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Television PolicyThe MacTaggart Lectures$
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Bob Franklin

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780748617173

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748617173.001.0001

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Talent versus Television

Talent versus Television

The James MacTaggart Lecture 1995

(p.183) Talent versus Television
Television Policy

Janet Street-Porter

Edinburgh University Press

In this lecture, the author, former Head of Youth and Entertainment at the BBC and founder of production company Screaming Productions, discusses the ‘crisis’ facing British television triggered by the departure of ‘talent’ — ‘everyone who makes a difference to what hits the screen’. The cause of this malaise is television management. The other problem with television is its structure. Senior managers, moreover, have lost any sense of purpose and have become ‘conservative, risk-averse caretakers of creaky structures and out of date formula shows’. Perhaps unsurprisingly, audiences for such television programming are diminishing. Talent has contributed to the malaise in two ways. First, by cynically linking ‘commerce and crap’, talent has failed to recognise that making the highest quality programmes for the most discerning audiences will generate the greatest opportunities. Second, talent seeking promotion has typically moved into management for higher pay. The author concludes by reflecting on the irony of management reports expressing concern about minorities while ignoring the minority in their own ranks: women.

Keywords:   talent, television programming, management, minorities, women

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