The Golden Rose television festival, which opened on Tuesday in its new home, Lucerne, is to pay tribute to the late Sir Peter Ustinov.This content was published on April 13, 2004 - 08:23
Ustinov, a long-time Swiss resident, actor and raconteur who died last month, will be honoured for his 35 years of humanitarian work.
The Golden Rose was held for 43 years in the lakeside resort of Montreux in the French-speaking part of the country.
But this year the event has moved to Lucerne in central Switzerland, after organisers decided it was a more suitable location for a revamped festival.
“The festival is expanding, we have more categories this year and more entries than ever before, and it was felt that Lucerne offered a better infrastructure for the festival to expand,” festival spokeswoman Angela Stephenson told swissinfo.
The six-day festival, which is dedicated to entertainment television, rewards programmes which have made a big impression abroad.
Changes this year include a new prize category for TV soaps and a series of events designed to draw in the public.
The Golden Rose – which is supported by swissinfo’s parent company, the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation – is primarily aimed at television industry insiders.
But this year organisers decided it was time to widen the event’s appeal. Several new prizes have been introduced, including awards for best soap actor and actress, best performance by male and female comedian, best sitcom actor and actress, and even best game show host.
“In the near future, the Golden Rose will not only be recognised as the Oscars of the television entertainment business by professionals of the media industry, but also by the general public,” said festival director Georges Luks.
This year’s agenda also includes comedy and music events which will – for the first time – be open to the public.
One of the attractions will be the new Hall of Fame on neighbouring Mt Titlis.
The 3,020-metre-high peak will host an exhibition in an ice cave, showing personal mementos and film excerpts of famous personalities from the world of entertainment. The display will remain open after the festival.
Among those expected to attend the festival are singers Harry Belafonte and Nana Mouskouri, and Swiss resident and actor Sir Roger Moore.
They will all be taking part in the Golden Rose charity ball to be held in aid of the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef).
Ustinov was due to make an appearance to receive the first-ever Charity Award for his 35 years of work for Unicef.
Stephenson said everybody involved with the festival was shocked to hear the news of his death.
“We will be using the opportunity at the charity ball to present a tribute to Sir Peter, and the charity award will be given to him posthumously,” she said.
During the festival, a special award – the 2004 honorary Golden Rose - will be presented to John de Mol, founder and chief executive of the Dutch entertainment company, Endemol.
The firm is responsible for a string of reality television programmes such as “Big Brother”, which became a huge global success and challenged traditional television formats.
Lack of Swiss success
Around 25 countries contributing a total of 269 programmes are due to take part in this year’s Golden Rose - a record for the festival.
Countries expected to do well in the festival competition include Britain, which enjoys a long tradition of successful entertainment programming, as well as Germany and the Netherlands.
Although Switzerland hosts the annual industry get-together, Swiss television programmes do not usually feature prominently at the festival.
But Stephenson says that could change this year.
“There are many Swiss producers and a number of Swiss entries, such as ‘Groc - King of Clowns’ in the music and arts category and ‘Joya Rennt’ in the reality category,” she said.
“So I think that perhaps if that was an imbalance in the past, it looks this year as if it’s slightly going back in the other direction.”
swissinfo, Isobel Leybold
The festival will take place in the Culture and Congress Centre, designed by French architect Jean Nouvel.
It opens on April 13 and runs until April 18.
There are eight categories: comedy, sitcom, soaps, variety, reality show, game show, music, arts and specials plus performance awards.
The BBC was awarded the first-ever Golden Rose for the “Black and White Minstrel Show” in 1961.
Past winners include Barbara Streisand, “The Muppet Show”, Liza Minelli, Benny Hill, “Monty Python”, “Cirque du Soleil”, Julie Andrews, “The Simpsons”, “Mr Bean” and “French and Saunders”.
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