Tony Garnett, now 80 and still a republican socialist, arrived with a bang as a standout producer of television and film drama in the 1960s. He made his mark with powerful, campaigning programmes such as The Wednesday Play’s Up the Junction and Cathy Come Home, which exposed the horrors of backstreet abortions and family homelessness.
Jed Mercurio doesn't make it easy for himself. His current show, Sky 1's Critical, is a 13-part drama set in a state-of-the-art trauma centre. Every week, it focuses on a different and gruesome medical emergency while also telling the intertwined personal stories of its large cast. Oh, and it's told in real time, too.
"I always think that everything is achievable," he says, when I ask if he deliberately set the challenge of making this series as hard as possible for himself.
Michael Jackson's stellar career encapsulates much of the creative history of TV during the past 30 years. He was an innovative independent producer back in the 1980s, reinvented BBC Two in the 1990s, and went on to run Channel 4. There, he launched Queer as Folk, Ali G and Big Brother, before crossing the Atlantic to work for the legendary mogul Barry Diller.
Today, still based in New York, his career has swung full circle. Jackson is once again working as a producer.