RTS events

TV executives discuss how to produce television in a socially distanced environment

“The biggest issue when we started gearing up to re-start production about six weeks ago was fear,” said John Whiston, who as ITV’s managing director of continuing drama is responsible for running flagship soaps Coronation Street and Emmerdale.

He said that production staff and talent needed reassuring after being isolated at home watching news coverage of the pandemic every night for weeks. 

Fran Unsworth discusses the BBC's impartiality during the current climate

Another week, another huge challenge for BBC News, as it strives to navigate a path between its commitment to impartiality, the clear moral cause behind the movement, and covering the protests in all their complexity.

"Our reporting of the protests at the weekend made it quite clear that the day in London ended in some violence. What weight do you give that? It’s down to editorial judgement on the day," explained Fran Unsworth, in conversation with Stewart Purvis for the RTS.

Kirstie Allsopp and Nick Knowles discuss how lockdown is changing the face of property shows

An RTS panel predicted that in future audiences were likely to see more property programmes encouraging homeowners to improve their existing homes than series that help people to move home.

“Perhaps it’s less about how to make money from your property than actually to find a home you want to live in for in the long term,” said Kitty Walshe, co-managing director of Remarkable, the production company responsible for such shows as Your Home Made Perfect, The House that £100k Built and Restoration Home.

Behind the scenes with the RTS Bursary scheme

Bursary alumni Suzanne Pearson and Florence Watson – part of the inaugural 2014 cohort of the scheme, who both graduated in 2017 – offered tips on how to get a foot in the door of the industry at the end of May. From producing soap script bibles to advice on maintaining a work-life-balance on 18-hour shooting days, they left no stone unturned. 

Experts explore the TV industry's winners and losers during the health emergency

Sixty eight per cent of those who voted predicted that the streaming giant would continue to gain from the crisis. 

Conversely, Channel 4 risked being the biggest loser.

However, there was a consensus that all UK broadcasters would survive the pandemic and that independent producers were most vulnerable as the economic downturn accelerates.

Quiz show legends discuss the popularity of hard questions

Jo Street, Judith Keppel, Boyd Hilton, Anne Robinson and James Fox (Credit: Paul Hampartsoumian)

She was speaking at an RTS early-evening event in early December that celebrated the enduring appeal of quiz shows.

The audience were treated to a clip of Keppel’s triumph – one of British TV’s most iconic moments. Despite appearing calm and clear-headed as she pondered the jackpot question –Which king was married to Eleanor of Aquitaine?* – Keppel admitted: “I was like a duck – I was paddling madly underneath.

“I wasn’t calm at all. I thought my heartbeat was so loud that the mics would pick it up.”

Jeff Pope reflects on his TV career in screenwriting

Martin Freeman in A Confession (Credit: ITV)

You could be forgiven for thinking that Jeff Pope was obsessed by the macabre. Why else would he be drawn to such odious topics as the Moors murders, serial killer Fred West or Britain’s last hangman, Albert Pierrepoint?

He puts it like this: “If drama is about conflict, which it is, you’re looking for the extremes of conflict. Those areas are love, fate and, I would argue, crime.

“I am not a depressive person or ghoulish but it’s the old journalist in me: there’s a good story in it.”