Archive for September, 2010|Monthly archive page

Seven Days feedback

Some Twitter feedback as Channel 4’s Seven Days gets into its stride, indicating that people are detecting what’s different about it:

@caitlinmoran: #sevendays I am genuinely fascinated watching everyone reacting to having been on TV last week. This is a new format, …

susfb Susannah Barton
2nd episode of #sevendays = BRILLIANT, loving the interactive element, it is something that was missing from Big Brother, amazing:)

SaskiaSzo @ClockWorkBart flaw? that is the whole point of the show! for the public 2 interact and influence ppl’s lives! its a new reality! #sevendays

The viewer feedback on last week’s #SevenDays is going to make tonight’s show fascinating. Can the public improve the people??

haze2003purple: It’s really interesting to see people interact with the 7days cast and see how it affects them.

FreshlyBakedCoo: Reeeally pleased with how the interactive part of #sevendays is working out. It could of been such a flop but is actually impacting it a bit.

thehelpmovement The Help Movement
Seven Days is much more interesting now they’ve got some feedback. #sevendays

tomhewitson Tom Hewitson
Ok #sevendays has just stepped it up a notch with this whole meta reacting to fame thing.

emmafreud: #sevendays – genius or what.

vivi_best: @c4sevendays is simply fascinating. the girls being questioned on the show about BEING on the show.. amazing.

BigBobster666: really enjoyed ‘seven days’ tonight loving the concept – Reality TV you can comment on. TV for the facebook generation 😀 #7days

gingio: Susannah’s chat in the back of the van with her friend about Ben proves the power of chatnav and twitter on #sevendays.

eyekiller: Not a fan of the show but Channel 4’s #sevendays ‘Twitter meets TV’ interesting concept

Glad 2 see #sevendays is growing & that people r finally realising how 2 interact with the show! gosh we #British r a slow sceptical bunch!

@bally_singh: Can’t wait till next weeks #sevendays @c4sevendays 😀 Best idea for a show since Big Brother!

Geraint_Jones: Anyone watching #sevendays? Fully interactive where real life and the tv show merge, Interesting how the viewers are shaping the show..

CharleyStardust: I wish I had a #chatnav, it would make life so much more fun.

@enricoNT: #sevendays is amazing. What does everyone think? The future of #crossmedia is here?

And here’s a typical blogpost showing how the target audience are getting it.

Seven Days trail

Make Believe – the Phoenix rises

Kicked off the weekend at the newly restored Phoenix Cinema in East Finchley – the oldest purpose-built cinema in the land – and the best. It opened exactly 100 years ago as the Premier Electric Theatre.

As I walked back at 2pm, returning from The Media Festival Arts at the Roundhouse where I spent much of Thursday and Friday picking up all kinds of good tips on arts media (I was on the Advisory Board chaired by the charming Peter Bazalgette, comprising a lovely bunch of art-lovers including Marc Boothe, Alan Yentob, Fred Bolza from Sony Music, Pete Buckingham of UK Film Council, Dick Penny from The Watershed in Bristol, Andrew Missingham, among others), I bumped into Paul Homer, manager of The Phoenix outside the recently unscaffolded building. “How’s it going?”, I asked. “A builder has just gone through a water pipe.” Four hours to go til re-opening after months of closure. ” …And another has gone through the electricity cable on the 3rd floor [that’s where the projection room is]”. “Oh”. “I’m getting a sandwich.” “Good move…”

As things panned out, in the best show biz tradition, by 6.15pm work-arounds had been found. The crowd showed up – a full house. I met my C4 Arts colleague Kim Peat by chance in the queue – we both do some pro bono work for The Phoenix. I met a photographer who photographed our Big Lunch/Landshare street party last year. I had my first coffee from the new cafe out on the new balcony. And then I went in to the newly redecorated auditorium, which I had had a sneak preview of the week before, with its two ‘lost’ art deco panels brought out of storage, the hole with a light bulb popping through disappeared from the ceiling and its new womb-like rich red colour.

Opening the reborn picture house was Stephen Frears’ “Tamara Drewe’. Rarely has the disparity between trailer and film been so great. A beautifully made film, and funny. Some wonderful acting, very well written and crafted without flaws.

I asked the first audience question in the new Phoenix – about Frears’ take on the closure of the UK Film Council – he’d just praised the bravery of the financiers in letting him go with a non-starry cast. John Woodward, Pete Buckingham and Tanya Seghatchian (who was on the panel I produced) all handled the difficult situation around UKFC admirably and with humour at The Media Festival Arts. I’m really hoping the coherence of the UKFC doesn’t get lost in this precipitous decision, especially with regards to training and emerging talent. Frears agreed at least in this respect – his jury is out otherwise til he sees where the pieces land.

Tomorrow the new 100 year time-line is unveiled (got a sneaky peak at that too last week, but not yet wired up). I acquired 1936 for the Enfants Terribles – Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times was the film I chose from that year. The younger one’s middle name is Charlie. Tonight I’m subjecting/treating them to a viewing ready for tomorrow. Spanners are already on my mind.

As Paul was announcing the re-opening from the stage yesterday (tough guy though he is) he found it hard to keep back the tears after a project that has taken years to realise and a week that has offered him little sleep. He just couldn’t believe it. Much as a certain young girl can’t believe her luck towards the end of Tamara Drewe. She nabs a quick mobile pic to capture the moment. And so have I…

The Auditorium minus screen 3rd Sept 2010

Exterior 3rd Sept

The scaffolding comes off 7th Sept

The new fin and neon 7th Sept

Finishing 9th Sept

Title display sign 10th Sept

10th Sept (morning) Posters reappear

10th Sept (2pm) Water pipe and electricity cable drilled through

10th Sept (6.15pm) The crowd shows

10th Sept (6.45pm) The newly decorated foyer

10th Sept (7pm) The new balcony and fin

10th Sept (7.15pm) Full house

10th Sept (9pm) Stephen Frears is charming

Seven Days in the press

Here’s a couple of articles about Seven Days from this week – one from Broadcast, the other from New Media Age…

C4 to use ‘Chat Nav’ on Seven Days doc {courtesy of Broadcast}

9 September, 2010 | By Robin Parker

Channel 4 is to launch a ‘ChatNav’ website for upcoming documentary series Seven Days, which will collate social media conversations about the show and help determine which of the on-screen characters the producers prioritise.

The initiative aims to influence the show, which is filmed in Notting Hill in the week prior to transmission, by illustrating which of its characters the viewers are engaging with. The site will represent this by giving the people who generate the most buzz the biggest image.

Contributors, who remain under wraps until its launch on 22 September, could be scaled back or even dropped during the series’ eight-week run if audiences do not seem to be engaging with them.

As well as feeding in comments from Twitter and Facebook, the site will encourage users to help the characters make personal, social and work decisions, with their involvement ranging from yes/no answers to direct advice.

C4 new media factual commissioning editor Adam Gee said that rather than applying a ruthless “Truman Show approach”, the aim was to establish a “collective wisdom”.

“For the first time, it will enable the audience to have an influence in a documentary context, not by giving them editorial control, but by establishing a constructive exchange with contributors,” he said.

Viewers will also be able to ask a team of reporters based in Notting Hill to go deeper into stories.

The show’s site will also offer unedited rushes and cut sequences. Digital agency Holler is producing the web content with series producer Studio Lambert.

* * *

Mock-up of ChatNav screen

Mock-up of Seven Days ChatNav screen

Channel 4 gives viewers a say in how new reality show develops {courtesy of New Media Age}

Wed, 8 Sep 2010 | By Jessica Davies

Channel 4 is launching a major cross-platform initiative for new reality show Seven Days, with the storyline influenced by its online audience.

The show will follow the lives of around two dozen people living in Notting Hill, and will be shot and edited in the week of transmission.

Adam Gee, commissioning editor of cross-platform at Channel 4, said the show’s format indicates the kind of projects Channel 4 is likely to develop post-Big Brother, and represents a new approach for documentary and reality programming.

“That gap left by Big Brother gives Channel 4 the opportunity to rethink its whole approach and try out new things,” he said, adding that the show is “in the spirit of experimentation”.

The show’s format supports the broadcaster’s strategy of rewarding its audience for engaging.

“As a broadcaster, one of the main things you can give your audience as a payoff that no one else can is an impact on editorial,” said Gee.

A site,, will go live on 22 September to coincide with the TV broadcast. It will feature a function called Seven Days ChatNav, which lets viewers interact directly with the cast members, giving them advice and answering questions posed by the latter.

Channel 4 will monitor which characters prompt the most interest and discussion online, and this will influence which stories will be focused on in the subsequent episode.

People can use the site to catch up with what’s happening with the characters who aren’t featured in the TV show, along with videos of the show’s rushes. The site will also include full scenes which may have been dropped from the linear broadcast at the last minute.

A team of three called Eyes on the Ground will be on site and will post videos and blogs. Gee said, “They’re available for the online audience, who can ask them to fill in the gaps between shows, following up storylines that aren’t covered on TV.”

He also said the show and site have been designed for sponsorship, and Channel 4 is in advanced talks with brands over sponsorship tie-ups.

It worked with agency Holler on the cross-platform format, and Studio Lambert on the TV production.

A new reality

This is what is consuming most of my waking hours at the moment…

Here’s how it’s billed:

Follow the interwoven lives of some of Notting Hill’s most colourful characters – in the documentary series where what you see has only just happened.

An outspoken hairdresser, a budding rapper, two glamorous models, a single mother, a student, two pet therapists, a flamboyant restaurateur and many more, all with stories to tell and decisions to make.  What have they been doing in the last seven days?


Ever tried looking for a quotation online (of the literary as opposed to the insurance variety)? Wasn’t much fun was it? Not that easy to find what you want. And just how accurate was it? And why does it look like the site was made by a geek with no design skills in his stinky bedroom?

But you love great quotes don’t you? On your Facebook profile. In that presentation. You know, those ones you keep in that file – the one on your old computer. They’re everywhere – on the tube, in that advert, on that building, in that caff.

So why don’t we get the quotation sites we deserve and desire? Although there are several in the Alexa top 5000 most are labours of love, evolutions, accretions of amateur solutions stuck one on top of another like the proverbial sticking plaster. Or take Wikiquote – I search for “cars” and I get a Disney property, not a hint of shiny metallic vehicle in sight…

The world reduced to Disneyfication

And how pug ugly is that homepage?

And don’t get me started on the functionality which makes no real distinction between an encyclopedia article and a quotation. Don’t get me wrong, I love Wikipedia as much as the next man, woman or child but Wikiquote ain’t no fun.

Tear my eyes out!

Aargh. Barf. Yuk.

Suffer no more, fellow lovers of wit and wordcraft – may I introduce you to Quotables ( my latest baby, a Beta finding its feet at this stage, but already I hope lovelier and with your help, advice, input, love potentially a solution to the online quotes joylessness.

The world opened to verbal loveliness

Quotables is designed to work in four dimensions:

  • as a Utility – an accessible place to save the quotes you love, the Delicious of quotations
  • as a Reference Resource – growing into a comprehensive and contemporary repository of accurate, properly sourced quotes
  • as a Reflector of Buzz – capturing what’s most on people’s minds at a given time, indicating the trends and zeitgeist
  • as a Community of quote and language lovers – drawing together people who want to take on what was controlled by an editorial elite in the dead-tree era.

Quotables encourages contributors to draw on non-traditional sources such as bons mots heard live at public events, snappy one-liners from TV shows, tweets, a rich mix from high literature to popular culture. It also encourages short, concise selections (up to 75 words max) – that’s a “Quotable”. And it’s keen to promote the behaviour of saving our favourite quotes as we do our links on the likes of Delicious – to abandon those lost and abandoned files and notebooks and get Quotables to help that transition from old computer to new, to help circumvent that fruitless search for a scribbled upon bit of dead-tree not seen for a dog’s age.

The Beta is offered in the spirit of this quote which not so long ago defined its era:

There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.

We know some stuff we have yet to implement or roll-out – much of the mobile dimension of Quotables, some more of the integration into social networks, one click mark-and-publish from the browser, a long list programmed for release over the next year. But for the Unknown Unknowns we rely on you, dear reader, to tell us about via Laura Grace, our producer at – observations, suggestions, gripes, words of wisdom, all much appreciated to help us shape this baby for the greater good.

Quotables has been lovingly made by Mint Digital and co-funded by Channel 4 and Arts Council England.

That master of wit and badinage Donald Rumsfeld who blessed us with the unknowable above also produced this little gem…

Oh, Lord, I didn’t mean to say anything quotable.

Well tough titty, Donald – we’re coming after everyone from you via Donald Duck to Donald Trump, from Jonathan Franzen to Franz Beckenbauer, from Martin Amis to Amy Winehouse, from Father Ted to Ted Hughes, not forgetting my favourite contribution of my own to date – a non-traditional source (police video), the verbal pyrotechnics of Mad Mel:

What are you looking at, sugar tits?

We’d love to revel in your own favourite(s) so without further ado please do head over to Quotables, have a poke around, and share some sugar, love and inspiration…