"Television, the drug of a nation breeding ignorance and feeding radiation" sang the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, but for others, it's the most important mass medium of the century, a direct, domestic route to the global village. Either way, there's no doubting that television is the mother of all popular cultures - which makes it all the more strange that this weekend sees the first British television festival. (For the public, that is, rather than industry eminences grises.)
TV97 offers telly addicts a chance to get ahead of the game with previews of new dramas, including the adaptation of Arthur Miller's Broken Glass (7 Feb 2.15pm NFT1), and James Bolam and Alison Steadman in The Missing Postman (7 Feb 5.30pm NFT2). Visitors to TV97 also get first look at the TV adaptation of Deborah Warner's Richard II, starring Fiona Shaw as Shakespeare's king (7 Feb 8.45pm NFT2).
Few viewers will forget the heart-wrenching sight of the late Dennis Potter smoking his way through his last interview between draughts of morphine, but this ambitious author also left behind a legacy of potent small-screen drama. In an evening dedicated to his memory, Michael Parkinson will talk to modern screenwriters who continue in the Potter tradition (6 Feb 6.30pm NFT1). A screening of the new comedy drama The Fix follows, produced by Potter's long-term collaborator, Kenith Trodd. The drama stars Steve Coogan and Michael Elphick in a story about football corruption in the 1960s.
RICHARD AND JUDY
Armed with your remote you can indulge in daily doses of marital bliss courtesy of Richard and Judy, so you might feel you already know more than you ever wanted to know about breakfast TV's glittering couple. But don't let that stop you finding out what goes on with the rest of the gang behind the scenes of This Morning (7 Feb 10.15am NFT2). On Friday punters have a chance to see Granada's cosy magazine slot splashed live across the big screen, as staff talk through backstage production antics. And see how C4 measures up to such hard-hitting reportage later in the day with Channel 4: Making the News (7 Feb 6.45pm NFT1) which eavesdrops as the programme is broadcast live.
Given the purported "liveness" of these "real time" broadcasts, you might want to question the "reality" artfully created by the TV documentary. Ethics, Accountability and Responsibility in Documentary Dramas (8 Feb 4pm NFT1) does just that, and hopes to have the subjects of documentaries, as well as their makers, on hand to discuss the issues.Reuse content