ITV hope to win back a reputation for brave and exciting drama with a new show called ‘The Time of Your Life’. ITV Head of Drama, Nick Elliot, told the Edinburgh International Festival that the broadcaster had fallen “about 18 months behind the BBC” in the quality of its programmes.
He said the new show, believed to be scheduled for weekend-night viewing, would be a “Tranter-style” production, referring to Jane Tranter, controller of Drama Commissioning at the BBC – who is behind the critically-acclaimed and popular Spooks and Doctor Who.
Elliot also hopes a new commission, Primeval, originally developed by the BBC, will win the kind of audiences currently entranced by the time-travelling Doctor.
Elliot would not be drawn further on ‘The Time of Your Life’ and declined to answer questions about the programme. An ITV spin doctor in the audience indicated he should not have mentioned the commission.
Earlier, he accused the BBC of being unambitious, citing New Street Law as an example
of a predictable, old-fashioned show. He did, though, admit that ITV hadn’t had a
“perfect show” since Cold Feet.
Tranter and Elliot were interviewing each other about the state of TV drama. They agreed the main problem was to attract and retain the 16-to-34 year-old audience. Both denied personality faults; Elliot, that he was an old boor, and Tranter, that she was a control freak, adding that she didn’t block people she disliked. “There is no blacklist, honestly no blacklist that I can think of,” she said.