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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 November 2006, 13:10 GMT
How can Grade revive ITV's shows?
By Kevin Young
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

As ITV celebrates the defection of BBC chairman Michael Grade, figures from the TV industry explain what he brings to the role, and how he should turn around the broadcaster's fortunes.


I would hope he would pay more attention to quality control.

I think they have got a good roster of very well-made and popular shows like I'm a Celebrity..., Ant and Dec and The X Factor.

Ant and Dec
I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! is currently in its sixth series
But I think drama and comedy has been sorely lacking for the last five years.

The BBC is defined by stuff like Little Britain, The Royle Family, Fawlty Towers. I can't think of the last good ITV sitcom.

It just hasn't bothered trying to come up with a comedy. I don't think we've seen a great contemporary ITV drama since Cold Feet.

Michael Grade will, hopefully, avoid cheap factual programmes and rural dramas set in Yorkshire, and endless two-part psychological dramas on Monday and Tuesday nights with the same people.

He has always championed quality and if I was Michael Grade, I'd go all out to find a really good comedy.

Give someone like Peter Kay enough money to do whatever he wants, and I'm sure people would watch it on ITV.


I think he's an absolutely inspired appointment and much-needed by ITV, because he's a charismatic leader who cares passionately about creativity and programmes.

He absolutely understands the DNA of ITV and how important entertainment and popular drama are to the channel.

Pop group Eton Road, on The X Factor
Talkback Thames is behind ITV1 shows such as The X Factor
The most important thing he's going to do is make everybody feel confident about ITV.

I think the key thing is for ITV to be itself and to have its own identity.

They have proven themselves in the past to be very good at launching dramas.

They just need to do more of what they're good at, and more of what their audience expects of them, and primarily that is entertainment and drama.


What ITV doesn't have is a sense of adventure in its drama. The BBC is coming up with things like Life on Mars and it's hard to see ITV coming up with anything similar.

It's very reliant on Coronation Street and things like Heartbeat, The Bill and Emmerdale, which run and run, but in terms of a sense of freshness, the cupboard looks a bit bare.

Bradley Walsh, Debra Stephenson and Rupert Hill in Coronation Street
Long-running soap Coronation Street is shown four nights a week
Corrie is doing good business but it's creaking a bit. There's a lot of pressure on it to hold up the schedules.

Occasionally ITV surprises you. Now and then they produce the goods, but they don't do it consistently.

Prime Suspect was one of the best things on TV, probably anywhere in the world, this year, but that's an occasional gem in what is otherwise a very predictable roster.

I'd want to have an equivalent of Spooks or Hustle, a popular drama series with good production values and - crucially - good scripts.


I know Michael a little bit and I think what he's got is a really good instinct and feel for the audience, which is exactly what is required.

A scene from Bad Girls
Shed Productions makes Bad Girls and Footballers' Wives for ITV1
He's a great guy to have in that commercial job, he'll be a great support for the teams there, and I think he's a really good choice.

He's very much a broadcaster. That's where I grew up, and I think broadcasters should run channels, because you're the individual that's the link between the audience, the producers, the suppliers and the advertisers.

I'm sure he'll do what's right for the audience and he'll be a great sounding board for his team and well-regarded within ITV itself.

If he can help turn around ITV's broadcasting and get that product right, then the business will flourish.

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