go according to plan. Flying down from his native Edinburgh and travelling to Soho via the Heathrow Express, the train caught fire and he was stuck on the line outside Paddington for two hours. By the time he arrived at the farewell party for his predecessor, he was conspicuously sober while his new colleagues were too merry to give him their proper attention.
Getting clarity on what Brexit will mean for the UK audio-visual (AV) sector is, at this stage, a near impossibility. What is clear is that the past three years of Brexit politicking have been accompanied by a huge amount of contingency planning for a no-deal Brexit.
Add to that the continued strength of TV and film production in the UK, thanks largely to a skilled talent pool, UK tax breaks and significant investment from the likes of Disney, Netflix and Sky, and the consensus is that the sector is well placed to withstand any fallout from Britain leaving the EU.
The new fellows represented a broad range of television industry talent.
Included were two of the most influential women in British TV – writer Kay Mellor, best known for Band of Gold and In the Club, and the BBC’s Director of Content, Charlotte Moore.
Also receiving a fellowship was one of the doyens of natural history film making, Alastair Fothergill,
His credits include Sir David Attenborough’s The Trials of Life and Life In The Freezer.
Another new fellow was the much-feted independent producer Stephen Lambert.
Lord Mandelson, a self-confessed “heartbroken European”, set the tone of this debate. Unpicking 40 years of EU membership was complicated, to say the least. He declared: “Brexit is the most complex policy exercise mounted in peace time. Transitioning Britain out of its current merger with 27 other economies is a massive task and it is going to take many years.”
The advice of the former Labour cabinet minister and European commissioner boiled down to this: “What you as an industry must first do is take a view on what outcome best serves your needs”.
The European Commission is determined to tear down regulatory walls and move from 28 national markets to a Digital Single Market. TV’s independent sector harbours strong doubts, especially if geo-blocking, which prevents content crossing borders, is outlawed.
The preliminary programme for this year's RTS Cambridge Convention has been announced.
The convention, held on a biennial basis, brings together leading figures from the television and its related industry.
This year's event looks forward to television in 2020, focusing on the challenge for content, creativity and business models.
The programme features sessions covering foreign ownership of UK production, the rise of the smart phone in television viewing, and the influence of talent in programme-making.
Ross Biggam, Director General of the Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT), believes you need a degree in Kremlinology to work out exactly what the European Commission is trying to do with its plans for a Digital Single Market (DSM).
The Commission has faced concerted opposition from the film and television industries – not least the ACT, which represents the interests of commercial broadcasters in 37 countries – over what are seen as attempts to end, or erode, geo-blocking of content across the EU.
With Team 56 – as SNP MPs call themselves – forming the third-largest party in Parliament, the impact on broadcasting in the UK is likely to be profound. And the effects are certain to spread beyond the BBC Charter debate.
The economist Jeremy Peat, a former BBC Scotland Governor and Trustee, observes that the general election outcome "represents a massive vote for change," requiring "not sticking plaster, but fundamental change." He adds: "We are miles away from a stable equilibrium."
The Creative Diversity Network (CDN) and Creative Skillset have called for the TV industry to improve the representation of disabled people in television.
According to Creative Skillset's workforce survey, released in May, the proportion of disabled people in television is still much lower than in the economy as a whole and has not improved for 10 years.
Just 5% of those who work in TV consider themselves to be disabled, compared with 11% of the wider working population.