TV diary

Brian Woods' TV diary

Lockdown begins five weeks early for me. Not due to Covid-19 but because, on 18 February, I become a dad. Welcome, Roscoe. I plan to avoid looking at email for the first month.

Three weeks later, on 11 March, I give in. Louisa Compton, editor of Channel 4’s Dispatches, wants quick ideas on coronavirus. I send her a barmy notion about shooting a film in one day, editing it in a week, and broadcasting seven days after filming.

Dan Sefton's TV diary

Saturday morning, 7:00am. Heading into the weekend shift on my motorbike. A small bonus of returning to the NHS is having permission to ride to and from work.

I scoot past a small herd of red deer grazing by the side of the road, tempted down from the hill by the empty roads and the promise of sweet verge grass. An almost perfect post-apocalyptic visual.

As a rural motorcyclist, I fear deer more than anything else, convinced my ultimate fate is to be speared by a stray antler as I whizz around a blind corner at full lean. Thinking of the NHS, I slow down a bit.

John Ryley’s TV Diary

Preparations to celebrate the life of Harriet, my wife, at a memorial service in West Oxfordshire dominated the first half of March. Peritoneum cancer. Aged 58, Harriet died at Christmas.

Honest eulogies, festoons of flowers, elaborate afternoon tea, and the wonderful choir from St Bride’s, the journalists’ church, were all sharply halted with only five days to go when the chief scientific advisor, Sir Patrick Vallance, made clear that all gatherings, “big or small”, should not go ahead.

Our friend in Scotland: Steven Ladurantaye

A mid-March morning. Outside the boardroom window there’s rain and a howling wind. Lights flicker briefly as the meeting of STV News managers gets started. We’re not socially distanced – not yet.

News of the coronavirus has been rising in everyone’s consciousness, even though the outbreak still seems far away. The situation is serious in Italy, and the news from Spain is also grim. Scots consider unrestricted access to Spanish islands their vacation birthright. Things are closing in.

Liz Reynolds’ TV Diary

RTS Cambridge Convention 2019 (Credit: RTS/Richard Kendal)

It’s September. That means back to school. And not just for the kids.

With Edinburgh hangovers barely forgotten, and TV execs and politicians still reeling from Dorothy Byrne’s outlandishly honest Mac­Taggart Lecture, conference season gets into full swing.

Not in Bournemouth but in Cambridge, courtesy of ITV, for the RTS biennial convention. There’s no prorogation for us.

Neil Thompson’s TV diary

The Good Morning Britain team taking a group selfie (Credit: ITV)

OK, in the spirit of apologetic full disclosure, this ain’t a normal week for me. It’s August. Piers and Susanna are off (deservedly – thought I’d better slip that in) on their French car factory-style summer sojourn. I’m also sneaking in a bit of R&R and extra-curricular that the normal 100-hour week doesn’t allow.

At Latitude, the hybrid Glasto crossed with church fête Suffolk festival, where, among the middle aged of the mojito-fuelled mosh pit, I bump (literally) into my ex-ITV boss Peter Fincham for our annual blokey embrace.

Lydia Noakes’s TV Diary

Lydia Noakes (Credit: Paul Hampartsoumian)

My week starts the way it has done most Mondays for the past three years – sitting in a university library. There’s one big difference. At this time of year, there is a veil of calm. The underlying current of stress has dissipated. It’s a big change from the tensions of exam season a month ago.

Chairs stand unoccupied and academic books are tossed aside. I am finally on my last chapter. This one is entitled “The real world of television”.

Graeme Thompson's TV diary

Jon Snow (Kit Harington) & Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) (Credit: Sky/HBO)

To Belfast for the weekend, staying at a Titanic-themed hotel next door to the studios where HBO films Game of Thrones. The charred battlements visible above the lot are a clue to how the final episodes play out.

Over eight seasons, Game of Thrones has spent more than €320m in Northern Ireland. In addition to the Titanic Studios, there’s another studio in Belfast Harbour filming a Superman spin-off.

Gary Gibbon’s TV Diary

Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament

Parliament is “a sick house” right now. That’s not a comment on the politics of the place but a diagnosis by Philippa Whitford MP, the Commons’ most senior medical figure. The SNP politician has a long career as a cancer surgeon behind her, and MPs aware of her medical background have been bending her ear to tell her of their anxiety issues.

Whitford says sleepless nights and persistent stress are rampant and she’s had MPs telling her of their inability to process information as a result.