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Live: 'MasterChef' - A Masterclass

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13.49: Welcome to live coverage of the MasterChef: A Masterclass session at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International TV Festival here on Digital Spy's Reality Bites blog.

13.50: I've just had a Sainsbury's tuna and sweetcorn jobby. The irony of having such a feast before a MasterChef sesh is not lost upon me.

13.52: Back to business. Mary Nightingale hosts this session with a panel consisting of Karen Ross, executive editor of MasterChef at Shine; Liam Keelan, controller of BBC Daytime; Alex Mahon, president of Shine Group.

14.00: MasterChef 2008 winner James Nathan will be putting ITV director of digital channels and acquisitions Zai Bennett and the BBC's head of Bristol factual Ben Gale through a MasterChef challenge during this session.

14.01: A steak and peppercorn sauce and a Scottish dish (those in the know please tweet the spelling at me) are on the menu. A pair of rickety burners with a limited gas supply appear to be the only tools.

14.02: Ross explains that the MC format was past its prime, and had been decommissioned. For the first recommission, Shine filmed a first test with 9 participants; a change to the desired show length resulted in the loss of this first sequence.

14.03: "There was a real sense that it is a proper experience," explains Ross, citing the decision to film it in an unconventional location with two cameras.

14.05: "MasterChef came at a time when people were getting fed up of mean telly," says Ross.

14.06: Ross praises BBC Two for being encouraging when the initial ratings were in the 1.5-2m range, and having faith enough in the series to move it from its first 6.30pm slot into primetime at 8.

14.07: "John [Torode] was just perfect... unbelievably clever and passionate. Finding a partner for John was really tricky." Giles Coren and A.A. Gill were considered.

14.08: The BBC wanted to do a celebrity spinoff. Ross explains her delight at the return of Michel Roux to the franchise. "I had a massive crush on Michel."

14.10: Keelan: MasterChef "is a scheduler's dream", citing its versatility in the schedule. "It's adaptable in terms of the format duration," he adds, discussing how it is possible for the show to expand or contract in terms of minute length as desired.

14.11: 6.30 was a "perfect slot" for the show to grow, says Keelan. "It slowly but surely grew there" and attracted a wide, mainstream audience.

14.13: Keelan dismisses the idea that MC has become too dominant in the BBC's schedules. The extensions are a "very BBC" way of expanding the franchise to different audience groups. Ross adds: "Which group would you turn to and say you don't deserve to cook?"

14.15: Breaking news: Zai has measured out his oats. Ben has poured the lot in.

14.16: MasterChef has had significant international success. 16 territories have their own version, and finished episodes air in 145 countries around the world. Check out our coverage in the UK and Australia.

14.20: Mahon on MC Australia: "People wanted to see a show that wasn't overproduced, not auto-tuned." Zing!

14.21: Shine were "delighted" and surprised at the success of the format in Australia, where supermarkets would call the company to complain they hadn't been notified about which products would be featured because of mass buying.

14.22: Mahon notes that with a show about food, local customs must be taken into account. "In India, you can't show meat, let alone raw meat, without half the audience turning off."

14.23: A passion for food, a passion for journeys are at the core of MC, says Mahon, and it's where local producers have recognised that - without needing the UK team to swoop in - that the format has had the most success.

14.25: MasterChef surpassed $100m in revenue "some time ago" and could exceed $1bn in its value to Shine. "We haven't even started exploiting the off-air side of it yet," notes Mahon.

14.26: Ross says that Australia helped give perspective on bigger budgets and different ways of doing things - but also helps to determine things that are less suitable for the UK.

14.29: Mahon looks forward to the junior show airing in primetime in Australia. Waiting for last night's ratings from France, where the show can air up to 4 hours per night. International expansion is top of the priority list for the future of the brand.

14.32: BBC One have given Shine "a different sort of funding" for the new amateur series. The 6 weeks of heat programmes will be dropped. Auditions will be filmed, and a group of 20 amateur cooks will then be followed through 15 one hour shows. A new set will be built and there will be a whole series of semis and finals. Scheduling is not confirmed. Filming has "just started". "It's quite flash," says Ross, but John and Gregg are still very much there.

14.37: The original format owner and Ross are brand guardians, explains Mahon in response to a question. Original owner "is not in the edit" but remains in touch with Mahon.

14.38: CBeebies and BBC One controllers have been talking about early Saturday prime for certain content, says Keelan, and juniors iteration could be among the programmes considered.

14.40: One of the boys whipped their cream to perfection, says James Nathan of Bennett and Gale's efforts. He declines to reveal whose cream was superior.

14.42: It's judgement time. Who will win the cooking contest?

14.44: Zai Bennett's sauce has split. A live update in the best traditions of Digital Spy.

14.45: Ben Gale wins! But Zai's knife technique was good, says James Nathan. The prize of a MasterChef mug and cookbook is duly awarded.

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