Monday, 30 April 2007

How to shoot yourself in the foot

Apparently - his wife informed me this afternoon - Craig is no longer taking my calls. Now if you knew Craig like I did you'd know that this was entirely in character and another example of his childish tantrums. I thought I'd extend the olive branch and hoped to pick his brains about Fifi (they shared a flat together in the 80s) but it seems the door of our relationship has been finally closed for good. I doubt very much I'm going to be the one who's crawling through the corridors of the corporation on my hands and knees fucking begging for work so I hope he knows what he's doing.

Let me explain: when we first met in the mid-90s, Craig was a talented programme maker specialising in human interest sob docs, but thanks to the ebb and flow of television trends his unique brand of leftie journalism no longer had the same air of invincibility. A few years ago I gave one of his ideas to a younger, edgier director I knew would do a better job and he's never forgiven me for my betrayal (whatever that means). I did it for the best interests of the film, which, incidentally, did go on to win a BAFTA, RTS and Prix Italia.

Sunday, 29 April 2007

Oh fuck. What to do about Castaway

Received a message on my new corporate Blackberry late this afternoon. FiFi wants me to attend an emergency thinktank meeting at the Charlotte Street hotel on Wednesday to discuss how we ("we"?? I'm on gardening leave for another 4 weeks and this really isn't my problem yet) deal with the cock up that is the new Castaway. Not sure how I should play this. Obviously, FiFi wants to pick my brains and test me partly because I've had to handle reality formats before. But this Castaway mess wasn't conceived on my watch at all, and quite frankly I really don't want to be associated with it. So here lies my problem: do I come in with an air of distance, throw in a few considered but deliberately vague suggestions and let the existing lackies deal with it whilst digging their own graves even deeper, or decide to grasp FiFi's mantle, stamp my size 9 Birkenstock feet all over it and salvage the enormous fuck up that the lame/out of touch production company execs have ladled the Channel with? It's a real tough call.

I really haven't devised my first 2 week strategy yet - which projects to talk about, which to ignore, and what kind of tone to take. Perhaps I need to talk to Craig for the first time in two years. At least he'll know about the political mess I'm about to be forced into dealing with. Craig will know exactly how I should play FiFi; me thinks he'll suggest an air of aloofness but delivered with a very knowing air about me. As if I would ever have been foolish enough to think that the format could work anyway, and now they are fucking lucky to have me lend an air of savvy to the confused thinking on it. That's what I hope, at least. Perhaps a quick call to Bryan at Endemol might be useful to make too. He's got me out of the shit enough times, and he owes me a favour or two.

Things I want on My Channel

Here are a few things I've decided I want on my channel:

1) Every female presenter I've ever fantasised about, starting with Anneka Rice
2) A really really really BIG stunt that'll get us on the news
3) The new Little Britain (must remember to find out what those two funny blokes from Green Wing are doing now)
4) An edgy returning soap for the teens that will offend as many people as we can
5) Premiership football rights / Champions League football rights / ANY sport rights (except snooker, bowls or darts - too dowdy and working class)
6) NO Darcus Howe
7) A weird travel series with Jeremy Clarkson

Wanted: new commissioning editor for documentaries

What did I tell you? Rubin called this evening full of congratulations and praise wondering if I was fixed for a drink on thursday. He said he's been meaning to call and apologise for missing my leaving do (yeah right) but he's been in a nightmare edit with a 'difficult' director. I could tell from his voice that he was one underperforming film away from getting the sack. In fact, I predict that when his next yawn-umentary about the rescued sea lion sanctuary goes out, it will be curtains for Rubin. It's his own fault... if you commission 'important' films from 'difficult' directors then you're going to end up with 'no job' and reduced to begging for scraps from people like me. Twat. There's nothing quite like the whiff of desperation that hangs over the head of a doomed soon to be ex Commissioning Editor.

Saturday, 28 April 2007

Lionel Blair

Michaela at Blueprint Media must think I've gone mental or something. She emailed me yesterday saying that she'd just come back from lunch with Lionel Blair's agent and we must talk asap. It took me ages to try and remember who the fuck Lionel Blair was. Then it dawned on me. It was that camp guy who used to do Give Us A Clue that my older sister used to watch when babysitting me when I was about nine.

Michaela said that the agent reckons that if Noel Edmonds can be madeover for daytime then so can Lionel. She's got two returnable formats she wants to talk to me about, but why me?! I don't do "daytime". Feeling very confused, although agreed we should do lunch as Michaela always always always makes me feel real and genuine and fucking clever at what I do. Have asked her to book us in at that new Brazilian Mocota for end of May. Besides, the booking will look very impressive to my new PA when I arrive in the new job.

Buzz words

Thinking it's really time for me to be developing some hot new phrases and terms to christen my arrival in the Big Time. A few years back everyone was using the word "noisy" when talking about how much attention their slots where getting. At the channel, we also used to tell producers to develop shows that would "punch through the schedule".

Think I really need to move things on a bit further - although not as far perhaps as Hector, who I was reliably informed by an ex-staffer yesterday has now started talking about his latest 6-part format set in a Manchester hairdressing salon as needing three or four "stingray" moments before each ad break. I don't think it will catch on, the dick.

Thursday, 26 April 2007


Invited to the Spiderman 3 premier the other night - and then on to the Freemason's Hall. Average film. Bored me silly. Bumped into Hector afterwards. He said Rubin is about to jump ship at C4. His doc strand is bombing and the kid's floppy haired magic is not impressing the senior schedulers. Let's hope he doesn't call me for a job. Also bumped into Jenny (from The Bloc TV Corp) who looked amazing in a beige catsuit. She wants to take me out to lunch. Purrrrrr! Her ideas are crap but she's a very, very shaggable P.I.L.F (Producer I'd Like to F*ck).

Friday, 20 April 2007

Cultivating a beard

Jesus, woke up in a cold sweat this morning. I'm worried the goatee won't be ready in time. It's patchy and wispy around the neck. Hardly the hirsute, manly chin fuzz of some of my rivals in the industry. Not entirely sure this whole facial hair thing is for me but Sarah at Flower TV says she thinks I look hot when I don't shave. I should stick with it. Plus, I suppose, it gives me the air of a maverick risk taker, a rebel from the commercial sector. It's a good brand. It might come in handy later on when I'm trying to force through my controversial new initiatives at the channel. Stuffy old bastards don't know what's about to hit them.... ME !

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Gardening leave

I woke up this morning at 5.45am to catch the Today programme. Got to make sure I know my stuff in case I get any press calls. It’s sunny outside but I’m holed up in my flat studying the new channel grids and getting up to speed with My Channel (feels good to write this.) With the new job starting in a couple of weeks I can't afford to rest on my laurels.... especially as the schedules are a complete and utter disaster zone. What was the last idiot controller doing? Anyone can see the channel is wrongly positioned. No wonder the fucking advertisers have jumped ship in their droves. We’re offering dodgy sitcoms and sponging off the main channel brands with cheap, high volume ‘behind the scenes’ shite. There’s no imagination. No vision. No risk taking. They need someone to come in and shake up the organisation with some big, bold, brave programming.

[Note to self: Must ring Endemol and get them in for a creative brainstorm ASAP]