And what does the BBC think of ITV drama? I quote the authors of the BBC Programme Strategy Review, Alan Yentob and Liz Forgan: 'ITV drama has not gone downmarket . . . it has succeeded in catching audiences with expensive, quality drama. BBC productions have failed to capture the big audiences where ITV have succeeded.'
If Mr Davies doesn't trust the critical instincts of viewers and the BBC, perhaps he might take notice that ITV drama productions and their leading performers, Robbie Coltrane and Helen Mirren, have won awards from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, the Royal Television Society and the Broadcasting Guild, all of which, I would suggest, know more than a little about quality.
May I make one final point on commissioning. Because the Network Centre team has been successful in attracting large audiences for such diverse productions as Cracker, Peak Practice, Inspector Morse, the Catherine Cookson dramas and Sharpe, ITV provides more peak-time drama than any other channel. Success in the drama field provides more opportunities for scriptwriters like Mr Davies, not less.
Controller, Network Drama and Entertainment
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