Buyers praise ITV drama and documentaries

The return of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, UEFA Champions League football matches, and a star-studded adaptation of Oliver Twist are among the key ratings winners in the ITV schedule this autumn.

ITV’s line-up in drama and factual programming won particular praise from media buyers, although the new comedy shows were greeted with scepticism. Central to the drama output is the Oliver Twist adaptation by Alan Bleasdale and starring Robert Lindsay, Julie Walters and Lindsay Duncan.

Launching the new schedule, David Liddiment, ITV director of programmes, said the role of ITV was to make programmes for big audiences which were “appealing, inclusive and authentic”, as well as to be ambitious by mixing challenging material with the familiar.

This season’s line-up sees several new “people-based documentaries” for the peaktime schedule, including a documentary strand called Real Life; a series called Manhunt: The Search for the Yorkshire Ripper; The Second World War in Colour and OK TV!, a masthead TV show about the lives of the rich and famous.

Andrew Coulter, TV buyer controller at Initiative Media, says: “It looks as if we can be confident that [ITV chief executive] Richard Eyre will meet his 39 per cent peaktime share target.”

see “Media Analysis”

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