Media Broth: TV festival fare

AND so the caravan has departed, back to London, after its sojourn in Scotland.

The Edinburgh International Television Festival is, though, not always a caravan of love. Sometimes, it can get a bit tetchy.

Or, as the comedian, John Bishop, inferred – as he compered the festival’s awards, including for Channel of the Year – it needed to show a bit more enthusiasm, to its prize-winners. Like as if you were at the Photocopier Sales Person of the Year Awards…

To the unseasoned observer, at least, proceedings certainly took a rather sarcastic twist or two when the chief executive of Channel 4 was interrogated on his keynote speech from the day before.

Perhaps David Abraham – who, on Thursday evening, had delivered the festival’s prestigious MacTaggart Lecture – is best buddies with media pundit, Steve Hewlett.

But it certainly didn’t always look that way as the pair traded several thinly-disguised barbs, during the traditional post-MacTaggart chat on Friday.

“Will Steve Hewlett recognise progress?”, asked Abraham, at one point. And the fun and games continued when Hewlett suggested that Abraham’s observation that he’d never work for the BBC might have something to do with having to face a drop in salary.

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AND according to The Guardian’s Media Monkey – here – “rigorous questioning of BBC1 controller, Charlotte Moore” by Channel 4’s Krishnan Guru-Murthy resulted in at least a couple of senior execs jumping to her defence.

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IT was an impressive turn-out for the session, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the TV and football institution that is Match of the Day. Occasional presenter, Gaby Logan, asked the questions of main presenter, Gary Lineker (apparently the longest-serving MoTD host), pundit, Robbie Savage, and match commentator, Guy Mowbray.

And the audience was impressive too, both in its size and in its enthusiasm to ask questions, most prefaced with a declaration of one’s football allegiance.

And, as it happened, the final question fell to Alan Clements, director of content at STV, who broke with convention by not mentioning any affinity to a single club.

“A fully paid-up member of the Tartan Army,” he announced, perhaps playing a canny political game.

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AN admission from Bryan Elsley, to illustrate the point that some drama productions might do more to involve their writers.

The Scot – arguably best known for the co-creation of E4 teen drama, Skins – remarked that he’d been a professional writer for ten years before realising that ‘Foley’ wasn’t a person.

NB Says Wikipedia (here): “Foley is the reproduction of everyday sound effects that are added to film, video, and other media in post-production to enhance audio quality.”

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GOOD on you, Liz Warner, CEO of Betty TV production company. Commenting on a survey of TV freelancers, commissioning editors and indies, she admitted that she had complained relatively recently about what she considered to be rudeness by a BBC commissioning editor, who arrived 45 minutes to a meeting and seemed more concerned about when lunch was.

No names, no pack drill. But she also admitted, she would have been more afraid to have done it ten years ago, when the company was less sure where the next commission might come from.

She was speaking at a session titled, How to be a better indie, whose chair – Conor Dignam – commended the audience that they were already part there to becoming a better indie, by simply making the 9am start after what was probably a heavy night the evening before.

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IN July, Scots comedian, Frankie Boyle, told his 1.6 million-plus followers on twitter that appearing at the Edinburgh TV Festival would amount to a ‘suicide vest’.

And, of course, he was extraordinarily forthright about the likes of Channel 4, the BBC, Jeremy Clarkson and Scots independence (he’s voting Yes in the upcoming referendum, but thinks the majority vote will be No. And he believes there’s a “huge level” of media bias against Yes).

But in a remarkably thoughtful and quietly-spoken way. And it was not only him; his interviewer, Richard Osman, put on a masterclass of leaving no awkward question unturned while remaining unfailingly polite.

Asked if he has scared off commissioning editors, Boyle replies: “I think they’re generally scared of content,” later describing the TV schedule as the “entertainment programme on a f*****g cruise ship”.

Read more, here (in the Sunday Herald) and here  (Scotland on Sunday). Plus here, here and here.

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OF course, discussion about Scots independence at the TV festival? Well, not a lot…

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THERE was, at one session, a good-humoured exchange between panellist, Westminster minister, Ed Vaizey (culture, communications and creative industries) and audience member, John McVay (chief executive of producers’ representative body, PACT).

And it concluded with McVay suggesting that he might have gone to a slightly different type of school to the minister…

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SHARP chairing by Andrew Collins, at a session examining the programme style of ‘Dynamo: Mission Impossible’, with tricks being performed to the delegates by the magician, Dynamo, himself.

One clip on the big screen showed Dynamo suddenly disappearing, while walking along the aisle of a record store.

Quick as a flash, Collins quipped how amazing a trick it was… finding a record store.

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ANYTHING tickling your tastebuds? Feel free to email, in the strictest confidence, here.