Media Broth: At your service

THE BBC’s director-general may have been delayed for his own session at the Edinburgh International Television Festival (on between Thursday and Saturday), but it was worth the wait, including for his description of Scots broadcaster, James Naughtie, who is to join the BBC Radio Scotland morning news programme, Good Morning Scotland, to help cover the run-up to next year’s referendum on Scottish independence.

Not Naughtie any more but ‘Mr Referendum’, as described by Hall.

* * *

AH, the Edinburgh International TV Festival. A veritable galaxy of big-hitters, well-kent faces and candid, often inspiring, occasionally funny, interviews and presentations. The place to be and to be seen. Comprising also of a more secretive, wholly expected underbelly of private meetings and dinners to which only the favoured few are invited. Which, according to a straw poll conducted in the press centre, did not include any Scots hacks.


* * *

WORST joke among the Scots corps gathered in the festival press office? The Daily Record’s Beverley Lyons: “Ice cream. Get it, while it’s…er, cold.”

* * *

ROB McDougall is an award-winning, Scots photographer and has been the festival’s official photographer for several years.

He’s liked by everyone but one suspects the ‘jury will be out’ on his big beard.

If he chooses to keep it, it’ll be down to his chest when he is at next year’s festival.

Or on tour with Mumford and Sons.

* * *

SOMETIMES, all a hard-working TV exec wants is to let their hair down in Edinburgh. In the case of Channel 5 controller, Ben Frow, this resulted in a rather candid Q&A.

A packed auditorium listened in stunned silence as Five’s ‘new broom’ declared that the days of “sleazy, low-rent, grubby stuff” were over. But viewers, fear not. Frow quickly added that he was “going big on shoplifting” this year.

Other Autumn delights in Five’s schedule include: On Benefits and Proud and Celebrity Super Spa with ex-Coronation Street actress, Helen Flanagan.

And one final gem from the Channel 5 boss. Turns out even he doesn’t know who half the people are on Celebrity Big Brother.

You’re not alone, Ben.

* * *

ONE of the more illuminating sessions at the festival involved ex PM, Gordon Brown’s former spin doctor.

Damian McBride has just finished writing his memoirs and Power Trip: A Decade of Policy, Plots and Spin looks set to be the must-read political book of the year. There were a few tantalising glimpses of life with Gordon, including that head-in-the-hands moment when Brown said some rather unflattering things about a certain Mrs Gillian Duffy.

McBride, who was gone by then, described it as “a fair cop”.

Read all about it.

* * *

AGENT to the stars, Jonathan Shalit, popped up at several events, including one called Media Crisis Live.

It could have been a masterclass in how to avoid a full-blown media scandal, but due to some less-than cutting-edge technology it didn’t quite turn out like that.

Still, Shalit took the opportunity to talk about the real-life scandal which engulfed one of his clients earlier this year, former X Factor judge, Tulisa Contostavlos. The singer was apparently put on suicide watch by Shalit, after being caught in a newspaper sting.

* * *

THE Channel of the Year Awards, brilliantly hosted by comedian Dara O Briain, saw ITV scoop the top prize. But controller, Peter Fincham, was so overcome he managed to walk off without the trophy. Applause still ringing, he sprinted back on stage to grab the gong with ninja-like agility.

Well done, Peter.

* * *

FINALLY, and away from the festival, well done to Real Radio presenter and Sunday Mail columnist, Cat Harvey.

We hear she and River city actor, James McAnerney, stepped in to the breach, to perform the official opening of an art exhibition in West Dunbartonshire, to raise cash for the charity, Mary’s Meals.

Says columnist, Bill Heaney, from the exhibition, when actor, Chris Reilly, was suddenly called away to report for the filming of Allies, a new movie about the Second World War, Cat and James responded to the short-notice call to ‘do the honours’.

* * *

ANYTHING tickling your tastebuds? Do share, in the strictest confidence, here.