In early February, RTS Yorkshire leading lights Jo Haddock, Lisa Holdsworth and Fiona Thompson took part in Leeds University’s “Media futures” lecture series. In a lively session, they answered that perennial question, “How did you get into TV?” All three women had very different answers.
That was the conclusion of an engaging RTS debate, Is Older the New Younger?, which heard from an all-female panel chaired by Channel 4 News’s Social Affairs Editor, Jackie Long.
Screenwriter Key Mellor said that with people like Charlotte Moore at the BBC (director of content) and Polly Hill at ITV (head of drama) occupying powerful jobs TV was less dominated by men that it once was.
Phyllis Logan (Downton Abbey), Miranda Richardson (Mapp & Lucia) and Zoë Wanamaker (Mr Selfridge, My Family) will star as childhood friends Linda, Sue and Gail who find themselves thrown back into each others lives after the sudden death of Linda's husband Micky.
Phyllis Logan, who plays Linda, said of the new role, "I’m thrilled to be part of Girlfriends, written by the wonderful Kay Mellor and to be working not only with her but the stellar cast that has been assembled.
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.
In a smooth transition, the personable Polly Hill has become the BBC’s new Controller of Drama Commissioning. She takes over without so much as dropping a script from LA-bound Ben Stephenson.
Her new job is one of the most coveted and powerful positions in UK television. Hill is responsible for the wide range of drama across BBC One and BBC Two, an estimated budget of £200m annually, spiced with the challenge of devising a new online policy, principally for BBC Three. She also has oversight of EastEnders, Casualty and Holby City.