Between the 7th and 9th April 2017, the BFI and Radio Times launched their first television festival, designed to celebrate television and its evolution over recent years. I was lucky enough to attend four events on the 8th April at the BFI Southbank, a place I love to visit. There was a range of over 40 events to attend, from panels and talks to workshops.
Masterclass: Spoiler Alert! How to Write About TV
Hosted by Radio Times TV editor Alison Graham and writers David Butcher, Jane Rackham and David Brown, this was the first talk I attended. It was a talk about writing previews of television series in magazines and I found it very informative. I learnt quite a bit about programming and the world of television but what really came across in this discussion was the camaraderie between the panellists. Even though they are all co-workers, it was very obvious throughout the talk that they are very friendly and it was very friendly to watch. I’ve decided that this might be the job for me!
Masterclass: Call The Midwife
This talk was hosted by Jane Garvey and included Dame Pippa Harris, writer and creator Heidi Thomas and Dr Turner himself, Stephen McGann. This was my favourite event I went to, and I only got in because of a standby ticket! What really came across in this talk was how much work goes into making this series as historically accurate while also as emotional as possible. It’s obvious how much the people who work on this show love it, as it’s deeply personal for all of them. Apart from that, I also learnt a lot of filming regulations and the depth of research the creators go into. I’m so glad I got into this event.
From the BFI National Archive: TV Dinners with Tom Kerridge
I don’t know what I was expecting with this event but it was so funny! Hosted by Tom Kerridge, BFI Curator Lisa Kerrigan and Radio Times editor Michael Hodges, this event was an exploration into cookery on television and how it’s changed from it’s inception. Clips from multiple different TV chefs, such as Fanny Cradock, Mary Berry and Delia Smith were shown and analysed. There were even a couple of surprises-who knew Vincent Price had a cookery show! This event was a lot of fun, and I hope they show this kind of event again!
The Crown: The Making of a Television Epic
This was the last event I went to and it was by far the largest event I attended. It was a panel featuring actress Claire Foy, executive producer Stephen Daldry and chaired by Tom Bradby, a former royal correspondent. It was so interesting to hear about the making of this event, especially in that it’s different from a usual television series as it’s made by Netflix. It was so great to hear about the making of the show, and how difficult it is to act in the roles of such important, influential people, and I can’t wait for the next series!
Overall, I had a really good time at the BFI and Radio Times Television Festival, and I hope this becomes an annual event. I thought this festival was really well done; it was cohesive with a great range of events and it was also a lot of fun. Bring on October with the London Film Festival!