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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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Rewarding Creative Talent: The Struggle of the Independents

Rewarding Creative Talent: The Struggle of the Independents

The James MacTaggart Lecture 1997

(p.201) Rewarding Creative Talent: The Struggle of the Independents
Television Policy

Laurence Marks

Maurice Gran

Edinburgh University Press

In this lecture, the authors, comedy writers whose independent production company Alomo has produced popular programmes such as Birds of a Feather (1983–1998), Love Hurts (1992–194) and Wall of Silence (1993), explores the relative powerlessness of the creative workers (writers, producers and directors) — ‘the talent’ — in television and the other creative industries. Establishing an independent production company provides writers with creative control over their work but even independent producers can end up being treated as little more than ‘a glorified freelance at the mercy of the market’ without ownership and distribution rights over programmes. It is still preferable, however, to working directly for a broadcaster such as the BBC or ITV which often involves being ‘under-respected, under-consulted, [and] under-rewarded’. At the BBC, the problem reflects the fact that creative leaders and their ability to commission work have been undermined by ‘legions of lawyers…and policy unit apparatchiks’. These new ‘gatekeepers’ have little enthusiasm or interest in television programming and apply to television ‘the same discipline they would apply to the production of biscuits’.

Keywords:   Alomo, independent producers, creative workers, talent, writers, producers, directors, television programming, BBC, ITV

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