The Drum Awards for Marketing - Extended Entry Deadline

-d -h -min -sec

Edinburgh International TV Festival Nicola Sturgeon BBC

Edinburgh TV Festival: From 'Cops on Camera' to Nicola Sturgeon's 'distinct' BBC Scotland TV' pitch, here's our rundown of day 2


By Jason Stone | Editor of David Reviews

August 28, 2015 | 4 min read

In the press room at the EICC where the TV Festival is held each year, there's a television relaying events from one of the venues elsewhere in the building. Between sessions, it blasts music at a volume associated with Top Shop, extraordinary rendition and other forms of torture but it's a valuable resource for hacks who want to write an eye-witness account without taking the trouble to climb a nearby staircase and actually be in the room.

Yesterday, as I returned from 'Cops on Camera' - a fascinating session about police-based documentaries - the press room television was carrying the action from a session called 'The BBC: Under Siege'... not , as one might hope, an opportunity for Steven Seagal to detail his plans for single-handedly dismantling the corporation's enemies, but the coming together of a collection of well-meaning experts with an extraordinary ability to get cross with one another. Chair and broadcaster Steve Hewlett - lacking the control of Jeremy Kyle in similar situations - appeared to have given up officiating in favour of making his own strident points. It was 'Lord of the Flies' in long trousers.

The session demonstrated that day two was going to be as dominated by the future of the BBC as day one had been. The issue certainly arose during Nicola Sturgeon's alternative MacTaggart address where the First Minister set out the case for Scotland to be given more BBC.

This is - on the face of it - a peculiar request given the SNP's lingering fury with the corporation over its coverage of the referendum debate. It brought to mind a joke Woody Allen tells in 'Annie Hall' about two women discussing the disappointing restaurant they're in. "The food here is terrible, says one. "Yes, replies the other, "and in such small portions."

Sturgeon took the opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness of her unspun approach to public discourse. Spin doctors in other parties continue to study her in the hope of figuring out how she achieves her engaging and likeable persona without realising that it might be really, really simple... she just is engaging and likeable.

The day ended with the annual awards do. As well as the coveted 'Channel of the Year' - sponsored this year by C21Media which made the award sound like something you might order from a vending machine - a smattering of other prizes were handed over... mainly to beef up the ceremony.

As is his wont, Frankie Boyle hosted and treated the assembled TV audience to a series of amusing paedophilia-related titbits, before it was revealed that BBC One was the recipient of the main honour (with 'Happy Valley' - a programme shown on the station picking up the 'Best New Programme' award to make it a big night for the corporation's flagship channel).

There was a short-lived sense of vindication in the air because the BBC had picked up this year's big award but the reality of the challenges ahead doesn't allow much time for celebration. After all, it's hardly likely that George Osborne and his colleagues are going to be nudging each other this morning and declaring the BBC "untouchable" after this largely symbolic triumph.

For more on the Edinburgh International Television Festival follow The Drum's live coverage here.

Edinburgh International TV Festival Nicola Sturgeon BBC

More from Edinburgh International TV Festival

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +