ITV autumn schedule opts for drama

Nigel Pickard, the director of programmes at ITV, has put particular emphasis on event drama in the channel's autumn programming line-up. The schedule is crucial for ITV ahead of the negotiation season; the broadcaster has suffered a fall in impacts across its trading audiences in the first half of the year and it will need a strong autumn to avoid a year-on-year decline in ad revenue.

Big-name actors including Ray Winstone, Simon Callow and Brenda Blethyn have been signed up to star in the new drama season, designed to appeal to up-market audiences. The event drama slate includes Dirty Filthy Love, a love story about two people with obsessive compulsive disorder and Tourette's Syndrome, and an adaptation of Tom Brown's Schooldays starring Stephen Fry.

Among the returning dramas are Foyle's War, Taggart, Midsomer Murders and last year's surprise hit, Rosemary and Thyme, starring Pam Ferris and Felicity Kendal.

At the other end of the spectrum, in entertainment and comedy Ant and Dec make a return both in Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway and a fourth series of I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!. There are also new series starring Frank Skinner and Harry Hill, as well as a return of 2DTV.

ITV has also invested in comedy with three stand-alone films starring Martin Clunes, Caroline Quentin and Richard Wilson. Hill makes his acting debut in Tunnel of Love, a film set in and around a fairground and written by the creator of Men Behaving Badly, Simon Nye.

- Perspective, p15.

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