ITV was tonight named Channel of the Year in recognition of a strong period of programming that has included its devastating Exposure documentary on Jimmy Savile and the hit drama series Broadchurch.
The award was made at the Edinburgh International Television Festival where Broadchurch was also chosen for the New Programme Award.
Earlier Peter Fincham, ITV’s director of television, told a festival audience that he believed the success of British TV in finding a slew of big entertainment hits, such as The X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent and Strictly Come Dancing, in the last decade had now created a problem in finding replacement formats.
“These formats all date to a narrow period at the beginning of the last decade and nobody could have predicted they would have the life they have had but I think they have still got a lot of life in them.
“The corollary of that is that it has become a difficult period to launch big new entertainment programmes. Take Big Brother which has found secondary life on (Channel) 5...I’m sure broadcasters the world over would like a new Big Brother but I don’t see any sign of a new Big Brother.”
But Fincham declined to say whether he would be returning the £500,000 pay off he received on resigning from the BBC in the wake of the Crowngate fake footage scandal in 2007. The pay offs of departing BBC executives are being investigated by the BBC, the National Audit Office and the Commons Public Accounts Committee.
Under questioning from BBC radio presenter Martha Kearney, Mr Fincham declined to say whether he would follow the example of his ex-colleague Roly Keating, former Controller of BBC2, and hand back his pay off money.
“It is six years since I left the BBC and I have not talked about the circumstances in which I left and I don’t want to start now. I’ve really resisted turning into an armchair commentator on the BBC,” he said. “I’m fundamentally a great supporter of the BBC.”