Television Magazine

Normal People: A lockdown sensation

A year ago, Normal People became the huge TV hit of the first lockdown, changing the lives of its young stars, Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal, overnight.

The adaptation of Sally Rooney’s novel was the BBC’s most-streamed series of last year, clocking up almost 63 million views on iPlayer in the eight months following its April launch.

A revolution for UK production

Like football scouts spotting a magical left foot, the deep-pocketed US streaming platforms have made no bones about scooping up the best of British on-screen talent. Charlie Brooker has signed to Netflix, Phoebe Waller-Bridge is in bed with Amazon Prime, and relative latecomer Apple TV+ is able to boast the likes of Ewan McGregor and David Attenborough on its books.

Our Friend in the West: Laura Aviles

Laura Aviles

As Bristol City Council’s new senior film manager, I have finally reached a position where I can support and promote my two main passions – Bristol and filming in the West Country. 

My role is to oversee the work of the Bottle Yard Studios and Bristol Film Office, and make sure that Bristol can build on its past successes and deliver a single, complete and consis­tent offer encompassing studio and location filming. And, despite the pandemic, there has never been a better time. 

Vice Studios: At the cutting edge

As she confessed, she is an “unashamed TV addict – I loved it, and I still love it”. As the London-based President of Vice Studios, the international TV and feature-film production arm of Vice Media Group, she commissions content for Vice’s worldwide outlets and for third parties, such as Netflix, Disney and Amazon, and oversees sales from a catalogue comprising 900 hours of shows.

Ward detailed her career to the RTS at an event chaired by Manori Ravind- ran, international editor of Variety.

Arrested Development: Channel 4's new waster comedy Frank of Ireland

Frank of Ireland (credit: Channel 4/Amazon Prime)

From Father Ted to Derry Girls, Channel 4’s reputation for Irish comedy is second to none. Now comes Frank of Ireland, a new, six-part series made by Sharon Horgan’s production company, Merman, producer of BBC Two’s Motherland. The show stars Brian Gleeson, who plays the eponymous Frank, and his brother Domhnall. The Gleeson family are, of course, Irish acting royalty.

Sky's Intergalactic: Sci-fi but not as we know it

Sharon Duncan-Brewster (right) in Intergalactic (Credit: Sky)

Going boldly where no woman has gone before, Sky’s new drama Intergalactic follows the exploits of a group of female prisoners who commandeer their penal transport to escape to the free world of Arcadia. 

But their journey is made trickier as one of the convicts is Ash Harper (played by Savannah Steyn), the daughter of a high-ranking member of the Commonworld’s establishment. With Ash imprisoned for a crime she didn’t commit, her own quest is the search for the truth. Imagine Orange Is the New Black, but set in space. 

How Monkey Kingdom changed the game for entertainment genres

Over the past couple of decades, production company Monkey has made some of TV’s most innovative entertainment shows. Love or loathe it, no one can doubt the pioneering success of, say, Made in Chelsea. It’s a show that, along with Lime Pictures’ The Only Way Is Essex, rewrote the script for reality television.