Phillip Schofield ITV & Cannes Film Festival: International Insider – Deadline
Good afternoon Insiders, Max Goldbart here bringing you a rundown of all the biggest headlines and analysis from the international film and TV universe. Read on.
Bad Week For ITV
Abuse of power?: Anyone at ITV who thought the Phillip Schofield drama would all blow over quickly was living in dreamland. Late last Friday afternoon, just as we were all putting down our pens for the Bank Holiday weekend, the man who had just left This Morning in a hurry after two decades on the sofa used a lengthy mea culpa to confirm what so many had believed to be a rumor for so many years – that he had had an affair with a much younger colleague during his lengthy stint on the daytime stalwart. Media eyes had already been trained on This Morning and Schofield’s public-not-public spat with former co-host Holly Willoughby but this was reaching new levels. This week has been about damage control amidst fierce escalation. While Schofield has been dropped by ITV and his agent YMU, the network is now facing difficult questions over how much it knew and how much of Schofield’s behavior spilled into outright toxicity. Former colleagues such as Eamonn Holmes and Dr Ranj Singh have been airing their grievances on social media and the events culminated in an ITV-announced review on Thursday, which will be conducted by an external lawyer. Then, early this morning, the BBC published a tell-all interview with Schofield, in which he firmly rejected the notion that he had abused his power regarding the affair and said he “understands how Caroline Flack felt,” referring to the former Love Island presenter who died by suicide in 2020. Frankly, it made for difficult watching.
Coming next: ITV boss Carolyn McCall ordered the review and is due in front of the influential Culture, Media and Sport Committee next week to discuss “fundamental issues about safeguarding and complaint handling both at ITV and more widely across the media.” McCall was front and center of ITV’s response to the damaging Jeremy Kyle scandal four years ago, which led to a major duty of care reckoning that rippled through the UK TV sector, and this Schofield drama seems to be following a similar pattern. Tune in next week for more coverage.
Something’s rotten: Denmark’s TV and film sector has had a wild year and a half. As the U.S. writers strike enters month two, lessons could be learned thousands of miles across the Atlantic Sea in this small Scandinavian country, where the production sector has been flattened by a series of unfortunate events. First came a commissioning freeze initiated by Netflix and co over a row about residuals involving the creative unions. Next, a government plan to introduce the most expensive streamer tax in the EU made things quite considerably worse. With no tax break production incentive, VAT issues and a strong local currency, productions began shifting to neighboring countries, and filming dried up completely for most of 2022. Jesse spoke to many of the key players involved in the tumultuous period for a deep dive report on how Denmark, the country that brought us The Killing and Borgen (pictured), might get itself out of this mess. It’s a cautionary tale for producers everywhere and the story isn’t over yet, with the exact shape of the streamer levy still not known. Read on.
“American-style slow burner”: Our deep dive was paired with the first Danish show to feature in Deadline’s Global Breakout column. I spoke with Kasper Møller Rask about his thoughtful but hard-hitting teen drama Nordland ’99, which has been impressing judges at European festivals and audiences on public service broadcaster DR’s streaming platform. Set in a small provincial town in the late 1990s, it follows two boys who unite with their friend’s sister to locate him when he goes missing after a party. Though it sounds a bit Stranger Things-esque, Rask was at pains to point to harder themes such as sexual abuse and notes “our monster isn’t inter-dimensional, it’s human.” Despite a slow-moving, arthouse approach, the series has over-indexed with young people and is warding off competition from similar shows aimed at the same demo. With Denmark’s production sector suffering, Nordland ’99 is a welcome reminder of the country’s uniquely creative approach to TV making. The full article is here.
Cannes Gets Political
Anatomy of a brawl: The Cannes Film Festival may be over but controversy rumbles on. Anatomy of a Fall director and Palme d’Or winner Justine Triet’s criticism of Emmanuel Macron’s pension reforms and approach to culture generated plenty of headlines several days ago. “Flabbergasted” and “unjust” was the verdict of Culture Minister Rima Abdul Malak, who shot back on Twitter: “This film would not have seen the light of day without our French cinema finance model.” Triet had used her Palme d’Or winning speech for the much-hyped courtroom drama Anatomy of a Fall to suggest the President’s neo-liberal agenda will make it harder for a new generation of filmmakers to emerge and grow as directors, and she was backed by, amongst others, the French directors’ guild. The brouhaha once again throws up debates around the intersection of culture and politics coming after a triumphant Cannes that nonetheless generated a fair bit of controversy. It is certainly nuanced and can be analyzed in greater detail via Mel’s in-depth write-up here. And if you want to see Triet talk all things Anatomy, here she is speaking to our very own Damon Wise in the Cannes Studio, while jury head Ruben Östlund’s thoughts on the pic can be found here. Until next year (or next week’s controversy).
Indian Scribe Survey
The wrong draft: To India, where scribes have been paying attention to happenings in the U.S. and filling in a survey that shone a spotlight on tricky times for local writers. While 65% of writers surveyed by Tulsea and Ormax Media said pay levels have improved in recent years, 63% believe they are not being paid fairly, while timeliness of payments was also a significant concern, impacting 47% of writers directly. The survey, titled The Right Draft 2023, also found that 53% of writers are dissatisfied with the credit they receive for their work, with that figure rising to as much as 80% for credits in some areas of marketing and promotion. “The message is clear,” said Tulsea’s Radhika Gopal. “There is much that we, as an industry, need to do to make our writers feel truly empowered, valued, enabled, and respected.” Our Asia expert Liz Shackleton had the scoop.
UK Legislation Under Fire
Netflix and Bill: Nothing gets the Deadline juices flowing like hundreds of submissions to the UK government’s draft Media Bill consultation. Jake dug through a few and found Netflix pulling no punches, as it threatened to preemptively remove films and TV shows from its UK library to avoid falling foul of the proposed regulations, which will introduce new requirements such as “due impartiality” for streamer shows in the nation. Staying on the right side of this rule will require Netflix to keep its giant catalog of content under continual review, ensuring that it is “purging titles on a regular basis” regardless of when a show or film premiered, it said, in a submission that throws fire on the current debate. In slightly more neutral language, Disney made a similar argument, finding that “it seems inappropriate to apply uniform rules on all VoD services, whether that is strict content rules or mandated ratings.” The government will now take a look at the submissions in depth before coming back with a form of legislation that will likely pass later this year. Elsewhere, Warner Bros. Discovery and Fremantle used their submissions to weigh in on the Bill’s controversial plan to allow Channel 4 to make its own shows.
?️ Hot One: The Ink Factory is developing a Constant Gardener limited TV series nearly 20 years after the Oscar-winning movie (pictured).
?️ Another: Cleo Watson’s raunchy bonkbuster Whips is being given the TV treatment by Andy Serkis’ Imaginarium.
?️ Again: Taost Entertainment has picked up Chinese distribution rights to Zayn Malik-starrer 10 Lives.
⛺ Festival: Shanghai International Film Festival unveiled line-up, jury head and Mike Leigh tribute.
? Exiting: Talkback’s Too Hot to Handle co-creator Laura Gibson, who heads to UIS-backed Monkey.
? Awards latest: BAFTA set dates for the 2024 Film Awards.
? Dance bros: The creators of Netflix’s first Finnish series spoke to Zac.
?️ Signed: Indian mega-star Ranveer Singh, with WME.
? Chair: Richard Sharp’s temporary replacement at the BBC has just been unveiled.
? Screenings: Writers strike chatter dominated international circles at the LA Screenings, per Jesse’s rundown.
? Office: The first ever female-led remake of the smash BBC comedy was unveiled in Australia by Amazon Prime Video.
? For sale: All3Media, with The Traitors super-indie valued at around $1.2B by owners WBD and Liberty Global.
? Box office: Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is expected to hit a $150M global opening.
? Trail: Another for Black Mirror, which launches June 15.
Jesse Whittock contributed to this week’s International Insider.