As Love Island’s most successful series ever draws to a close, it’s a good time to reflect upon what this means for the future of reality TV. As well as other important questions, such as how Alex the Doctor managed to remain permanently sunburnt for 8 weeks and when are Jack and Dani going to get married?
In an age of high-end big budget drama, you could be fooled into thinking viewers are now too sophisticated to care for noughties-style reality TV. After all, we really have the pick of the bunch. PSBs are producing high-quality programming across the board, foreign dramas have finally hit the mainstream, and we have a wealth of critically acclaimed content at our fingertips thanks to the explosion of streaming services. The UK audience has never been so high brow, right? Wrong.
Love Island is one of the cleverest formats around. It plays on the simple idea that humans take great pleasure in observing other humans interacting. It’s so unbelievably simple and crosses any kind of cultural boundaries. All you need is a villa in a sunny climate, fill it with young, toned singletons and you have the recipe for a long hot summer of drama. Some viewers may lament the extent to which producers can manipulate the contestants. In truth, it would be far less entertaining without this element of control. At the click of their fingers producers can effectively spark a flame inside the villa, while we sit back and watch the drama unfold. The potential for this format to sell around the world is huge, with new commissions recently announced in Denmark, Finland and Norway, as only a few examples of its global appeal.
It’s about time entertainment and reality formats regained their former glory and returned appointment viewing to the norm. They have a unique power to unite people of all ages and backgrounds who are swept up in the wave of escapism and fun, providing welcome respite from the reality of these uncertain and politically divisive times.
Remember when Big Brother was the only thing people would talk about? Well now, over a decade later, that’s Love Island. The golden age of reality TV has returned, and I for one am very excited to see what’s next.
By Eve Edmunds, Senior Account Executive, Franklin Rae
It’s coming to the end of the year, and it’s been an odd one but it’s almost time to say goodbye to 2016, and hello to a bright, shiny new 2017. The end of the year gives us a chance to reflect on our very best TV moments of 2016, and the team at FR Towers have chosen theirs:
2016 was pretty incredible in terms of British Drama*: Epic glossies like The Night Manager, Victoria, Game of Thrones – Battle of the Bastards and War & Peace were swoon-worthy for many of the FR team, some of whom were particularly impressed with the opening titles. *obligatory nod to foreign co-pro partners. Other homegrown British Dramas that were more gritty than glossy but equally compulsive viewing for Franklin Rae were; National Treasure, Happy Valley and The Missing – they all had the Holy Trinity, acting talent, writing talent and high-quality production talent. More please!
FR Towers are known for their (armchair) athleticism so it comes as no surprise that sport dominated our summer’s viewing. We loved the Rio Olympics – special mentions for the GB v Netherlands Women’s Hockey Final, and the bizarrely hypnotic cycling races where we seemed to win everything – Skill. The European Championships Wales V Belgium got a mention, and lots of love was sent England’s way for winning the Six Nations Grand Slam.
Tickling funny bones at Franklin Rae were the legendary Beatles…… of Brentford aka People Just Do Nothing, and the indomitable US production company 3 Arts shook up Franklin Rae’s Brit-content love fest with The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Master of None.
But we don’t just live in a fantasy world, Factual TV did get a look in: Planet Earth II’s flamingos were spectacular and Grierson Award Winner – Louis Theroux: Drinking to Oblivion deserves to be seen. However it was Hypernormalisation that got us to really sit-up and take notice, documenting what happens when delusion becomes a self fulfilling prophecy, and “fakeness” becomes the accepted reality.
Stranger Things was the only US drama that floated the boat but it has many admirers chez FR, and not just because it’s an apt description for the WHOLE of 2016.
Finally, at the risk of sounding (even more) like a middle aged woman, Strictly Come Dancing was watched religiously by my family this year – we’re all girls and faced the biggest TV dilemma since Sophie’s Choice – Danny or Ore!
And with that it’s Christmas TV Specials abound, so settle in and have a rocking Xmas & New Year.
See you in 2017.
By Sophie Naylor, Managing Director at Franklin Rae.
Sophie Naylor, MD of Franklin Rae giving the welcome speech
We recently held our ninth annual media networking extravaganza in partnership with Coutts, where the great and the good from the media and creative industries gathered in the newly refurbished Garden Court of the Queen’s bank.
We welcomed guests from Channel 4, Creative Skillset, the BFI, to the founder of the Mobos, in what has turned into one of the media and creative industry’s must attend annual events.
There was much topical debate and insight from the attendees around the pros and cons of Brexit, with the general consensus that remaining ‘in’ was the best course of action, providing access to the wider European market.
Culture Secretary John Whittingdale’s recent comments against making changes to the terms of trade were welcomed with agreement that Pact has done a good job in maintaining the Terms of Trade and so protecting the long term ownership of IP, which drives business growth.
Also raised was the proposed quota for European content in the Digital Single Market regulations – it was agreed European producers will need to ensure they create great programmes that people want to watch to ensure the quota is met.
Lastly, there was much talk about the changing TV marketplace in the digital age and the opportunities this gives producers and distributors to look to pitch and sell beyond the traditional channels, to digital giants such as Amazon, Google and Twitter. It was broadly agreed that digital provides greater opportunities for TV production companies, distributors, and in fact all suppliers to the broadcasting industry.
At the end of the evening many of the guests continued their refreshment and ‘louder’ networking efforts at Gordon’s Wine Bar.
We’d like to thank everyone who took the time to attend, with special thanks to Coutts and our fellow sponsors Redfin, Simon Muirhead & Burton and Kingston Smith.
We are delighted with the great feedback we have already received, and if you met us for the first time, expect to hear from us soon.
Stay tuned for our next event on the death of linear TV – myth or reality.
By Ben Powell, Senior Account Director at Franklin Rae