Doesn't this anonymous tit realise he'll never work in TV again if he carries on at this rate?
"Last Bank holiday weekend the most powerful people in British Broadcasting assembled in Edinburgh for their annual TV Festival, to sleep with each other, take drugs and participate in backslapping pastiches of well known TV programmes like Jim'll Fix It and Top Gear."
Why they needed to travel all the way to Edinburgh to do this is unclear.
In the most prescient festival of recent years, with scandal rocking the industry, MGEITF’s woeful inadequacies were fatefully exposed. Here was an ideal chance for us all to pick over the carcass of TV and face some uncomfortable home truths. Or at least be grilled by a tenacious audience – not a bunch of sycophantic producers too paranoid to open their mouths in case it jeopardises their next commission.
Despite Peter Barron’s best efforts to inject more journalistic purpose to proceedings (eg. News 24 studio) the festival remains lightweight, inadequate and representing all that is bad about the industry - nepotistic, socially and culturally homogeneous, blisteringly arrogant, and full of wankers.
Edinburgh TV Festival is sold as THE place to mix. Where an ambitious assistant producer can perhaps get some face time with a Commissioning Editor. Or a passionate researcher can actually tell the BBC2 controller what they'd like to see on their channel. But who are they really supposed to network when all the important people are secure over at fortress Soho House, far from the shop-floor?
Let’s cut the pretence and admit what the festival is really for: An opportunity for social climbers to self promote, ambitious freelancers to line up their next job opportunity and independent chiefs to cement relationships with their channel clients.
Why not just call it a Trade Show and be done with it?
The Guardian sponsored event feels like a very closed shop indeed, run by a a quasi-Bilderberg Group.
Here's how it works: An Executive Committee 'appoint' one of their own each year to head up the festival, session ideas are thrown around in clandestine monthly meetings by an 'advisory committee' who are made up of all the same predictable people peddling the same viewpoints, the sessions are then filled with available TV whores who agree to be involved in return for free festival passes.
So what happened this year? Were any awkward questions asked at the meticulously controlled ‘Sessions’ and ‘Masterclasses’?
Did ITV Director of Programmes Simon Shaps (resplendent in a Gary Davis medallion-man look) have to sit on a stage with Paul Watson, the (perhaps unwittingly) original architect of 'reality' television - and face an uncomfortable grilling about what really went on behind-the-scenes on Malcolm and Barbara?
Did Stephen Lambert and Martin Davidson explain exactly how THAT trailer was allowed to be used to flog A Year with the Queen all over the world?
Was Jana Bennett grilled over the inherent structural flaws of the BBC’s commissioning process?
Did Channel 4’s Hamish Mykura/ Ralph Lee or Jane Root face analysis over how Bear Grylls was allowed to fake an entire factual TV series?
Was David Frank called to defend how his brand of ‘formatted factual’ had mutated into an uncontrollable monster?
Did Michael Grade have to face the anger of young (and experienced) producers who he ignorantly blamed for TV’s current problems?
Of course not.
No-one was brave enough to stick their head above the parapet.
Except perhaps Martin Durkin from WagTV.
In a session curiously titled 'Fuck Off I'm a TV God' his was the only lone voice that dared to challenge Daisy Goodwin's preposterous claim that Grand Designs (made by privileged people for other privileged people) somehow had some higher social purpose.
Sadly, however, everyone glossed over the fact that Daisy had recently met with David Cameron's Tory Party to gain backing for a new Channel 4 traffic congestion social experiment, thereby being complicit in promoting another political agenda wrapped up as 'factual entertainment'. Why do producers of low-rent factual features suddenly have a god-complex to rival the cockiest of documentary big hitters??
A session which promised to uncover 'the guts and innards of the commissioning process' was an excuse for filmmaker Lee Kern to make a name for himself as a Louis Theroux replacement. Real insight? He wouldn’t dare.
The McTaggart was entertaining but if Paxman wants to be our moral conscience then he should start with what he does best and invite Jana Bennett on Newsnight, armed with a copy of the BBC’s budget for last financial year.
Instead of hoarding 2000 telly-types up to Edinburgh to live in a bubble for three days, perhaps we should look at News International (yes, I'm serious) and what they do with the senior editorial staff at The Sun. Bus them to Butlins at Weston Super-Mare for a long weekend to mingle with their readers.
Me? I spent my Saturday in a Fringe Festival tent until the early hours getting drunk and talking to a kid from Dundee about TV fakery.
It was the first real person I had the pleasure of meeting all weekend.
WOW!! Who is this person?? My phone rang off the hook with speculation about the author's true identity. I have my own suspicions..... step forward Andrew Newman.
(PS. Annoyed that my session or T-shirts never get a mention. Does Herring bother to do ANY press work on my media brand these days?!)