Television Magazine

The mission behind the makers of RuPaul's Drag Race UK

Television glitter should lift many spirits brought low by this year’s Christ­mas comedown as RuPaul’s Drag Race UK returns for a second series in January. Good news for fans of the raucous and rude BBC Three show – and for the people that make it.

Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey met at NYU film school in the mid-1980s, performed as a gloriously camp electro-pop duo, The Fabulous Pop Tarts, and went on to found World of Wonder Productions in 1991.

RTS Digital Convention: Start with the story

"This is my perfect job.” During more than 40 years in television, Gary Davey has worked across the board – from taking charge of all content and creative services at Sky Germany, to being the CEO of Hong Kong-based Star TV.

But it is only now, as CEO of Sky Studios, that he feels like he is in his dream role: as “the gamekeeper turned poacher – having been a broadcaster all my life and now being a supplier”.

'Out with the old thinking’: How PSBs are responding to the streamers success

Queer Eye, which ITV produces for Netflix (credit: Netflix)

At first glance, the outlook looks less than sunny for traditional broadcasters faced with competition from Netflix and the other streamers. Dig a little deeper and the situation looks a lot more nuanced.  

That was the main takeaway from the second of two Steve Hewlett Scholarship debates, “British broadcasting in crisis?”, organised jointly by the RTS and Media Society.  

In defence of PSB truth and impartiality

Royal Wedding (credit: BBC)

On the eve of the publication of Ofcom’s much-­anticipated review of public service broadcasting (PSB), big names from the BBC and Channel 4, past and present, discussed whether British broadcasting was in crisis. 

Ofcom warned that PSB is unlikely to survive in the online world without an overhaul of broadcasting regulation. It said that the public service broadcas­ters – the BBC, ITV, STV, Channel 4, S4C and Channel 5 – could also fulfil their obligations online, and that the public service remit could be extended to the big streamers. 

Can TV save the planet? asks RTS Futures panel

Television soap operas have an important role to play in communicating environmental messages. That was one of the conclusions of an RTS Futures session, “Can TV save the planet?”, which discussed how it is not only the likes of David Attenborough and Chris Packham who can alert audiences to the impact of climate change and other environmental challenges.

RTS Digital Convention: Culture shock

Cécile Frot-Coutaz, head of YouTube, EMEA, has urged broadcasters to form more partnerships with the Google-­owned platform, which this summer was revealed to be the third most-watched video service in the UK after the BBC and ITV.

Speaking at the RTS Digital Convention, the former Fremantle CEO emphasised that her company had plenty of evidence to show that legacy platforms seeking young audiences would be smart to cement their ties with the video-sharing platform.

Government review of public service broadcasting begins

Google the words “public service broadcasting” and you’ll see that the first few links relate to a well-known band that has played at Glastonbury, the Royal Albert Hall and Brixton. Its first album was called Inform – Educate – Entertain. 

Only after that will you find links to Ofcom’s page on public service broadcasting and the Government’s new Public Service Broadcasting Advisory Panel. 

Comfort Classic: The Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show

Credit: BBC

In those far-off days, when colour TV was still something of a novelty and viewers were restricted to a trio of TV channels, the two funniest people on the box were, without question, Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise. 

Not for nothing was Morecambe voted the funniest person of the 20th century, ahead of such other greats as Tommy Cooper and John Cleese, in an internet poll taken in 1999. 

Discovery+: The non-fiction Netflix?

Victory is not always achieved by the first out of the blocks or the fastest car into the opening corner. Sometimes, steadiness of purpose and coming from behind is more effective. That sums up the strategy that Discovery has adopted in the uber-competitive streaming wars.

Having watched Netflix, Amazon Prime and, more recently, Disney+ and others enter the global streaming market, Discovery+ will launch its own service in the US only in January. Some observers have argued that it might be too little, too late.