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Hat Trick's Mulville takes aim

31 August 2010

One of the most enjoyable sessions of the Edinburgh TV festival was Hat Trick boss Jimmy Mulville’s Richard Dunn memorial lecture.

In a speech about how market research and business consultants are killing creativity in television, Mulville also dealt with Hat Trick’s near collapse in the mid-2000s after an investment bank bought into the Have I Got News For You? producer and the indie took on huge debts.

But the speech was also memorable for Mulville’s asides and jokes about everybody from the BBC to Channel Five and James Murdoch.

Here’s a selection of them:

On the BBC:
“Instituting a vast building programme up and down the land the like of which has not been seen since the days of Mussolini.”

On Channel 5
“They haven’t made a decent show since they started and now they’ve been bought by a porn baron – you couldn’t make it up.”

“Defined to a large degree by its huge entertainment brands. What would happen tomorrow if Simon Cowell went under a bus? God Forbid.”

On Peter Salmon and Salford:
“What is slightly surprising is that Peter Salmon it appears is refusing to sell up down here and buy up north. Really Peter?  As you know, Peter has been anointed Mark Thompson’s representative on earth in the newly created fiefdom in the North West. Odd signal to give the troops.  Perhaps we’ll find out more about the reasons for his decision in his session on Sunday, called ‘Leading From The Back.’ Sorry, that was cheap, but then, so is housing in Salford Peter.

On James Murdoch’s MacTaggart lecture last year:
"Did anyone see James Murdoch last year? I thought Baby Murdoch did quite well. I think Papa Murdoch would have been proud. To be honest, to begin with I struggled with his slightly strange delivery. It was a sort of cross between an American newsreader and the voice of a sat nav. But I did think he made some good sound points about the BBC being in areas it really had no business being in, that its cultural imperialism was choking competition in the area of online news delivery – all well thought out arguments made in a reasonable fashion.
So far so good I thought, but increasingly you had a growing feeling that he was just channelling Papa Murdoch and by the end of the speech as he become slightly more agitated, like some wires were shorting out in the mainframe – I thought I could hear a faint buzzing -  he was sounding like a post-modern Gordon Gecko. The quest for profit isn’t only good, he claimed, it will protect you from a sinister state controlled media and no doubt cure erectile dysfuction. 
I loved his portrayal of the BBC as some infernal state controlled efficient, well-oiled machine. Obviously he’s never made a programme for them. “

On the creative culture of the BBC:

“On a bad day like a 3.2 billion pounded funded parish council.”

On ITV’s new leadership team:
“It will be fascinating to see how things unfold on the South Bank where the two new boys are determined to bring a sharp focus to ITV. Adam and Archie, TVs new Ant and Dec.”

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