Archive for the ‘My Commissions’ Category

All 4 one

goggle box tv series channel 4

Was up at the Edinburgh TV Festival at the end of last week – very much a Channel 4 flavoured one. Channel 4 was named Channel of the Year 2014.

C4’s Chief executive David Abraham gave the opening MacTaggart lecture (the first one by a C4 chief exec in a dozen years and it’s been four years since any UK broadcaster has been invited to speak). It centred on championing British creativity and the unique climate of creative freedom and risk-taking that we have in UK public service broadcasting. He highlighted how important it is for the broadcasting and media industry, politicians, regulators and the public to robustly defend and build this outstanding public service system at this particular juncture, when it is under assault from without (especially US multinational corporations) and within (short-term thinkers and profit-takers). He concluded with a call to action for the next generation of media creatives. It was a generous speech, acknowledging both BBC and ITV’s role in the very special TV ecology of this country.

At the Festival awards, Channel 4 also picked up the award for TV Moment of the Year for Mushi’s speech in Educating Yorkshire and won the Programme Innovation category with The Murder Trial. There was further recognition for C4’s current affairs film Children on the Frontline, with Marcel Mettelsiefen picking up the Debut Producer/Director Award.

Such a whitewash of the awards is almost without precedent at Edinburgh and reflects a revived creative spirit at Horseferry Road after the annus horribilis that was 2013 both for C4 and the BBC. For me personally, the new focus on short form video which has come about this year enables the happy surfing of this wave of new energy. Here’s one of my first commissions in that area from a young British director, Umut Gunduz, who I met at Google HQ in St Giles a few months ago – the series is called Double Vision and the first episode is Cycle of Love.

double vision first date cycle of love

The Factory Factor

Intensity - with glasses

Intensity – with glasses

Early on in my career I directed a shoot in a plastics factory in the depths of South London. It was that morning, as I watched the mundane, repetitive jobs people had to do, that I recognised how privileged my work was, above all in its variety and creative fulfilment. Now it’s the end of a long day, thirteen hours without a break, quite intense activity,  which I look back over with that same perspective – that was a really satisfying one.

The first bit at home on rising was just tying up some loose ends of the week, a bit adminy. Then the rest of the day rolled out along the Northern Line.

First stop Borough – a meeting involving a Countdown personality to develop a project focused on words and language. The project seemed to go up a gear or three during the conversation and I’m really excited about it.

Next stop Angel – another creative development meeting for a series about the future, which again made significant headway through a lively and illuminating conversation with the presenter and two producers.

Back to East Finchley for some tough wrangling on a Music education project, really difficult to pull off but really satisfying in its objectives.

Then to round off the week the main person I’m hoping to interview for the Business chapter of my book came back with a positive response.

Popped back to Islington in the evening for some R&R in the form of Nick Lowe at the Union Chapel, which culminated in a rousing rendition of  (What’s So Funny About) Peace, Love and Understanding?

Jesus of Cool

Intensity – before glasses

 

A cool million

Tonight we hit a cool million tests taken on My MindChecker, my first project post-sabbatical at Channel 4. That’s in just 8 days – it launched with the new (4th) series of Embarrassing Bodies: Live from the Clinic last Tuesday.

Today it made the front page of the Mail Online.

Today's Mail Online front page

Among the unembarrassing bodies on today’s Mail Online front page

I like the last line of this coverage in the Evening Standard:

Evening Standard 15.iv.14

Evening Standard 15.iv.14

And here’s a neat little piece from The Sunday Times:

Sunday Times 13.iv.14

Sunday Times 13.iv.14

The Autism Test we featured in last week’s show was done 63,000 times during the hour of the show and by 11pm (3 hours in) that had reached 100,000. The total now stands at 350,000 completed tests. These anonymised results will go to the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge for their on-going work at the cutting edge of autism spectrum disorder research.

Health Freaks

My next multiplatform project is coming over the horizon. Here’s how it was reported in Broadcast the other day. It is my second experiment in transforming pre-recorded TV shows into live viewing events to make the experience more engaging for viewers whilst encouraging them to watch the live broadcast stream (and therefore the ads which keep the wolf from my door).

Dr Pixie Mckenna

C4 orders health series and latest Kirstie show

6 August, 2013 | By 

Channel 4’s features division has continued its string of recent commissions by ordering a health series from Outline Productions and a Kirstie Allsopp show from Raise The Roof Productions.

The 6 x 30-minute Health Freaks will put traditional home remedies to the test to discover whether they have any medicinal value. In each episode a series of people who swear by a particular treatment or cure will present their favoured remedy to a panel of three GPs: Dr Pixie McKenna, Dr Ayan Panja and Dr Ellie Cannon. The trio will then debate the remedy and, if they decide it needs further investigation, will send it to a lab to be tested further.

The series, edited by Chris Walley and executive produced by Outline’s Helen Veale and Ross McCarthy, will test treatments such a breast milk being use to cure infections and an oat bath being a good way to tackle psoriasis.

Veale said: “This show is a way of allowing ordinary people to have their remedies scientifically analysed – something they may have been unable to do previously due to the time and cost constraints involved.  We’ve already had some really interesting results.”

The series, which was ordered by commissioning editor for features Nick Hornby and will air in the autumn, also has an innovative multiplatform element.

Viewers will be asked if they have first-hand experience of the remedy in question [and whether they reckon it will succeed in its medical trial] and a live insert into the pre-recorded programme will feed the results of viewers’ engagement during the show back into the programme.

Channel 4 multiplatform commissioning editor Adam Gee said: “The interactivity of Health Freaks is effectively transforming a pre-recorded show into a live television event. This gives viewers more of a stake in the outcome, while encouraging them to watch the broadcast rather than time-shifting. It’s an early experiment in a largely unexplored area which benefits viewers, advertisers and the broadcaster alike.”

hughs fish fightThe first such experiment was in the second series of Fish Fight earlier this year. We used Twitter to put pressure on the supermarkets by whacking them with 16,000 tweets over a 3-minute ad break as see here:

Article extract courtesy of Broadcast

Play a long game

This project took two years to travel from Quotables, the website which inspired it, thought up in a cafe opposite Great Ormond Street back in 2010 with Andy Bell and some Mintfolk, to this primetime panel show playing out this summer.

Here’s an extract from Broadcast today…

 

Richard Ayoade actor director comedian Was It Something I Said

Same hairdresser as Elliott Gould and me

C4 panel show to feature Twitter playalong game

20 June, 2013 | By 

David Mitchell actor comedian Was It Something I Said

Channel 4 is hoping that the playalong game for forthcoming panel show Was It Something I Said? (WISIS?) will have as big an impact in the space as The Million Pound Drop Live.

The David Mitchell-hosted series, produced by Maverick TV and Mint Digital, will offer a playalong element hosted entirely on Twitter. Viewers will be directed to follow a dedicated account, @somethingIsaid, which will post questions, funny pictures and supporting content to coincide with the appropriate point in the show.

Players will be able to track their progress via a mobile-optimised website that will be closely integrated with the Twitter platform. C4 estimates that 80% of TV-related Twitter usage occurs via mobile.

Around 3,000 users will be sent personalised messages during each episode, with all the content produced designed to be shareable.

Separate Twitter accounts will also be launched to allow +1 viewers and those who watch the extended 45-minute repeat to also play along.

C4’s multiplatform commissioners Jody Smith and Adam Gee ordered the digital elements. The former said the broadcaster decided to host the playalong element on Twitter in response to viewer behaviour. “The interactivity around The Million Pound Drop has been hugely influential to other gameshows, and I’m expecting the interactivity planned for Was It Something I Said? to give the panel show genre just as big a kick up the arse,” said Smith.

The series is one of the first projects to have come from the broadcaster’s initiative to commission shows from non-traditional sources, and was inspired by the Quotabl.es website Mint Digital developed for C4 in 2010.

Micky Flanagan comedian Was It Something I Said

{Extract courtesy of Broadcast magazine}

Parents Screw You Up – Adam Gee Archive #3

I commissioned this one around 2003 for Channel 4’s Family site. It was written by Tim Wright, my collaborator on MindGym. The title and aspects of the design are derived from an anti-drugs campaign of the late 70s or early 80s (Heroin Screws You Up) via a cover article in a university magazine when I was at college by novelist-to-be Wendy Holden, a contemporary of Tim’s and mine at university and fellow Girton girl. Plus of course a tip of the hat to Larkin. This light interactive offered you a route as a parent or as a child. It was commissioned at the same time as The Showbiz Baby Name Generator.

How much did you get screwed up?

How much are you screwing up your off-spring?

The pay-off

One of a pair

Archive #1
Archive #2
Archive #0

Hotel GB opening its doors

Next up from these quarters is Hotel GB – kicks off on Monday night at 9pm on Channel 4. In terms of Multiplatform the emphasis is on lively chat and social media, which is why we’re working closely with Twitter. As my friend Judyth put it last weekend, “you’re a pill-sugarer” – I am indeed a pusherman (my theme tune is here), in the business of disguising public value and learning in colourful shells of celebrity and entertainment. The vibe on the location this morning was positively party-like – I chatted with Gordon Ramsay, Mary Portas, Kirstie Allsopp and Gok and all seemed really up for it, having fun for five days whilst highlighting some critical issues around young people and employment at this particular juncture. Meanwhile Tim Lovejoy and Sara Cox are psyched about diving in for some online banter. Here’s some stuff from Broadcast about it…

Twitter & C4 tie-up for Hotel GB

28 September, 2012 | By 

Channel 4 has forged a direct partnership with Twitter to boost activity around its forthcoming reality show Hotel GB.

Twitter broadcast partnerships executive Dan Biddle has been working closely with C4 and production company Maverick Television to ensure the stripped show’s social media champions Sara Cox and Tim Lovejoy are as effective as possible.

@sarajcox and @timlovejoy, who have 496,000 and 477,000 followers respectively, have been appointed to act as online cheerleaders for each team throughout the show which airs on Monday.

The social networking site has provided behind-the-scenes technical input such as statistical analysis, best practice guidelines and extra code.

The @C4HotelGB profile, which currently has 3,500 followers, was also handed a verified account status immediately.

C4 has previously paid for promoted tweets on the site but is not thought to have worked so closely on a single show before.

Maverick’s production team, led by multiplatform executive producer Claire McArdle, will manage the celebrities updates throughout the series without input from Twitter.

C4 multiplatform commissioning editor of features and fact ent Adam Gee said the input from Twitter would significantly boost the profile of the Hotel GB.

“They have given us a lot of good tips as to how to squeeze the most out of the show via the site,” said Gee. “They have vast pools of knowledge which have provided us with ideas we wouldn’t have had ourselves.”

McCardle added the insights provided by Twitter had been as detailed as how to manage multiple hashtags within a single tweet.

“Their interest in how we are using the site to magnify the show gives us a sense we are trying something new around it,” she said. “It’s like we have been given a real-life verification tick.”

C4 recruits celebs to cheerlead Hotel GB

14 September, 2012 | By 

Channel 4 is to recruit two celebrity social media cheerleaders to build engagement with its factual entertainment series Hotel GB.

The broadcaster will tap into the yet-to-be-confirmed male and female celebrities’ huge online followings to reach a significant audience quickly during October’s stripped five-part show.

Each will be allocated a team to support throughout the series, which will see Gordon Ramsay and Mary Portas turn a hotel into a fundraising training ground for unemployed people.

C4 multiplatform commissioning editor of features and fact ent Adam Gee said the ephemeral nature of the show meant making an instant impact was vital.

“It will be a huge multiplatform live event with the main focus on oiling the wheels of social media because the show has a strong entertainment focus,” he said. “The cheerleaders will wind each other up and get their followers behind their teams in a playful way.”

Maverick Television has been appointed to manage the digital activity surrounding the show, which is being produced by its All3Media sister indie Optomen.

Maverick multiplatform executive producer Claire McArdle said the stripped series had insufficient time to organically grow its own social media profile. “To ramp up quickly we must partner with people who are already out there,” she said.

McArdle, who will lead a team embedded round-the-clock in the undisclosed London hotel, said the main site would feature a blog style format, including a quiz, updates and behind-the-scenes footage and interviews.

It will also offer links to career resources.

A standalone casting tool, which will be rolled out to support other shows, will enable viewers to appear in Hotel GB.

{articles reproduced courtesy of Broadcast}

Clean Sweep – Broadcast Digital Awards 2012

C4 and BBC4 triumph at Broadcast Digital Awards

21 June, 2012 | By 

Channel 4 made a clean sweep of the multiplatform categories at the Broadcast Digital Awards on Wednesday [20th June 2012], with four wins.

Indie-made projects for C4 won Best Game (The Bank Job), Best App (Facejacker), Best Website (Sexperience), Best Multiplatform Project (Live From The Clinic).

C4 also landed a fifth award, for Best News or Current Affairs, for the Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields website.

{extract published courtesy of Broadcast}

Fantastic Plastic for Live from the Clinic handed over by Mr Gilbert, headmaster of The In-betweeners (Greg Davies)

 

Links for Hanna

Beauty and the Beast: The ugly face of prejudice

The Big Fish Fight – a multiplatform campaign which is changing EU policy and legislation (fisheries) and has improved supermarket policy/practice, backed by nearly 3/4 Million supporters  – includes iPhone app (listed in Top 5 Lifestyle apps of 2011 by Apple)

The Great British Property Scandal – a transmedia campaign to highlight the revitalisation of long-term empty homes as a partial solution to Britain’s housing crisis, with over 100,000 supporters in its first week – includes an Empty Homes Spotter iPhone app

4Thought.tv – Moral, ethical spiritual and religious questions explored 365 days a year

My Healthchecker – an aggregation of health self-tests which gather and use data in an engaging way

The Sexperience 1000 – an attempt to liven up data visualisation

Embarrassing Bodies: Live - a live switchover show, the first to switch from main TV channel to the web instead of a  multichannel digital channel – linked to the main Embarrassing Bodies site which is a hugely popular health site (the main rival and referrer to the official National Health Service site)

Live from the Clinic – the primetime show which span off of the last item – saved the National Health Service over £400,000 to date through innovative video-based symptom checkers

Sexperience – a sex education site driven by peer-to-peer learning, focused on experience as opposed to theory or opinion

Beauty & the Beast – drove research into facial disfigurement and appearance-related conditions, delivering over 60,000 survey returns to the academic institution spearheading this research in the UK

Model Agency – a video player experiment to realise the value of material on the cutting room floor (for fixed rig shows in particular)

New Year Revolution – helping people make lasting positive change in their life with the help of collective willpower

Landshare – addressing the social issue of long/closed allotment waiting lists/shortage of land for individuals to grow their won food on by providing an infrastructure to connect small pieces of private land (eg back gardens) with voluntary labour with the resultant produce shared between grower and land-owner

Surgery Live – first integration of Twitter and TV on UK TV

Alone In The Wild – release of documentary rushes/dailies in advance of transmission of a primetime documentary series

Quotables – reflecting contemporary culture through quotations, creating an outstanding quotations reference site and collecting utility in the process

Health Freaks Channel 4

NEW LINKS – March 2014

Live from Space – programme broadcast live from the international space station [Sun 16 March, 7:30pm, Channel 4]

Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields – current affairs/investigative documentary app

D-Day As It Happens – history refreshed: follow 7 characters over the 24 hours of D-day via Twitter in their own words with a primetime doc to introduce and conclude on C4

Eggs Live – natural history refreshed: 99% of life starts in an egg – watch eggs hatch live online and on air, from cockroaches to sharks

Health Freaks – converting a pre-recorded show into a live TV event (by inserting a precisely timed live interactive sequence) – the results of the viewers interactions are announced live in the show (whether they have come across a particular health remedy, whether they think it will pass a medical trial)

Empties are like chewing gum on pavements

Here’s a telly review from The Observer last weekend which pretty much represents the reception of The Great British Property Scandal. I particularly liked the last line.

The Observer, Sunday 11 December 2011

There’s too little time and space to get into the intricate successfulnesses of (Restoration Man) George Clarke’s two programmes on The Great British Property Scandal but, trust me, he is now doing for empty homes what Jamie has been trying to do for food. National Low-Cost Loan Fund might not sound the foxiest soundbite in the den, but it’s his answer, and it would work, by getting government and councils to let absent landlords (not all ill-intentioned) borrow £1,300 bloody quid and do up their empty homes to a lettable standard.

The angrier he got, the angrier I, and I hope you, got. The government/council lunacy of having families cooped in damp, rat-infested, poke-holes possessed of staggeringly dubious electrical safety, while round the corner lies a perfectly good “empty” which the owners, what with no one lending anything, can’t afford to twitch up to a lettable standard, hurts in that very bad way that happens when your mind hears stupidity.

Clarke managed, eventually, to show how even a little money can turn it around: the family needing not to live in squalor did up the house themselves, more than willingly and actually rather tastefully; the nice owners/landlords got some rent rather than a crippling mortgage for emptiness and a whole family was newly happy. Simples? I have already joined the website which allows you to help in your own area, or at least find out who in charge locally is helping/ unhelping. Empties are like chewing gum on pavements. We never noticed them: now we do.

{published courtesy of The Observer}

And here’s how the project was mentioned last week in the Scottish Parliament:

Motion S4M-01551: Joan McAlpine, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 08/12/2011

That the Parliament welcomes the Channel 4 series,
The Great British Property Scandal, which, it believes, highlights the problem of long-term empty homes; understands that there are 25,000 long-term empty homes in Scotland; welcomes the Scottish Government’s funding for the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, which is hosted by Shelter Scotland, and further welcomes the Scottish Government’s ongoing consultation on extending council tax charges for such homes, with the intention that additional revenue raised is re-invested in affordable homes, including the re-use of empty homes.

Supported by: Adam Ingram, Sandra White, Fiona McLeod, Annabelle Ewing, Gil Paterson, Chic Brodie, James Dornan, Bill Kidd, Dennis Robertson, Margaret McDougall, John Mason, Marco Biagi, Margaret Burgess, Richard Lyle, John Finnie, Mike MacKenzie, Paul Wheelhouse, Mark McDonald, Colin Keir, Kevin Stewart, Drew Smith, David Torrance, Gordon MacDonald

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