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Warning of decline in TV standards (1990)

1990-08-25 Times.jpg


VERITY Lambert, the doyenne of independent television producers, gave a warning last night of certain decline in the quality of British television in a deregulated market unless executives had the courage to back. their programme makers.

Opening the annual Edinburgh International Television Festival with the James McTaggart Memorial Lecture, Ms Lambert told an audience of television executives and programme makers that the most successful television programmes had been made "only because someone had the guts to ignore the rules".

Ms Lambert, best known as the first producer of Dr Who and for bringing Minder, Rock Follies and Edward and Mrs Simpson to the screen, said that the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 must "schedule with courage". They must "stand firm and not panic!' when confronted with falling ratings.

"If Channel 3 and the BBC go down-market in order to try to attract larger ratings, in the long run they will not win the battle," she said. "The audience will now have diversity of choice, and eventually they will switch over — or switch off."

She said that the Independent Television Commission (ITC), due to replace the IBA when the Broadcasting Bill receives royal assent in November, must insist that franchise holders not only have a commitment to make documentaries and current affairs programmes; but also a commitment to schedule them at peak times. The Lords has, by an amendment, added such requirement to the bill; but the government hopes to overturn it in the Commons."

Ms Lambert said that documentaries and current affairs programmes need not be seen by ITV companies as an inevitable loss of revenue, pointing to the high ratings of This Week and World in Action, which regularly reached between four million and seven million affluent people a week. Quality could be upheld only if the ITC used its power to take away a franchise if its holder did not live up to standards that were promised during the forthcoming franchise round.

Television executives at the festival will today debate the future of the BBC.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Wittstock, Melinda (1990-08-25). Warning of decline in TV standards. The Times p. 6.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Wittstock, Melinda. "Warning of decline in TV standards." The Times [add city] 1990-08-25, 6. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Wittstock, Melinda. "Warning of decline in TV standards." The Times, edition, sec., 1990-08-25
  • Turabian: Wittstock, Melinda. "Warning of decline in TV standards." The Times, 1990-08-25, section, 6 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Warning of decline in TV standards | url= | work=The Times | pages=6 | date=1990-08-25 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=20 February 2019 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Warning of decline in TV standards | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=20 February 2019}}</ref>