On the second day of the Edinburgh Festival we heard from four representatives from UKTV; General Manager of Dave, Gold and W Steve North, General Manager of Drama, Alibi and Yesterday Adrian Wills, UKTV Director of Commissioning Richard Watsham and Deputy Director of Commissioning Hilary Rosen. The quartet chatted about the rise in original programming across their network of channels and what they hope to produce in the future.
* They previewed Dave’s latest show; Eat Your Heart with Nick Helm,which aired tonight, and was the first time they’ve tried to debut an original Dave commission at 8pm. They said they hoped it would maintain the edgy Dave ethos but in a way that would play to a pre-watershed audience.
* For Really they announced the return of Helicopter ER and also a brand ‘blue-light documentary’ NHS Rescue Squad.
* Additionally, they discussed another Really documentary, Into the Fire; which will follow the West Midlands Fire Department. What makes this show different is technology the show is employing as the cameras will be able to follow the team into the fire for the first time.
* Another Dave comedy that was previewed was hospital-based three-part sitcom Porters written by Trust Me’s Dan Sefton. The show features up-and-coming comic talents in the lead roles plus the likes of Kelsey Grammar guest starring in supporting spots.
* Zapped will also be returning to Dave this time with a six-episode series and will be partnering the twelfth series of Red Dwarf during the autumn.
* They announced that The Rebel starring Simon Callow will be returning to Gold in the near future.
* Additionally, Gold will also be airing new ensemble comedy Murder on the Blackpool Express starring the likes of Johnny Vegas, Una Stubbs and Sian Gibson.
* They previewed The Davina Hour; a new hour-long discussion show coming to W in which Davina McCall chats about various real-world issues but is also a participant in the conversation herself. They discussed how this was Davina’s idea and she was passionate about seeing the show through to completion.
* They talked about how one of the shows they were proudest of was Unspun with Matt Forde due to the audience feedback they’d received and the quality of guests the show was able to attract, most notably Tony Blair.
* Finally, they talked about how the next step for UKTV is to go into scripted drama but feel that, as it’s such a risky and costly procedure, it could be at least several years before their first original drama materialises.