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Wednesday, 8 October 2014

BBC and ITN take the lead with new diversity schemes | Lisa Campbell

The issue of diversity continues to make the headlines. Not only did the festival welcome Keli Lee back from ABC to discuss her Diverse Talent Showcase (read part 2) but news emerged this week that both the BBC and ITN are launching new diversity schemes. Meanwhile the European Diversity Awards has crowned the BBC Academy’s Expert Women team Diversity Team of the Year.

Talk of a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) leadership and commissioning scheme has been rumbling on within the confines of the CDN (Creative Diversity Network) for some time with hopes that the major broadcasters would all sign-up. For now, however, only the BBC has committed to the idea and this week it welcomed applications from internal and external candidates.

The Senior Leadership Development Programme will offer six individuals the chance to work alongside DG Tony Hall and his executive team for 12 months.

Successful applicants to the scheme, organised in association with The Clore Leadership Programme, will start working at the BBC in the New Year.

Separately, the Assistant Commissioner Development Programme aims to find six “commissioners of the future” who will gain experience across entertainment, comedy, factual, daytime, children’s programming, as well as across BBC2 and BBC4.

BBC1 controller Charlotte Moore, who appeared on the TV Festival’s diversity panel, said: “It’s crucial for the BBC and other broadcasters to broaden the range of voices and backgrounds at commissioning level.”

The BBC has made a welcome first move, recognising that more diversity behind the camera will have a positive impact on the range of ideas, content and talent on-screen.

More welcome news, this time from ITN, which announced a new internship scheme targeting eight candidates from socially- and ethnically-diverse backgrounds for an 18-month placement.
The ITN Academy Digital Media Apprenticeship targets non-graduates to help them “learn through experience, with ongoing guidance and support, in a passionate, hard-working, team environment,” according to ITN chief executive John Hardie. “This is also our chance to perhaps find the next rising stars of ITN.”

And talking of rising stars, the BBC Academy’s Expert Women team has been instrumental in identifying and training a host of new female contributors, particularly across news and factual. Its efforts resulted in an award for Diversity Team of the Year at last week’s European Diversity Awards.

The lack of female voices on-air and on-screen was highlighted by Broadcast magazine in 2012, working with City University to monitor output. At the time, we heard the same complaint from broadcasters that we now hear about diverse talent, “we want more diverse voices, but we don’t know where to find them’.

The BBC Academy’s Donna Taberer and her team decided to do something about  that, launching a pilot scheme in January 2013 to uncover and train up females with specialist knowledge, whether engineers or crime epxerts. It was so successful, it led to further funding from the then acting DG Tim Davie and the programme was launched nationwide.

To date, there have been 374 media appearances by 73 of the Expert Women, across BBC news bulletins, CNN, Channel 4 and other outlets.

'Our winner tonight has made diversity and inclusion one of the strategic priorities of their company, and has enabled the company to have a diverse and inclusive culture,' said the judges.

'They have placed diversity as one of their long-term sustainability goals to attract, recruit and retain a highly talented, diverse and engaged workforce.'

Let’s hope these new schemes meet with similar success.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Best of the Fest | Lisa Campbell

I had the pleasurable experience of going behind-the-scenes of someone else’s festival this weekend, letting others run around like headless chickens while I sat back and enjoyed the show and the bacon butties.

Radio 2’s Hyde Park Festival was a lesson in perfect planning at every level. Festival-goers were armed with folding chairs, pac-a-macs and, at the top end of festival comfort, the Wicked Wedge (check it out). Meanwhile, the 1000-staff behind-the-scenes made sure that artists were happy (but not too happy, this is licence fee-payers money…), that stages were set and that Royal Park grass was left as nature intended. Individual speaker-systems were even in place to adjust sound levels should the wind direction change and residents complain. 

While we didn’t quite get down to that level of detail in Edinburgh, we did, just like Hyde Park, have a passionate team of people shedding blood, sweat and tears to make things happen, from the production director who clocked up 20 miles within the EICC on day 1 to the producer who stressed, railed and rallied to create a must-attend session, right down to the YouTube team who toasted 1250 pieces of bread for hungry/hungover delegates (see Festival in Numbers).

Making the most of that huge effort is one reason why we’re keen to keep sharing the Best of the Fest. One of the biggest ‘complaints’ is that there is too much to see, but you can catch-up at your leisure because 90% of our content is available on YouTube.

Listen to Frankie “Scotland’s Jesus” Boyle on media coverage of Scottish Independence - “the ‘No’ campaign will get torpedoed by media bias”-  and his views on what the fall-out will be, whatever the result; listen to BBC1 controller Charlotte Moore battle with Krishnan Guru-Murthy and former director general John Birt’s warnings onplans to re-shape the BBC; get up to speed on all the stats driving the diversity debate with our Minority Report VT and hear Steph Parker talking with trademark honesty on the idea for Gogglebox  -“on paper it’s shit”.

One of the most inspiring sessions was our 12-minute Ed TalksThose featured include:
Gurinder Chadha and Romesh Ranganathan’s witty sketch on racism and unconscious bias and Jon Snow on the changing dynamics of news provision brought about by social media.

Plus M&C Saatchi boss Camilla Harrison: “Difference is good. Generosity is powerful. If more people feel they own the idea it will help you win the war”;

Professor Vincent Walsh: “Creative people have the courage to be beautifully wrong. Creative people aren't the ones to get it right all the time”;

And Brand guru Steve Edge: “Dress for a party every day and the party will come to you;”


With advice like that at your finger tips, what are you waiting for? Click here to see more on our YouTube channel.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

From the RTS to Diversity, the Festival Lives On | Lisa Campbell

What impact does the Edinburgh TV Festival have? Well, there’s the immediate impact on both brain and body – cells are stimulated by day and addled by night and bodies become husks – but the damage is temporary. By contrast, Edinburgh’s impact on the industry is long-lasting.

The issues thrown up and thrashed out in sessions at Edinburgh continue to be debated well beyond August while MacTaggart lectures can set the agenda for weeks, months, even years to come.

This week’s RTS London conference is a case in point. Edinburgh was referred to repeatedly throughout, largely thanks to David Abraham re-opening discussions on the Terms of Trade, but points made about the lack of digital skills in TV made in the 2011 MacTaggart by Google’s Eric Schmidt were also discussed by two of the big beasts in broadcasting today, the BBC’s Tony Hall and Sky’s Jeremy Darroch.

The James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture:
David Abraham
Whether you agreed with him or not, Abraham’s MacTaggart succeeded in getting everyone talking – or in the case of Pact boss John McVay, shouting – and yesterday, Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said he would re-examine the Terms of Trade following Ofcom’s PSB review in the Summer, acknowledging the huge change wrought on the sector by greater consolidation.

And earlier this week, ITV CEO Adam Crozier echoed Abraham’s call for pay-TV channels to pay transmission fees for PSB content - something else Javid said would be subject to industry consultation ahead of possible de-regulation.

For broadcasters battling declining audience shares and advertiser revenues, it’s vital new income but Sky and even the likes of Liberty Global which has a 6% stake in ITV, are bound to battle hard.

While we’re happy to let debates like that rumble on, there are others in which the festival will play a more active role in keeping alive outside of Edinburgh – diversity being one example.

This year, we funded important new ‘Diversity Watch’ research from Lis Howell and her team at
Keli Lee at Minority Report: Is TV Racist?
City University for our ‘Is TV Racist?’ session. It showed broadcasters across the board under-performing when it comes to diversity on-screen and we’ll be repeating the survey to help assess the progress made.

However, each channel boss demonstrated a real appetite for rapid change on our panel - one reason why we’re kicking off our first event outside Edinburgh on 25th September, when Keli Lee, ABC’s Executive Vice President of Casting, will give selected guests a detailed run down of her diverse casting initiative following her appearance on the ‘Is TV Racist?’ panel.

Lee is an inspirational figure and this is an opportunity for those at the forefront of scripted content in the UK to hear more about the birth of the scheme 13 years ago – a scheme which discovers and develops the next generation of diverse talent and unique voices on and off screen from Lupita N’Yongo to Grey’s Jesse Williams.

Lee will also discuss the practicalities and challenges involved in running the talent showcase and the impact this world-renowned, pan-industry casting pool has had on ABC and other networks.

The key complaint around diversity as a topic is a valid one –‘all talk and no action’ -  which is why, straight after the Q&A, we’ll explore the viability of a UK talent showcase via a roundtable with heads of drama from broadcasters and indies, as well as writers, directors and casting directors. If they believe it has legs and pledge their support, Creative Skillset has promised to match-fund the initiative.

It’s an exciting opportunity and we look forward to helping play a role in bringing the industry together to discuss how we can help affect real and positive change.

So forget everything you were ever told about 'what happens in Edinburgh stays in Edinburgh' (ok, maybe not everything), the festival should live on.

For details about the diversity event on 25th September, please drop me an email to lisacampbell@geitf.co.uk.

Lisa Campbell | Festival Director

Watch the 2014 session videos on our YouTube channel.

Sarah Thornton: behind the scenes with the Controllers

Sarah Thornton,VP Production and Development, Factual Entertainment, Discovery Networks International, is a member of the 2014 Festival Advisory Committee and produced 4 of the 12 Meet the Controller sessions at GEITF. 

There is a saying that being a best man at a wedding is like being asked to sleep with the Queen Mother... it's an honour, but no one really wants to do it. Although I am a woman I have (once) had the dubious honour of being a "best man". And so it's with a very small amount of authority that I draw this unlikely comparison when it comes to describing the task of producing four hours of Controller Sessions at GEITF.

I started, like an anxious best man with a blank page, by contacting the controllers and their PR teams. With a diplomacy I had previously employed for approaching new family and friends, I politely requested intel and interesting tidbits from the inside... secretly yearning for some real gossip that would entertain the audience.

Meet the Controller: Ben Frow
It was during this early planning that it dawned on me paying delegates were going to be in Edinburgh for these sessions and so I had to make sure they made some actual sense. There was a delicate balance to be found in responding to - and hopefully making - industry chatter while ensuring we all got a proper insight into what the controllers would be commissioning this coming year.

And then it was late July - what had felt like an age of prep time all of a sudden seemed somewhat insubstantial. As the big day came closer I persisted with (many) knowingly annoying requests for funny photos, facts and stats, clips and stories... All in the name of crafting an hour that would be humorous without being bawdy, intelligent without being boring and insightful without being too contentious.

Meet the Controller: Adam MacDonald
The panel itself was then a lesson in not wanting to upset the in-laws whilst at the same time pleasing the crowd. And that's probably where the comparisons end. Because ultimately - thank god - it wasn't down to me. We were all in the very capable hands of the controllers themselves, our chairs and - this year - the audience thanks to the rather brilliant app.

I'd love to claim the credit for Ben Frow being riotously funny, Steve Regan announcing his plans to commission the "most offensive show ever" and Adam MacDonald showing a clip of Wild Things (if you didn't see it, you missed out). But in reality it was their hour and it was all down to them.

Meet the Controllers: Multichannel,
Steve Regan
I do hope that someone in the Sidlaw got something out of it and, as is the case at any good wedding, may have even struck up a promising friendship since. It is after all why we do it.

To all the controllers and their teams - Nat Geo, Comedy Central, MTV, A&E, Sky 1, Channel 5 and UKTV - and our chairs, Lauren Taylor and Charlene White, thank you for putting up with me and my teams' numerous requests and for cooperating so kindly in preparation for these sessions.

I wish I'd had the sessions' Executive Producer, Graham Stuart, and master of the control room, Nobby, by my side the day I was best man.
Meet the Controller: Emma Tennant
They are without doubt the two calmest men I've had the pleasure of sharing 4 sweaty hours with in a control room.


Oh, and since a rather hectic Friday meant I needed to be in two places at once on several occasions I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my colleague and co-producer, Mark Procter.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Game of Thrones at GEITF 2014 | Lisa Campbell

“Edinburgh is the TV industry’s Glastonbury” said one of last year’s delegates after a 3-day bonanza of
creative inspiration and all-night partying.

This year, I’d say we’ve gone one better. Instead of ageing rockers taking centre stage(although rumour has it No Expectations might treat delegates with a guest appearance…), we are set to take you behind-the-scenes of the hottest, most-talked-about TV property in decades. Battle of Blackwater drum roll please….yes, it’s this year’s Breaking Bad – Game of Thrones!

HBO programming chief Mike Lombardo will head a stellar panel, giving delegates a unique insight into this
epic production. We’re announcing some other great names who are involved in the series very soon, so watch this space!

Meanwhile, TV news is engaged in a battle of its own with online services such as VICE, Huff PoLive, Buzzfeed and NowThisNews threatening the cosy monopoly of the traditional players. Alongside an impressive line-up of news bosses from all the major channels, we’ll  hear from award-winning American journalist Tim Pool, head of live news at Vice, whose unique style of interactive broadcast journalism exists at the intersection of social and mainstream media. He’s a
Tim Pool, Vice
great speaker and this promises to be one not to miss.

Our Bafta Rocliffe panel – who will come together to judge the best new British comedy writing – is shaping up nicely. Joining BBC controller of UK comedy production Myfanwy Moore, we have the comedy maestro behind Modern Family – Amy Hartwick. We look forward to welcoming the ABC Studios senior vice president to the UK to share her expertise with our lucky competition winners.

This year, we’ll also be bringing you a series of ED Talks – each of our amazing speakers promise to bring you a unique perspective on harnessing creativity – in just 15 minutes – perfect bite-sized fodder for our Saturday line-up. Recognising that we can be guilty of navel-gazing in the TV industry, we’re showcasing speakers from other industries and professions who will encourage new ways of thinking.

Among the line-up we have neuroscientist Professor Vincent Walsh who will tell us why away days are a waste of time and why we all get our best ideas in the shower and Dr. Paul Dolan,  Professor of behavioural science, LSE, renowned expert on happiness, who has developed ways of measuring well-being. He’s the man responsible for writing the questions that are now being used in large surveys in the UK to monitor national happiness.

Just the tip of the iceberg in a programme with some 50-plus sessions - and much more to follow. Keep reading our newsletter and following us on Twitter for all the latest updates.

Early Bird tickets for GEITF 2014 are available until Monday 30 June. Book yours now to save £114 on the standard rate.



Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Diversity is the real One to Watch | Campbell Glennie

Last week, Tony Hall revealed his vision to address the woeful figures facing BAME representation both on and off screen. The BBC target for 2020 for off-screen talent is 15% (up from 8.3%). While the BBC’s unique position has meant that it has had no choice but to act, we also hope that this will lead to other broadcasters and indies thinking about what they can do over the coming year to effect real change too. Whether the BBC’s training and development approach will achieve the results that Lenny Henry feels can only be brought about by ring-fencing, time will tell. I’ll join Simone Pennant in “raising a cautionary glass of Cava” and hope that progress can be achieved swiftly without calling into question the massive contributions BAME creatives already make to the television industry.


It is both an insult and a missed opportunity when the television production process does not reflect its
audience. As part of our charitable remit, our schemes strive to represent all groups and we have traditionally had healthy BAME participation, above both the industry and national average. However, after the disappointing statistics on BAME representation in the industry revealed by Creative Skillset last year, we knew we could do more. We have further shifted our emphasis to go out and find more talent from underrepresented groups, regions and backgrounds, through new outreach partners, and more rigorous assessment. We feel this is even more important at the Ones to Watch level: the level where diversity starts to fall away from the industry’s composition. We are therefore delighted to report that The Network 2014 final selection is 32% BAME (up from 21% in 2013) and more crucially this year’s Ones to Watch are 30% BAME (up from 13% in 2013). As you move up the hierarchical structures of TV and the media, diversity is often a casualty, which is why we are particularly proud to preserve diverse television careers as they reach maturity.

As well as increasing BAME diversity, this year’s Ones to Watch are 70% female (something we hope will be heartening news for Jay Hunt, who will be part of this year’s Ones to Watch sessions programme) and cover a wide range of roles from within the industry, from writers to producers to VOD schedulers. It’s impossible to create an accurate microcosm of the industry in just 30 people, but we hope that this year’s successful candidates will have their eyes open to new perspectives, ideas and approaches, and learn as much from each other as the senior level talent they’ll enjoy intimate audiences with.

If Ones to Watch was a Buzzfeed article – it would be called something like “30 Reasons Why The Future of Television Is Looking Bright”. So, finally, here they are: this year’s Ones to Watch. If you know them, be sure to send them a virtual pat on the back, high five, hug, hair ruffle or whatever level of congratulation you feel comfortable with. We are not liable for any injuries sustained during “the bumps”.


Natalie Alvarado, Adam Barth, Rosa Brough, Samuel Burr, Claire Cahill, Sarah Collinson, Jessica Connell, Deanne Cunningham, Anca Dimofte, Suzy Grant, Nimesh Joshi, Jen Kerrison, Grivas Kopti, Tara Magan, Matthew Marsh, Mog McIntyre, Alana McVerry, Datshiane Navanayagam, Siobhan Ni Chiobhain, Meriel Paisley, Emerald Paston, Sophie Petzal, Sophia Rashid, Helen Richmond, Sam Shetabi, Andy Sockanathan, Cat Spooner, Rocco Sulkin, Philippa Treverton-Jones and Annabel Wigoder

Thank you to our Talent Schemes OTW sub-committee who painstakingly marked the hundreds of applications we received and those who participated in our new interview and selection panels: Alex Ayling, YouTube Channel Manager, BBC Worldwide; Dominic Bird, Head of Formats, Channel 4; Lisa Campbell, GEITF Festival Director; Tamara Howe, Controller, Business, Entertainment & Comedy, BBC Television; Angela Jain, Director of Digital Channels and Acquisitions, ITV; Jo McClellan, Drama Development Executive, Sky; Viv Molokwu, Chris Shaw, Editorial Director, ITN Productions, Neale Simpson, Head of Entertainment Development, RDF; Ben Tattersall Smith, Social Media Manager, BBC; Sarah Thornton, VP, Production & Development, Lifestyle & Entertainment, Discovery Networks; Katy Thorogood, Commissioning Editor, Factual, ITV; Newton Velji; and Karl Warner, Managing Director, Electric Ray.


If you would like to find out more about the diverse graduates of our schemes, or would be interested in becoming a mentor to the next generation of talent, please do not hesitate to get in touch at campbellglennie@geitf.co.uk or follow us @OnesToWatch_TV @TheNetwork_TV or @campbellglennie

Campbell Glennie
Director, Talent Schemes

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Britain’s Got Talent (Assessment Days) | Campbell Glennie

Glasgow, Salford, Camden, Chiswick, everybody’s talking about pop music.  Apologies, I meant to say The Network talent assessment days at the end there. Cannot resist a rhyme.

For those of you who don’t know, The Network is GEITF’s entry level talent scheme, aimed at those with less than three months’ paid experience, but with a burning passion for TV, preferably bordering on the obsessive. You might know them as the inquisitive ones with bright eyes and bushy tails after your business cards at the parties. But our purpose is serious, we’re looking for new voices from new places. In short, we want to ensure that those who work in television are as diverse as those who watch it.

For the first time this year, rather than just use written applications to decide who makes it onto The Network, we packed up the GEITF Talent Schemes magic bus and hit the road during May to meet the top 170 of the over 1,000 applications we received this year. Our task: to find the final lucky 50 who will be joining us for The Network this year for four intense and fun-filled days in Edinburgh. While we hope the assessment days were instructional and inspirational for the candidates, we couldn’t help but take away a few things ourselves about the next generation of talent coming through.

Here are seven things we learnt over four days of meeting some amazing people.

•Gogglebox and Game of Thrones were among the most discussed programmes in our interviews. I’m taking away from this that titles starting with “G” connect with the younger generation. All I’m saying is a Going For Gold reboot could really clean up.

•Unorthodox interviewee techniques included winking during introductions. We would not necessarily recommend this.

•Ross Kemp may be known exclusively as a documentarian to anyone born after 1990.

•Bingewatching could be having a disastrous effect on exam results. I’m not saying Michael Gove will ban Netflix, but keep an eye out.

•The next generation are definitely hyphenates who are trying everything and teaching themselves. There were very few we met who weren’t self-shooter/editor/director/producer/actor/breakdancers.

•There are a lot of Emmas out there.

•There are more alumni of both The Network (formerly TVYP) and Ones to Watch (formerly Fast Track /
TV25) in the world than we thought. If you are too – please take a few seconds to let us know what you’re doing via this handy form – we’d love to know what you’re up to and you’ll get invites to our free quarterly alumni events.

Thank you to all the talent scheme committee members, talent managers and execs all over the UK who generously gave us their time to make these days such a success, and to Creative Skillset, University of Salford, University of Hertfordshire, BBC Scotland, Discovery UK and The Roundhouse for making them possible.

The final 50 have now been selected, and they’ll be getting the good news as you read this. So when you see a Networker at the Festival, say hello. If they’re trying out their newfound networking skills on you at a party, be patient. When they send you an e-mail asking for advice, help them out. Let’s face it, they’ll all be our bosses one day.