In an online article at Broadcastnow, it has been exclusively revealed that Melvyn Bragg [pictured] is currently filming a UK show which will feature Coldplay, before he leaves the show. No dates yet when this will be broadcast. Here is the article:
ITV insiders fear that Melvyn Bragg's departure will mark the death of arts on the commerical broadcaster, despite assurances today that new arts programmes will be sought. Staff in the South Bank Show production unit were in tears this morning as they read an email from Bragg to say he would resign after the current season concluded in 2010. Meanwhile, ITV executive chairman Michael Grade met with senior managers this morning to break the news of Bragg's departure in person.
Bragg, who has spent 33 years at ITV, is today filming an upcoming South Bank Show episode profiling the multi-award winning rock band Coldplay.
One insider said: "Some of the staff still did not know that Bragg was leaving until the press were told. It's a been quite a shock and a lot of them are inconsolable, especially since Melvyn did not tell them himself. There is definitely a feeling that it marks the end of the arts department at ITV. For years, The South Bank Show has survived, but many think that is because Melvyn has such strong political connections, which are quite useful for ITV. The department has been cut back so substantially and now most people are resigned to the fact that they will probably lose their job when The South Bank Show finishes."
Another source said: "The arts department will be devastated, with yet more redundancies on top of the many they have already made."
The South Bank Show is one of the few arts programmes currently airing on ITV. In the past year other arts commissions have included Aled Jones' Christmas Carols and religious art programme Faith in the Frame. In a statement earlier today, ITV said Bragg was discussing other potential projects with the broadcaster and the network would be "looking at opportunities for new arts programming".
An ITV spokesman added that it was already known that current contract for The South Bank Show was due to expire next summer, but said potential alternative roles may be found for staff members in other areas of ITV Studios. It is not clear how many people are currently employed by The South Bank Show but insiders believe it is somewhere between five and ten. The spokesman confirmed ITV would be looking for new arts programmes, with indies and producers welcome to pitch ideas to the relevant factual or entertainment commissioners "depending on what the idea is".
"We are always open to receiving pitches for new ideas, not only for arts but across all genres," he said.
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