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Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Edinburgh TV Fest: What We Learnt from Channel 4


We're at The Edinburgh International TV Festival over the next few days, here's what we learnt from outgoing Channel 4 Chief Creative Officer Jay Hunt and her team.




* Over the last year Jay has been most proud of the channel's drama output most notably the success of Born to Kill and No Offence.
* She defended Eden describing it as the best show that the channel made by accident adding that it was more of a creatively interesting show than a ratings-grabber.
* The subject of The Great British Bake-Off was brought up and Jay defended the channel's position saying that at no point did Channel 4 attempt to raid the BBC but claims that Channel 4 put the offer on the table once Love Productions' relationship with the BBC had ended.
* She added that she was happy with the positive reviews that the Bake-Off has received so far and added that any rating over three million will mean their investment has paid off.
* She claimed that having Noel Fielding co-host the new Bake-Off was her idea and was based on a letter she received from a young fan on the star. Furthermore, she claims that Noel and Sandi Toksvig are a charming mix as a hosting duo.
* When Channel 4's potential move to Birmingham was brought up, Jay claimed that a compromise might be made as there wasn't a massive appetite for the proposed relocation.
* Jay claimed that she decided to leave following the departure of Channel 4's Chief Executive, saying that after she wasn't offered the job then her only option was to leave.
* Presently, Jay has no firm idea of what her next career move will be and she's currently mulling over her options.

Jay's creative team; Head of Specialist Factual John Hay, Head of Comedy Fiona McDermott and Head of Drama Beth Willis were then welcomed on stage.

* Fiona previewed three of the channel's upcoming sitcoms; Irish comedy Derry Girls, online mockumentary Lee and Dean and the new Mitchell and Webb vehicle Back.
* The announcement of the end of Chewing Gum was brought up with Fiona claiming that Michaela Coel needed a respite and that they absolutely want to work with her again in the future.
* John introduced a video clip of new documentary series The Biggest Little Railway in the World in which Dick Strawbridge oversees the creation of a model railway train throughout the breadth of Scotland.
* Beth introduced a trailer of new Sarah Lancashire drama Kiri; a four-parter written and created by Jack Thorne.
* Beth also talked about her excitement over the new ten-part anthology sci-fi series Electric Dreams which debuts soon.

* The session finished with Jay talking about her time at the channel and what her highlights were. She claims the shows she's proudest of are those which represent her no guts, no glory approach such as Gogglebox, Humans and First Dates.
* Her biggest highlight is how Channel 4 have celebrated the Paralympics and made stars of disabled athletes such as Jonnie Peacock.
* Finally, she defended the backlash against Naked Attraction claiming that it helped to demystify sexuality for young men and promoted healthy body images.

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