As each year passes, the TV market Mipcom is becoming more and more like its movie cousin the Cannes Film Festival.

This year’s event is dominated by epic, filmic dramas that are launching with screenings attended by cast and crew.

Tonight (Tuesday 6 October) sees the world premiere screening of 20th Century Fox Television Distribution’s The X-Files, which returns with stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson more than 20 years since the iconic series first launched.

Last night, it was the turn of Sky Atlantic and Canal +’s European crime thriller The Last Panthers, which had a very well received world premiere screening with stars Samantha Morton, Tahar Rahim, Goran Bogdan on the stage.

Other big drama screenings include Sony Pictures’s The Art of More with all its cast attending, Endemol Shine’s The Frankenstein Chronicles, Starz’s The Girlfriend Experience, Electric Entertainment’s Mercy Street and Showtime’s Billions, starring Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis.

Meanwhile, the BBC showed off sneak previews today of its lavish, beautiful-looking adaptation of War and Peace, which was shot on location in and around the palaces and streets of St Petersburg, Russia.

And ITV chief executive Adam Crozier was on stage yesterday at Mipcom, revealing plans for a major US scripted push. The broadcaster is in Cannes this week pushing its new ITV Studios produced big budget dramas such as Beowulf and Jekyll & Hyde.

The strong drama programme at Mipcom reflects the surge in production of scripted content that has taken place in recent years, as broadcasters as well as platforms like Netflix and Amazon battle for viewers with must-have content headlined by international stars.

By contrast, the kinds of programmes that dominated the market in the 2000s – formats, reality, game shows and entertainment – appear to have been sidelined at Mipcom.

It has led to well-documented concerns of a bubble in the TV drama market. “There is simply too much television,” warned FX Networks boss John Landgraf this summer, arguing viewers were overwhelmed by options.

Judging by all the sumptuous dramas on offer at Mipcom this year, he may have a point.

However, one of the UK’s leading drama writers and producers – Red Planet Picture’s Tony Jordan – says that the push by broadcasters and platforms to invest in more drama is perfectly understandable. Jordan, who is promoting his 20-part BBC1 serial Dickensian at Mipcom, says: "Drama can define a network in a way that no other genre can."

Tim Dams

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