Nigerian drama series Tinsel, which began airing in August 2008, reached its 3,000th episode on January 21 on AM Showcase (DStv channel 151).
The show, which has provided both a launchpad for many of Africa’s best-known faces on television and a rebirth for some veterans, will feature a guest appearance by prominent Nigerian comedian Ayo Makun.
It has also reimagined African soap opera, drawing audiences in with its intriguing storyline, which speaks to love, influence and scandal set against the backdrop of the Nigerian film industry.
M-Net West Africa channel director Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu said: “Our local content story cannot be complete without a mention of our flagship soap opera, Tinsel.
“We are indeed happy to hit the 3,000th episode mark of this stellar series. At MultiChoice, we remain committed to growing and promoting local content and talent as we continue to expand the boundaries of African film and television production.
“Tinsel owes its longevity to its amazing cast, stellar directing, multifaceted storyline and high production values.”
Over the years, Tinsel has featured actors including Gideon Okeke, Gbenro Ajibade, Damilola Adegbite, Chris Attoh, Linda Ejiofor-Suleiman, Iretiola Doyle, Victor Olaotan, Funlola Aofiyebi-Raimi and Yul Edochie.
The drama series won an Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Award for the best M-Net original drama series in 2017.
MultiChoice Group’s video-on-demand service, Showmax, has launched in Nigeria with two new Big Brother Naija spin-off shows.
The shows, hosted by comedians Basketmouth and Bovi, have been produced exclusively for Showmax.
They are Big Brother Naija Extra View, a 25-minute compilation of unseen footage, and Big Brother Naija Hot Room, a 25-minute satirical commentary on the week’s main drama and action.
The company said: “Showmax Nigeria offers a dedicated slate of Nigerian television shows and movies, international hit series, Hollywood blockbusters and a Big Brother Naija partnership with live streaming and exclusive new BBNaija shows.”
Niclas Ekdahl, CEO of MultiChoice’s Connected Video division, said: “We’re aiming for the sweet spot that other services may have missed. Taking a generic service and taking on a few Nollywood movies won’t cut it, so we’re coming in with a strong mix of up-to-date Nigerian shows, international hits and favourites from across Africa, and now, as something completely new: on-demand and live Big Brother Naija content.”
Other shows to be added on the Showmax service will include Tinsel, The Johnsons, My Flatmates other Nollywood movies, Bollywood shows, telenovelas and shows from Kenya and South Africa.
Tolulope Ajayi, head of branded content at Lagos ad agency Insight Communications, discusses the importance of storytelling.
Scriptwriting and development of TV series are among the most important aspects of the media industry, according to one of the experts in the field, Tolulope Ajayi, head of branded content at Lagos ad agency Insight Communications.
Ajayi was present at last week’s Creative Nigeria Summit (CNS), where he taught two masterclasses on the role of writing an original script and how to create telenovelas for the local audience.
For him, creativity is key and sometimes one needs to learn how to be a disruptive writer and seek inspiration from different sources to come up with originality.
He has directed a number of TV productions, including Tinsel, MTV Shuga (season three) and A New You. In this interview, Ajayi shares some of his industry knowledge and experience.
In one of your CNS masterclass you said that an original script does not necessarily have to be high-concept. What did you mean by this?
Yes, it’s true. This is because high-concept movies are done to grab audience attention, they are often very exciting and possess highly visual story ideas. They are usually audience favourites because of their predictability.
However, low-concept ideas could also make for good films as they involve more of each character’s journey, good plots and engaging dialogue. If you notice, most Oscar-winning films are low-concept premises. Originality just comes in two packages: high- and low-concept.
What’s your take on the evolution of Nigerian telenovelas?
During my masterclass on telenovelas at CNS, I spoke about our history with public broadcaster NTA as television storytellers. I also spoke about our audience’s acceptance of this world-acclaimed television format.
In my opinion, to improve Nigerian telenovelas we could synthesise our storytelling traditions and blend in the telenovela structure. We may have proved this possible when we produced our versions of the telenovela within M-Net productions Hush and Hotel Majestic.
What are the challenges in scriptwriting and soap opera production in Nigeria?
I can’t speak empirically for all the country, but I believe that funding poses a major challenge for independent producers, as well as finding TV channels and platforms that commission fresh productions.
How would you say the CNS is contributing to the Nigerian media industry?
It’s a great opportunity. It serves as a platform to bring together large swathes of the industry and address critical areas for growth opportunities. It’s also an avenue to witness the best in the field sharing insights and to network and share your skill with prospects. In all, we also get to see government’s initiatives in the media sector and ways in which they can be explored.
As head of branded content at Insights Communications, what more would you like to see done in the media industry?
Personally, I would like to see more mini content summits that follow up and address key questions raised, before the bigger summits. Meanwhile, I believe the active participation of TV networks and media buyers would also do well from these summits.
The Lagos Film Academy (LFA) has concluded its first TV writing masterclasses, which featured scribe Chris Ihidero (Fuji House of Commotion, Hush) sharing his wisdom about the TV business.
According to the writer/director/producer, being a TV scriptwriter entails more than just talent. “In TV, there’s never enough time or money. What is crucial is to know, as a writer, when to compromise and when not to. Learn not to give excuses,” he said.
Other coaches at the masterclasses included script editor Ijeoma Ogwuegbu-Uduma and TV producer and director Olufemi Ogunsanwo.
Ogwuegbu-Uduma has edited scripts for various TV shows, including Tinsel and MTV Shuga. Ogunsanwo is one of the directors of Africa Magic’s Ajoche.
The masterclasses were concluded with First Fridays, an event that provides a platform for Nollywood professionals to network.
The LFA aims to equip aspiring scriptwriters with the necessary skills and information to succeed in the TV industry.
Ihidero has directed over 100 hours of TV, including Fuji House of Commotion, Shuga, Now We Are Married, VIP and Hush.
Nollwood actress and producer Judith Audu, star of 2016 film Just Not Married, has announced she will be moving into the world of film directing.
The CEO of Judith Audu Productions will make her directing debut with the release of a short film titled Mirabel.
Mirabel is a movie adaptation of a poem of the same name by Moses Akerele, an actor and TV presenter who will also be acting a lead role in the short film. It is an emotional drama that will be produced and directed by Audu.
According to Audu, directing the film is “a new terrain for me and I’m only too glad to take on the responsibility. I’ve never been afraid of a challenge so I urge all my fans to look out for this short movie.” The release date of the film is yet to be announced.
Audu has featured in numerous TV sitcoms, including Tinsel, Emerald, Seekers, Burning Spears, Huzzel, 4 Walls, Comfort Zone, Rush, Funtime, Life is Beautiful, Case File, House Apart and Queens Drive. She has also produced a number of movies, such as Obsession, Just Married and Stormy Hearts.
Mirabel will star Omowunmi Dada, Tunbosun Aiyedehin, Maimuna Yahaya, Naomi Ojochide Yahaya, Chris Iheuwa and Steve Enagbare, among others.