Top talent is the ultimate draw as the Queen and Louie Spence prove.

Two and a half years ago, Queengate rocked the TV world. It wasn’t pretty. Several high-profile careers were temporarily derailed, although - as is often the case with top TV brass - they soon got back on track to power through the TV landscape once again: Peter Fincham at ITV and Stephen Lambert in the indie space.

One of Queengate’s legacies - apart from a near fanatical concern about compliance at the BBC - was a stark reminder of how important the central talent in your programme is. You don’t get much bigger, talent-wise, than the Queen, and when the palace goes cold on you, it’s like the second ice age descending.

Talent on TV is nothing without access. As ITV’s Claire Zolkwer says in our commissioner interview on page 10: “If it’s an access piece, at least have the access.”

Top talent sells, particularly internationally, and for the BBC, the fi rst major doc featuring our monarch will be welcome. The serious-minded series will take the suitably safe angle of what the Queen does for the nation. But with heavyweight presenter Andrew Marr at the helm, it will doubtless be safe from schmaltz. If you listen carefully, you’ll be able to hear the pre-order tills in the US ringing from here.

And talent is nothing without opportunity. There needs to be recognition of talent when it comes along - because it can come from the most unexpected places. The best formats and factual entertainment centre on those quirky characters who are intrinsically compelling.

Enter Louie Spence, star of Sky 1’s Pine apple Dance Studios. Anyone who starts a conversation by saying that a passing dancer was “so fit he gets my sphincter going like a coy carp at feeding time” (as exec producer Jonathan Stadlen wrote in Broadcast’s recent Behind The Scenes piece) has got to have a bright future. He’s being lined up for a chatshow, where he will doubtless take to the environment like a show pony in a big top.

Use it or lose it

Louie hasn’t appeared on our screens from nowhere - he has already been a judge on Cirque de Celebrité. But he’s been given an opportunity, and the time and space, to shine.

Which brings me to The Bill. It’s always sad when a programming institution bows out. Apart from the hideousness of yet more job losses that will be the inevitable fallout from its axing, a crucial aspect of The Bill was the opportunity it afforded new talent. Many actors began there. Many of our top production and directing talent did too. Now there’s one less place for those starting out in the industry to get their feet on the first rung of the ladder.

Talent: use it or lose it.

Emily Booth is deputy editor of Broadcast