Thursday, 31 May 2007

I am *totally* down with the kids

Got some funny looks today because I was wearing Birkenstocks, jeans and my favourite retro Judas Priest print T-shirt. Everyone naturally assumes I should be suited (given the massive importance of my job) but this is where I like to take a leaf out of Andy D's wardrobe: he's struck a popularity goldmine by slinging on any old shit polo shirt! The man is a satorial management genius. His casual (some say sloppy, but not me) attire gives him instant street cred with the kids.

I need my staff to know that their 'bossman' can also 'hang loose' if he wants to. I might even pick up some things from Topshop on the way home tonight.

To top it all off, I am very pleased to see I now have 147 friends on my TVController myspace page which makes me by far the most important and popular TV bigwig online (a big up-yours to Steve Gowans and his posse... bless them). I even had the rap DJ Tim Westwood leave me a message: ("thanks for reaching out! - appreciate the love - Westwood"). Wow!

This online experience is really helping to develop my understanding of what The Kids want to watch. Take for example my favourite new-found friend who is called Wicked Girl, a very *normal* 26 year old multi-media consumer. Have a look at her here

She lists her favourite shows as: Simpsons, Lost, Eastenders, Big Brother and watching "free satellite TV on my PC through broadband". I'm not quite sure what on earth this means but it sounds very modern. She has a totally different way of consuming media to the rest of us, and even prefers to download free films to her PSP. One of her interests is to "customise her mobile cell phone with wallpapers and ringtones".

I love her. And I've already asked Anthony to invite her to the Corporation to take part in a focus group.

What was Davina wearing?!

What on earth was Davina wearing? Who's idea was the banshee-rock-whore look? I'm sure Powers couldn't have been the one to suggest it (I was always telling her to keep Davina looking 'classic') so I can only think that Edgar 'Just Got Up' Jones must have lent an unhelpful hand. Fucking eejit.

On principal, I didn't really feel like tuning in to watch BB8. It felt slightly grubby and disloyal... but not in a nice way. Still, I couldn't help myself. I've just watched it back now TWICE on Sky+ and will send my scribbled notes to Hincksy tomorrow (He always said he valued my creative input).

Massive fuck up with the casting. Where was Jesus, the mad albino hispanic hip hop/breakdancer? His sexist views were going to be a real cultural talking point in the house. Where was Bee? She was my favourite: a size double zero nymphet performance artist with a huge fucking great big tattoo of a bee on her face.

Worst of all was that Kevin has shied away from casting both of the Muslim girls Asiya and Faatin (on Endemol's final A-A-A list) who were part of my brave attempt to confront the current religio-political climate, but in easily digestible chunks for a downmarket popular peak audience. Have Channel 4 lost their edge? God, I am so glad I left when I did....

Good to see they carried through my idea for the twins though. However I always saw it as a male/female twin *just* in case we struck lucky after one bottle of Cava too many and it turned into a randy 'Cement Garden'-inspired orgy.

[The less said about the elderly dykes the better. Fucking hell, for one minute I thought I saw my Mum rock into the house. If I had a pound for every 'lipstick lesbo' season I've ever been pitched I would be richer than Simon Shaps. How many times do I have to say this: Dykes Do Not Rate!]

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

I am an NLP master

I decided to lead a gentle brainstorm-cum-ideas chat this morning with my development team ostensibly to go through the bank holiday papers - but secretly to put them through their paces.

I had taken the unusual step in asking Anthony to join us. I gave him simple (yet highly confidential) instructions to make notes on how the three lackies responded to me during the meeting. He was ordered to watch out for unusual body language, lingering eye contact, involuntary facial ticks etc.

This might sound a little bizarre, but oh no. On the contrary, it is a mark of how progressive I am when it comes to managing and understanding my teams. You see what my former employers at Horseferry Road don't know about me is that six months back I attended a four-day intensive NLP course in Aberystwyth.

It resulted in me making friends with a very attractive (yet mature) lady called Natalie who works as an NLP master practitioner out of a very plush office in St Johns Wood.

Now there is nothing I don't know about the hidden psychology of pitching!

Natalie believes that measuring the reactions and mood of my staff during my first 'formal' session with them will reveal an awful lot about how they view me, but more to the point how they feel about me. Vital if I'm to have a tight, loyal ship that I can mould to my exacting needs.

During the meeting I picked up on the following:

1) McDonald and Jo have got a 'thing' for each other
2) Silent Stevie uses a 'visual language' eg. 'I see where you're going with this' when he talks about ideas - which is a good sign.
3) Jo 'swished' Silent Stevie TWICE to assert her authority and distract him from the 'anchor points' he was trying desperately to make about Tre from The Apprentice
4) Anthony is not 100% gay. He possibly has bisexual tendencies judging by the amount of time he spent (along with me) staring at Jo's sexy knee-high boots.

Natalie has promised to comprehensively analyse Anthony's notes and get back to me ASAP. She's a gem!

Do Transexual Biologists rate?

Just got a call from Sam at Betty TV.

She is really keen for me to have lunch with a 26-year-old Cambridge Biology graduate called Tiffany B who has been doing some short pieces for a new MTV show called Burn My Bra (I don't ask).

Sam reckons that Tiffany has enough about her to take on a full show by herself, probably authored. What's fantastic, Sam babbles, is that "Tiff" self funded her way through university by working as a pole dancer (upsetting a lot of dons along the way), and still managed to get the highest First (in both practical and dissertation) that anyone had seen in 13 years.

I'm used to hearing this kind of PR crap constantly (Channel Controllers face a daily deluge of wild and exaggerated claims from desperate folk), but when Sam mentioned that Tiffany was born a man I suddenly perked up and stopped doodling on my Blackberry.

She said I already had her pic so I quickly scrawled through my inbox to find it.

Okay, fair enough. She's no oil painting. But that's not the point. Perhaps there is something in this that goes a lot fucking further than that lazy reality show Brighter Pictures did a few years back.

I tell Sam I'll have a think and get back to her.

I'm not ashamed to admit that I had a raging erection for the rest of the day...

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Fuck Drama

Fifi emailed tonight to say that she was 'quite happy' with my first commissioning document - about time I got some bloody praise from that woman!

However, she did mention that I had completely failed to talk about Drama, and that Julie Gardner wasn't very happy (who the fuck is she?)

The way I see it, right now Channel 4 are miles ahead when it comes to making itchy drama that connects to My Audience. Skins has really done the fucking business for E4 (I should know that...) so I thought I would concentrate on more pressing areas for the time being. Besides, if you look at my demographic, they don't watch the kind of expensive tripe that comes out of Gardner's department anyway.

To cover my back, I emailed Fifi on the Blackberry saying I would take care of it. But to be honest, I know - and she had better learn quickly - that I FUCKING wear the trousers around here when it comes to My Channel.

Stick that where Eastenders Revealed doesn't fucking shine Fifi!

My memo causes a stir

My memo has had the desired effect. I can see the buzz spread around the open plan office as people open their emails and start reading.

Richard Klein is the first to email me back:
What exactly do you mean by 're-inventing factual for people who don't want to watch factual?' Rx
Jesus, and I thought he was the bright maverick in the team? Do I have to spell this out for him V-E-R-Y ...S-L-O-W-L-Y...?

When I say 'factual for people who don't want to watch factual' I mean we need to be
less obvious about the factual content of our factual shows. Think more about hybrids eg. factual which collides with entertainment. But, crucially, these are NOT 'factual entertainment'. I'd prefer to call it Fact-lite or Entertaining Factual. So, to be clear, I'd like you to think about more stealth factual shows - which are clearly factual in tone, but Fact-lite in content, and therefore less demanding on the viewer than the current heavy factual output.

Could you russle up a few ideas for me to look at by the end of the week?

BTW, great work on
Coast- one of my favourite shows of last year.

Warm regards,
I can only hope that this has clarified things for him. Poor bloke, must be under a lot of stress.

I Outline My Channel Vision

TO: All Commissioning; All Supply Chain; All Regional(UK); All Development; All Executive PAs; All Senior Management; Key Independent Suppliers
BCC: Mark Thompson


Since joining the Corporation, I've been thinking of ways to best get across what kind of programmes I want on My Channel.

On the one hand, there are the lurid, reactive, shockumentaries that have always done well for us in the post peak slots. Then there is the home-grown raft of comedies which seem to be slow burning their way to some sort of mainstream success. We only have to look at Little Britain to know we can punch through and deliver to much wider audiences, given time and some TLC.

But there has to be something else. I need something more.

Yes, we've hads lots of great success recently with shows like The Real Hustle, The Baby Borrowers, Mischief and F**k Off I'm... strands - and not forgetting Rob Brydon's Annually Retentive. But where are the new Rob Brydons? The new Little Britains? The new noisy, punch-through formats?

Where should we take The Channel next?

One of the things that I want you to think about are programmes that reach the parts that other programmes cannot reach. It's what I call The Heineken Effect.

Our audience are intelligent, urban, contemporary, and above all else, young. And we always have to refect that. But they are also bored by modern media so we need to be catering for their needs. Ask yourself this: what programmes do the Myspace generation want to watch?

I have recently started a Myspace page to try and communicate directly with this key demographic. We really shouldn't be afraid of this - it is up to us as programme makers to embrace this exciting new frontier, however challenging or scary we might find it at first.

One area that I really want you to concentrate on is itchy reality formats for 9pm. These are the shows that exist outside of our comfort zone, no matter how sophisticated we feel we are. This doesn't mean I want the obvious - our audience isn't stupid. I want you to be clever and play around with the form.

Just like The Autopsy and Space Cadets did for Channel 4, I'm looking for my own way of reinventing Factual for people who don't want to watch factual.

Remember: Think Bold. Be Big. And be Brave.

My team are looking forward to hearing from you.

Warm regards,

Saturday, 26 May 2007

Out of the Office (with nothing to do)

Couldn't really sleep. Still buzzing about giving the go-ahead to Salopes Anglaises. Even though the factual format market is heavily saturated at the moment this could be a very interesting way into historical Paris seen through the eyes of bad girls on a binge drinking vomit-thon.

Anyway, I know that it's a Bank Holiday (which I fucking hate) so got up in the middle of the night to go and play with my Blackberry.

I had seven new messages, but the one I scrolled down to first was from Kevin. I took a deep breath and hit 'open'. It read:

Out of Office AutoReply: What's all the fuss about?

Many thanks for your email. Kevin Lygo is now out of the country at the LA Screenings. He will be back in the office on Tuesday 29th May.

For anything urgent please contact Helen Pickett at or 077*3 321 ***.
Out of the fucking country??? What, when you've got an Ofcom crisis to deal with?! Ridiculous. It would never be like this if I were Director of Television.

I went to my fridge and poured myself a glass of organic semi-skimmed milk. "Cheers Kevin!"

In about two years his job will be mine. And he fucking-well knows it.

Friday, 25 May 2007

My first new commission

Just before lunch, I decided I needed some 'me time' to re-energise from this CBB fiasco. So I instructed my driver to take me to Green Park. Once upon a time this was where I came to pick myself up after the occasional hiccup at Horseferry Road. I paid £1.50 for a deckchair, sat down, soaked up the sun and thought to myself: "Do it. Show 'em who's boss."

Belief, belief, fucking belief. That's all I need. It has served me well before, and by god, it will serve me fucking well here too.

After all, you don't get to the lofty heights of the Youngest Channel Controller in the History of British Television™ if you let the odd Ofcom report get in your way.

Refreshed, I rocked back up at TVC at 3pm with fresh determination.

No doubt to Hincksy's surprise (a canny move, even if I do say so myself) I rang him at Elstree where he is busying himself with, yes, irony of ironies - BB8!

I didn't mince my words: "Hincksy, you've got the greenlight mate on Salopes Anglaises: the first ever bourgeoisie period history ASBO reality format."

He squeeled with delight and I could hear someone in the background getting a 'high five' - good man.

Didn't tell him that Martin Davidson has expressed doubts about how 'authentic' we can make it, but at this stage that's the least of my worries. It is edgy and noisy and different - exactly the territory My Channel should be occupying. I know there's lots of question marks hanging over the precise format but nothing we can't iron out in pre-production. Called a few people to let them know the good news.

Enough 'chit-chat', it's time to fucking rock n' roll.


Staff are avoiding making eye contact with me this morning. It's like the way people are when someone has died and don't know what to say or how to act. For Christ sake - everyone (please!) get a grip!! I-WAS-NOT-TO-BLAME!

Text from James Herring: "Don't worry, I'm on top of this"

(Thank God I've got someone like him to manage my brand!)

I texted back to ask whether it was worth me going on the counter attack? I'm a fucking Channel Controller now - these malicious rumours could affect my career! I tell Herring I feel a bit hung out to dry; the sacrificial lamb, so to speak, especially now I've left the Channel.

Text from Michaela: "People are saying Kevin gave you the push...R U ok sweetie? Mxx"


Text from Hincksy: "Sorry"


Still no email back from Kevin. It's been 4 hours.

Celebrity Big Brother comes back to haunt me...

SUBJECT: What's all the fuss about?

Dear Kevin,

Sorry to hear about this Ofcom report, and I hope it hasn't caused you too much grief. They clearly do not understand the types of complex issues you and I face (on a daily basis) running hugely successful cutting-edge television brands in a highly competitive commercial marketplace.

But what concerns me more – and this is the whole reason why I am writing – are Andy Duncan’s frankly unfounded comments in the press that seem to suggest that I was somehow at fault for the ‘serious editorial misjudgements’? Could you please talk to him and explain some of the finer points of what happened? I would greatly appreciate it.

Does he really believe that I did not act with ‘necessary promptness and strength’??

As I fully explained to you at the time (and in my
Guardian piece which was very well received, by the way) my editorial decisions were in full accordance with Channel 4’s long tradition of not shying away from uncomfortable truths. Both Angela, Nav (of Indian parentage) and I (of Jewish ancestry) felt the behaviour of Jade et al was neither overtly offensive nor serious enough to intervene. I still stand by this.

[BTW did Andy not see the 16-24s spike?! Viewing figures went thermonuclear- I single handedly rescued the BB franchise from its ratings slump, and this is the thanks I get?]

Despite any 'criticism' over this whole affair, I remain absolutely committed to the core values of public service broadcasting – and we must never be afraid of opening up a window on a world that does not always make for pleasant or comfortable viewing.

It is our duty as programme makers.

Warm regards,

PS - As you can well imagine this furore has not gone down well with my new employers (who thought this whole matter had been put to bed long ago...) so any help you could give to rein in Andy would help tremendously - thanks!

Thursday, 24 May 2007

What Does Your Phone Say About You?

It's my first weekly Controller meeting, a chance to really impress. Here they all are: Peter, Roly and George with Fifi in attendance. There's also a Head of Interactive, three Scheduling Executives and all the PAs. We're in a plush, circular pod on the 6th floor (so here's where my Mum's licence fee gets spent then...)

After the formal office updates from each controller, the attention turns to me. I get some quizzical glances from Peter when I reveal that My Channel will no longer be the home for his Eastenders offshoots or Doctor Who catchups. No, we will succeed or fail on the strength of our original output, aimed at breaking new ground and appealing to the Myspace generation. I throw in a line about wanting to make factual shows for people who don't like factual. Roly smiles. George just looks confused. I feel like I'm on a roll, so...

I decide to make a clever point about channel image by playing an old favourite brainstorming game called What Does Your Phone Say About You?

I get everyone to drop their mobiles into the middle of the desk and we try to match up people according to their handset. Cue hilarious mistakes and joviality all round. My point, however, is deadly serious. Peter's channel is cash rich and deep within the fabric of our nation. But his phone is crap (an ancient Nokia circa pre-picture messaging). So, as a result, we all judge him accordingly. This is exactly how the viewers think, I explain, when they are deciding what to watch. Is this channel cool? Do I want to be seen with this channel in public? Do my friends envy me for watching this channel?

Not only was I able to bring a bit of life into the stale drone-fest meeting but we all had a good laugh at Peter's expense. I could tell Fifi was impressed.

[Just for the record I own a shit hot new Sony Erickson 880i, the size of a postage stamp, and what it says about me is that I'm fucking in touch with the kids]

Bring Me the Head of Stephen Lambert

Lambert is really starting to get on my tits.

I've been looking through the paperwork detailing the output deal he negotiated with My Channel (under the previous 'caretaker manager'), and it clearly states: 'Stephen Lambert agrees to Exec all projects'. But is he around on the phone when you need to speak to him? Is he fuck. I checked the diary and the last time he popped his pink cotton socks into the building was nearly 5 fucking months ago.... yet I hear from Anthony that Peter had dinner with him just last week quelle surprise...

He's never fucking around. You go looking for some RDF magic and instead you find Grant Mansfield holding the Kensington Village fort. It's a bit like wanting to talk business with Brown and instead being offered half an hour with John fucking Prescott. What, are our humble £110k budgets too good for you now, Stephen?

At this very moment in time, he's probably poncing around the French Riviera (with his briefcase) on a 60ft yacht or giving foot massages to Andrea Wong in la-la land.

What monster did I help create? I knew we shouldn't have commissioned the 13th series of Wife Swap...

Look at the shit I get pitched

There was one important detail I left out of my Commissioning Crisis memo which might help explain the situation we now find ourselves in: ALL THE IDEAS I GET PITCHED ARE SHIT!

This morning, some (no-doubt) aspiring researcher in-house at BBC Scotland had the temerity to actually email me this directly:

"Hi TVC - I just wanted to let you know of something really mental that's going to be happening up our way in Durness this summer. I reckon we could make a really interesting, quirky one-off about how this is going to come together. I know the man behind it personally and he has Michael Eavis-like ambitions up here. In fact, I've already shot a taster tape with him and his wife on his farm talking about the event. He is John Lennon-mad! I'd love to send you the tape."

He or she (I didn't even bother to check their name) included this link in the email to, in their words, "help illustrate the story".

Christ, this is what I cannot stand about working for the Corporation. The idea that some kid in bloody Glasgow not only has the ability to email me direct without having to go through the proper channels, but that they are probably encouraged to do so by their bosses (naively thinking that we're 'All One').

Well, Scotland producers, we're most certainly fucking not. You do your job and I'll get on here in London and fucking do mine. And if this is really the best you can give me, forget it. It might pass for something on the news website, but it doesn't justify me having to waste five seconds of my life writing you a fucking pretend-polite email back.

God, I hate the "regional" people.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Meet my Development lackies

It's been quite a while since I actually had my own development staff so you can imagive how delighted I was to find out there is a small team of development researchers plugged in to all things 'Channel Youth', slaving away 24/7 to work up ideas exclusively for me.

How exciting!

At Horseferry Road, I could never get away with this from fear of upsetting indies and the PACT police. But, thankfully, here at the Corporation they make their own rules - so fuck PACT!

I got introduced to my creative lackies first thing this morning. There are three of them. First up is McDonald (yes, he prefers to go by his surname for some inane reason, don't fucking ask me why) who sports a ginger goatee, wears a baseball cap (even at his desk) and spends a lot of his time with little white earphones on, whilst concentrating furiously at his desktop. Ben Gale tells me that he's been responsible for getting most of the Fuck Off I'm... films off the ground. If that is indeed the case, then McDonald is going to be told to Fuck Off and get his P45 very fucking soon.

Then there is Jo (a foxy brunette) who I'm told recently joined from Endemol. I'll give Hincksy a call to get the lowdown on her. She doesn't seem particularly impressed when I sit down next to her at her desk for a chit chat. But I do like the fact that she wears sexy fishnets. Always a bonus for any office.

Finally, I meet Stevie, who comes across as the silent type. He's northern and I am told that Richard Klein rates him because he has a "very anti-PC approach to popular factual." Mmmm. We shall see...

Must admit, I really *hate* inheriting staff, especially creatives. Their minds are way too attuned to the previous incumbent, so I'll have to beat that out of them very fucking sharpish. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

What Commissioning Crisis!?

TO: Key Independent Suppliers; All Commissioning; All Supply Chain; All Regional(UK); All Corporation Development; All Executive PAs
BCC: Mark Thompson


You may have recently read in 'Broadcast' that the Corporation is supposedly going through a commissioning 'crisis'. I would just like to reassure you all that here at the Youth Channel we are still open for business as usual.

Yes, we are in the middle of re-positioning our strategy for 2008/9 - and I know this has had a knock-on effect for some of you - but I would like to add that we remain absolutely committed to finding bold and original ideas that take the Channel forward.

In the next few days I will be issuing a briefing document that, hopefully, will give a clear outline of my pressing content needs for the next quarter. I will also be visiting many of you personally, to meet your development teams and to get to know the 'people behind the programmes'. Anthony, my assistant, will be in touch very soon to arrange this.

These are exciting times. Together, I hope we all can play an important role in shaping the creative future of the Youth Channel.

Warm Regards,

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Is Sebastian Scott secretly straight?

... The only reason I ask is that he just popped his head round my office door wearing the kind of jacket, jeans and tan combo reserved only for super wealthy Greek yacht owners. Oh-boy-oh-boy-oh-boy! I love spending time with successful people like Seb- be they gay, straight, or whatever. The aftershave of success oozed from his every pore like a semi-naked poledancer.

So, we chatted for ten minutes over a skinny latte (mine was iced).

He asked if his team could come in and pitch me a few 'itchy' reality projects they had been brainstorming. I was impressed (and flattered) by the speed of his response to my new buzzword de jour, so I jumped in and said: "Let's do breakfast at the Wolseley next Thursday?"

Seb responded: "OK.... but sadly Henrietta might not be able to make it, as she's still knee deep in dealing with the Matthew Wright situation at Five (this sounded serious) but I'll bring Dave Gravy along instead." He said this smugly, implying somehow that meeting Dave Gravy was definitely a Very Good Thing to do, although I couldn't fathom why.

"Gravy who?"

Panic flashed across his eyes.

I've seen this haunted look before. This is often the case when bosses suddenly discover that their bullshitting Execs don't know me as well as they pretended to.

"Gravy. Dave. 'Scouser Dave'. You know, the brains behind Faking It and Perfect Match...?"

This did ring a distant bell. I remember Charlotte once warning me about someone called Dave who apparently was the 'laziest cunt in the history of television'. His last three films were practically made by his AP whilst he 'worked from home' on side projects designed to make him rich.

As if I need another TV cunt to have to deal with.....

Monday, 21 May 2007

Bad lunch at The Electric

Finally had my lunch at The Electic with Fifi - seven fucking days too late but there we go. I wore a simple grey V-neck jumper from Zara, white cotton t-shirt, and black casual Jaeger trousers. She turned up in something that would make Ruth Badger proud: primary colour blouse, power suit, stiff haircut and efficient workman like boots.

Tagging along is Juliet, Fifi's 'trusted' Executive PA. God knows who she talks to.....better watch what I say.

Fifi didn't waste any time raising the issue of my decision to axe Julian's output for 2008/9. It had clearly 'ruffled lots of feathers'. Aggressively, she said that she didn't know how I did these things over at Horseferry Road but The Corporation had well-defined protocols, meetings to attend and people to consult (etc).

I told her that I totally understood, but that I felt it was important to turn over a new leaf, and (I reminded her) when I was headhunted she had explicitly asked me to come in and take the Youth Channel to 'the next level'. That's all that I've tried to do.

Fifi jumped back in, spitting out a Sea Bass bone, saying that she totally loved my spirit and ambition, "But you have to remember, as far as Mark and I are concerned the Channel is going in the right direction. Julian has done a fantasic job and we're hitting all our targets. The Charter renewal demonstrates that."

[Did I hear correctly? 'Fantastic job' ?! This conversation was not going well...]

As I picked at my Crumbed Pollock with Sauce Gribiche, Fifi then said: "I must also mention that I had to take a very concerned call from Kevin saying that he'd heard you were in talks with Objective about poaching Derren Brown. Is this true?"

I denied everything (obviously).

Shit, this was getting a bit heavy. Fifi mentioned the dreaded 'breach of contract' and then went on to add that someone like Derren was a bit too "way out there" for us.

Fuck, this was not the kind of chit-chat I was expecting at all. I'm a fucking Channel Controller for fuck's sake!!

Surely this is what I am paid to do??!!!

Bertie dropped by

I was in the middle of having to catch up with another episode of the dreadful fucking 'shitcom' Gavin and Stacey (Christ, how many did Julian commission?) when Bertie - totally unannounced - popped his head into my office.

He looked nice and tanned; a bronze beauty if ever I saw one (for a man, that is). I greated him like a long lost puppy. Bertie, remember, is one fuck of an important player.

He said that he was in the cutting room "fixing" a three-parter for Martin Davidson, due to air on BBC4 next month. "You really, really, REALLY don't want to know ANYTHING about this one," he said with a big fucking smile on his arrogant, yet convincingly assured, sunburnt face.

I mentioned that I'd really like to sit down with him and go through a few ideas that I had kicking about, but, as expected, this wasn't going to be Bertie's bag: "Call me in six months when you REALLY need some bloody help! I'm done with troubleshooting shit before it hits the fan. Besides, I'm not really convinced that you could afford me! I read Broadcast just like everybody else does. Tough times already, eh?"

And that was it. Off he minced, back to his fucking basement edit to go and win some more fucking Baftas no doubt.

Fuck you Bertie.

Madeleine: too much even for me

It's just gone 8.30am and I've picked up an email from Michaela, with 'Madeleine' in the subject line. Following on from her aborted and frankly amateur attempt at securing access to the McDonalds Murder a few weeks back (I see Todd Austin now has this on his One Life slate), I wasn't expecting much.

But what I read made my stomach churn. After all we've been through she has seriously misjudged what I'm looking for - and more importantly, what my viewers want.

Here's the email in full: wrote at 08.11:

This whole dissapearing girl in Portugal story has completely grabbed everyone by their heartstrings. It feels to me like another watershed moment in the way we mourn - a bit like Diana.

It's every parent's worst nightmare. You're on holiday. Abroad. Can't speak the language, and don't know the local laws and customs. And then the unthinkable happens. Your child vanishes. Neither you nor me could fully comprehend the horror of what this must feel like...

I'd like to make a really poignant, heartfelt film about the agony - as parents - we must go through when this happens. Imagine it - your child goes missing, presumed dead. (Do you think it would help if I could get access to previous stories of child murders abroad? In fact shall we call it Child Murders Abroad?)
I could even get an approach in to Madeleine's Dad who I understand is back from Portugal, albeit for one day.

Robert Boner is coming off '7/7: The Nurse's Story' for ITV and I think he's perfect for this.

Can we talk?

Love as always,

PS - Aaron's shock doc about daughters who have sexual feelings for their Dads is on Sky One next Wed at 9pm. Don't miss!! x

Jesus. What is this woman thinking? Maybe she's deluded and assumes I've turned into Jeremy fucking Kyle? For one thing, she is completely missing what demographic My Channel is aimed at, and another thing she's got me totally wrong. Yes, I Iike stories from the heart, but no, I don't want to be seen to capitalise on grief in such an obvious manner. As a Channel Controller I have high fucking standards.

I am personally offended, if not a little sickened, that she thought I'd appreciate this blatant attempt to cash in on one family's personal tragedy. Who does she think I am? Trevor-fucking -Tonight-McDonald?

This woman is quite clearly 'off message'.

I replied: wrote at 08.22:

Hi M,
Thanks for this.
This sounds very interesting but I don't think it's for me.
Warm Regards,
PS. Talk to Anthony and we'll get something in the diary soon

I'm worried Michaela has lost her magic touch. This is terrible timing.

I'm relying on her to deliver some new hit formats for My Channel.... so why-oh-why is she going down this road with me?

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Offered a line

Sorry, but it's been bugging me ever since I got home and started watching the evening back on Skyplus:

About half-way through my night of BAFTA hell I went to the loo, and was accosted by a very, very very high-ranking ITV drama executive. What really got me was that he made absolutely no pretense about it: he wanted me to "do a line" with him "for old times sake". And he said all of this with Ant from 'Ant and Dec' in earshot (he was in the middle of a spectacularly long piss at the time).

I will state quite clearly now for the record that I have NEVER EVER indulged in illegal drugs in my lifetime, and just because I'm a high powered TV Controller doesn't mean I plan on starting now.

The Exec in question ought to know that I have marked his card accordingly.

My BAFTA night of hell

Rocked up at the Palladium to take my rightful place alongside the top of the television elite. I looked dapper in my Hugo Boss tux and crisp white Armani shirt. All started well as I mingled over canapes with Surallen, Gordon, Simm, Ann Marie Duff (phwoar) and a host of other A-listers. Then I made my way to where Surallen was sitting, assuming this was where I would be for the night - The Apprentice row, the biggest show of the year, surrounded on all sides by top brass (including Thomo). The place to be seen.

But no. Fifi took me aside by the arm and said in hushed tones, as if to save me from further embarrassment: "You're on the Pulling row. It's our only nominee for the youth channel... would look terrible if you weren't seen to be supporting it."

Supporting it? I haven't even fucking seen it?!

So I was sent to look for row 186. ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY FUCKING SIX! I didn't even think there were that many rows in here....Passed Row Dragons Den... Row Green Wing. Even had to fucking pass the Dancing On Ice production team until eventually I found the Silver River people, about as far away from the fucking stage as you could possibly get.

And this is where I stayed for the night. I could see Derren Brown thirty two rows in front but, to be honest, I had lost the heart to make any approach. I was squeezed next to Felicity (the posh producer) and Tristram (the posh director) and made idle small talk about the "brilliance" of sitcoms and how "we simply don't have enough of them these days on TV" (too many for my fucking liking).

After The Royle Family had won (God, is that northern shit still going?), Daisy leant across and quizzed me on my enormously well paid new job (whilst stroking her hair flirtatiously), and I made some terribly witty comments about the Pat Llewellyn and Gordon Ramsey rumours.

I was stunned by the number of namechecks Richard Klein received (even Ben-fucking-Gale got a mention) and I made a mental note to bring Klein down a peg or two...

At the end of the evening Kevin Lygo said hello which was nice of him (but I think it was accidental as he was trying to find his way to the loo).

What a fucking weekend I've had...

Salopes Anglaises

Today, as I normally do every Sunday, I bought the following papers:

The Observer (for the media/business section)
The News of the World (for any new Mazher Mahmood immigration scoops)
The Mirror (for anything the Screws missed out on)
The Mail on Sunday (so I could catch up on the Liz Jones saga latest)
The Times (for their literary review section and overall authority on news events)

Also, flicked through The Sunday Express (too embarrassed to buy it) and spotted an intriguing feature following a raucous British hen party causing 'Eurotrash' havoc in Paris - sort of an 'up-yours-we're-slags-and-we're-proud-of-it' piece (the accompanying pictures were incredible!)

It got me thinking about translating this notion to a series (call it Salopes Anglaise) where we take a gang of British slags and transport them to the high society world of 1915 Paris to see how they get on. Has anyone done an accessible Bourgeoisie period-based class swap format before? I may be on to something new here; the first history/ASBO hybrid format.

Called and left a message on Martin Davidson's home number asking him to get his team on it A-S-A-fucking-P monday morning.

Then called my old pal Tim Hincks and told him if he could get a proposal in quickly I'd be able to claim 'Tim must have also read the same article' and the gig would be his.

I spent the rest of the afternoon getting my tuxedo ready for the BAFTAs.....

Saturday, 19 May 2007

My FA Cup Final hell

Just got back from the 'New Wembley' which was a bit wasted on me having never been to the 'Old Wembley'. (I don't even like football).

Yesterday I had foolishly accepted an invite to attend the FA Cup final thinking it would be a great opportunity to get close to the likes of Thompson and the rest of the top brass for quality out-of-hours chit-chat. I fondly remember the great corporate awaydays at Cheltenham Races when I could work the marquee, and have quiet one-to-ones with Kevin, Janey and Peter Dale over a glass of champagne (I'm sure it was one of these shindigs that helped land me Head of Docs).

So what better way (I thought to myself) than to spend a whole afternoon with 'Thomo', the most powerful man in broadcasting. I'm sure he'd be keen to hear my first impressions of the Corporation.

On arrival at the stadium I was escorted into a huge Executive suite which to my horror-of-horrors was filled with children with faces painted red & blue. I instantly recognised the woman from the 2nd floor Costa Coffee at TVC. I tried to avert eye contact but it was too late. She shuffled over (with kids and husband in tow) and said without any trace of irony: "Isn't it great to get perks like this at the Corporation? Are you here alone or were you able to bring your family?"

Holy crap what have I let myself in for? I scanned the room. Where's Fifi? Where's Thomo? Surely I can't be in the right place?

Unwittingly, I discovered, I had accepted an invitation to join the 'One Corporation One Family One For All' annual FA Cup treat for the lackies. Over one hundred lucky employees - secretaries, IT, admin, cleaners - had won a day out for themselves and their nearest and dearest. There was NO top brass. NO Mark Thompson. Not even Alan Yentob.

What the fuck am I doing here? Why hadn't Anthony fucking flagged this up when the email came round yesterday??? What kind of PA is he?? He should be shielding me from this kind of shit.

Someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned and it was Jay Hunt, the Controller of Daytime. She whispered: "Great to see you here supporting this, well done. It won't go unnoticed. Oh, and make sure Katie the photographer from 'Ariel' sees that you're here...." (She then gave me a nice squeeze on the arm. Love her.)

An hour later I found myself sandwiched between Bob, a 58 year old VT technician from Borehamwood and Sandy from 'Studio Dispatch' (whatever that means), for 90 excruciating minutes, plus something called 'extra time'.

Holy crap, as if it couldn't get any worse I spotted Thomo on the big screen during a replay. No, he wasn't in the 'One Corporation One Family One For All' suite, he was sitting one row behind Prince William in the VIP area.

So, there we have it. Six and a half precious fucking hours of my life completely wasted for one picture in 'Ariel' of me surrounded by kids holding balloons....

Friday, 18 May 2007


Still getting to grips with the place. It's immense. And to think that the likes of Forsyth and Lineker have traipsed the same (featureless) hallways as me, is quite surreal. It reminds me of my old Oxford halls of residence.

Had an unpleasant experience today on the way to the creative nerve centre on the 6th floor when I accidentally got off the lift on the wrong floor. I tried cutting through, hoping to meet up with the stairs on the other side, but had to take a detour to avoid some building works and, well, after trying to follow signs to B4205 - B4255 I was well and truly lost. And that's when it happened..... I rounded a corner and discovered a huge furniture graveyard stretching out before me; old relic swivel chairs, desks circa 1983 and IBM computer monitors piled up across an entire floor and left to rot. The dust layer was probably half and inch thick.

Whipped out my corporate Blackberry to send Anthony an email: "URGENT: Help! Fucking lost in furniture graveyard floor in TVC..." Five minutes later he found me and escorted me back upstairs to the safety of my office. I was physically shaking. He chuckled to himself (chuckled to himself would you fucking believe it!) and said I wasn't the first...

Quick as a flash I spat: "I wasn't lost (you little shit) I was just exploring."

Hideously Brown

Note to self: there seem to be an awful lot of successful middle class Asian women working in the Corporation.

Did Dyke get it wrong?

I think we need a new initiative to help the careers of white working class males who find their progress being blocked by this brown bias. Clearly, something is going on.

Have decided to dust off a few old diversity schemes and, perhaps, hire a Diversity Über Chief who can come in and sack a few Asians... start appealing to a wider workforce... correct the Corporation's inbalance...that sort of thing.

As Aaqil once told me, there's nothing like a multicultural debate to appease the downtrodden and generate some 'heat' in the press. It would be tremendously useful if my staff think I care about their shitty inconsequential careers and this new 'Brown Task Force' may be the ticket to boost my popularity internally.

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Blue Peter sacking scandal

Richard Marson, Blue Peter's dedicated footsoldier, fell on his sword today; which an insider (ie me) leaked to the press as "not entirely coincidental".

My official 'Meet and Greet the New Channel Controller' was cancelled as a result, with the top brass rushing around all day like headless bloody chickens.

Outrageous. Is this how the Corporation deals with a crisis? Haven't they learnt a fucking thing post-Hutton?




Take Celebrity Big Brother for example. It's a masterclass - if I don't say so myself - in avoiding the shit that's flying around. Quote some Virginia Woolf in a respected publication, big up your public service credentials and DENY DENY DE-FUCKING-NY any involvement whatsoever in making what other people consider to be catastrophic errors of judgement. Racism? Purleeeese. If Nav (of Indian parentage remember) thinks it's OK - then that's fine by me.

But here at the Corporation it's a completely different story. I'm very worried at the way Fifi has hung the Editor out to dry rather than go on the attack and defend his position. Sounds to me like a junior researcher fucked up anyhow, so it's staggering to me why they'd rather axe the Editor than a media graduate on £200 a week.

Let this be a lesson to me. I'm about to push the boundaries in the multi-channel TV landscape so I had better watch my back. There's bound to be some fallout from the Bold, Brave, Edgy programme strategy I'm planning to push through...

Why is Steve Gowans more popular than me?


How come Steve-Acting-All-Serious-With-His-Arms-Folded-Like-A-Twat-Gowans, a mere commissioning editor, has forty seven friends on myspace?

I only have one.

I've been 'live' for over an hour and nothing much is happening. The one bloke who is my 'friend' is called Tom. Everyone (I am told) gets Tom as their friend. He's like the annoying clingy kid at school who attached themselves to the popular people. Well I don't need or want Tom. This will not do.

I have asked Anthony (I'm realising that gay PAs do have their uses) to plug into his Gaydar network and get them to all link to my site. By the amount of time he spends on the phone, I reckon this could very well be the entire northwest region of London.

(Obviously when I say 'asked' I mean 'ordered')

Mischief... my arse!

This bloody strand of edgy films (yeah right) that I seem to have inherited is fast becoming ridiculous.

Just four days into the job, and I've had to attend a viewing today on the insistance of Jady, who has been responsible for looking after this latest batch of, quite frankly, squalid, seedy and above all else predictable flop docs.

According to Fifi, she's had a massive clash with the executive producer, but because its RDF I've been told we cannot risk further problems between Jady and the EP so I've been instructed to come in and make peace.

The film is really dowdy. It isn't in any way, shape or form aspirational. But nor is it shocking in a I-really-need-to-find-out-which-ugly-munter-she-convinces-to-shag-in-the-end kind of way. It's just a piece of shit: badly filmed, badly produced, and quite obviously badly exec'd.

I reassure the heavily pregnant - yet surprisingly sexy - EP that she has nothing to worry about. I tell her that Jady (from what I've been informed anyway) has been under some super-heavy stress of late with other projects and that, with a few minor tweaks, the film will get signed off without any further problems. Besides, I confess to her, Jady is still "new to the job", having only recently joined the Corporation from Manchester.

To cover myself, of course, I tell the EP that whilst they've done "an absolutely superb" job with what clearly was "tricky access", I reckon this might be the final film of this kind for My Channel. At this point the EP suddenly looks up very much aghast (I can just tell) and says that they have "at least" 3 more films like this in paid development, verbally commissioned by Julian and Jady only 6 weeks back.

I just nod a bit, look down at my fly, and make a mental note to have Jady fired at the earliest opportunity. I really can't be having her type looking after My Commissions. How she wangled a staff job here in the first place is beyond even me.

Perhaps she's a lesbian and let Fifi shag her one time too many...?

[Legal disclaimer: My views are entirely my own and not intended to insinuate that my boss is -or ever has been- a rampant carpet muncher]

Steve Gowans is a fucking copycat

Michaela has just emailed saying that Steve Gowans (who I absolutely know is gagging for the head of programmes job despite official denials) has gone and got a myspace page.

Fucking copycat. I went out on a limb to communicate directly with my viewers via my blog, now everyone is at it and he thinks being all 'cool' and 'trendy' on myspace is going to cut the mustard with Lisa Opie (has she even used the internet??)

Well anything he can do.... just got Anthony to quickly assemble something on there for me:

Big Gay Fat Men in TV

Simon Arkwright III is a big gay fat man. Some would say infact the biggest, gayest, fattest man in television. There's nothing in the world of cheap entertainment he doesn't know. In fact, he's the kind of big fat man my parents warned me about when I told them I'd got a job as a researcher in television. Tele-what?! My poor old father exclaimed. You must be off your rocker boy. That kind of work is full of seedy old men; fat old men. Bloated, gay, fat men! Why don't you do something respectable like law? You could be an academic, so why-oh-why would you choose TV?

Even when I was heading up Factual at C4, Simon was constantly harrassing my PA to come and pitch me. I'll give him something though; he knows how to pick gorgeous Oxbridge graduate development researchers. It certainly makes for a pleasant diversion when you're sitting through yet another fucking stealth list show idea.

So, I notice, Simon the Third has put in a THREE-FUCKING-HOUR brainstorm with myself, Lucy and Ben Gale for the 4th June. Can't see how I can wriggle out of this one.

Perhaps I could take a leaf out of Higson's book over at C4, the professional northerner. He's recently perfected the WAP approach to creative meetings: Walking And Pitching. Very lazy, really, because half the time is spent dodging traffic and crossing roads on the way to your destination (in his case, the Thames), and making idle chit-chat about what to do with the output of his department; and the rest of the time is spent feeding fucking ducks and saying things like 'keeping it organic and real' and wanting your shows to be 'human'.

If this was maths, the sum would be:

1/3 small talk
1/3 commissioning editor bollocks-speak
1/3 walking
+ bread to feed ducks
= a successful meeting

Have asked my PA to see if there's a pond in close proximity to White City.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Dead people react quicker than the Corporation...

Fifi called me at home, she's only just got back to me now about the email I sent last night - almost twenty four hours later!

She spent the day interrogating some poor Blue Peter Editor about the phone-in scandal and was on strict orders ‘not to be disturbed’. So it seems me cancelling my entire-fucking-commissioning output for 2008/9 is somehow deemed less fucking important than a few kids being short of pocket money this month?! Very worrying.

I’m not used to this heavy, formal management style one bit. She asked me to ‘justify my position’ (Hello? I didn’t join this god forsaken dinosaur of an organisation to be told what I can and cannot do with My Channel). Then, when she realised my mind would not be changed, she started talking about the programmes I've nuked to kingdom come as a ‘crucial cog’ in the Corporation’s ‘joined-up thinking’ for 2008. Crikey, twenty more minutes of this and I wanted to shove my Supernanny Rose D’Or up her crack...

She's booked me in for an hour's 'chat' first thing (ie: lecture me on how to do my job). I will hold firm and not be bullied.

As planned, my first two days in office have certainly spiced things up. There was no word all day from Klein and his cronies. I think they’re in a state of shock.

Should make my official 'Meet & Greet the New Channel Controller' soirée tomorrow very interesting.....

Is My Office Big Enough?

Some quick early observations of the 6th floor office:

1. Too many men. It wasn't like this at Horseferry Road. To this day, I'm still not sure this was deliberate, but I reckon the ratio of girls to men was at least 5/1. Here, it already feels like 2/6. Obviously, I'm not sexist, but I do feel that women just get tv a lot more easily than men.

Which leads me on to...

2. Sorry, but has anyone every heard of having a male PA?? I'm very suspicious of this Anthony. He comes across as super bright and, I admit, very efficient (so far) but if he's so damn good at his job then why is he seemingly content with being paid £15K to work as my dogsbody?? Surely he must have some real ambition. And quite frankly, that is an early worry for me; he'll be privy to a lot of delicate information. Not sure at this stage how to deal with this one.

But on the up side...

3. Nice to have an office of my own [again]. Julian's going to be hating the 2nd floor at Horseferry Road if he was used to this set up! I've got my own proper space, of 16foot by 24foot (I know this because I had one of the black maintenance guys tape measure the dimensions for me earlier). Of course, it feels very media bland right now, and is missing the personal touches (I'll bring in my Supernanny poster tomorrow) but thank fuck I've got a place to breathe, to plot, to think and to woo away from the plods on the factory floor.

Glad the Corporation didn't go all PC like Channel 4 did 18 months ago and force all the execs into open-plan office hell.

Derren Brown I'm coming to get you

Right, I've decided that the one bit of talent that I'm going to poach from my old paymasters is Derren Brown. He is ripe for a move over to the Corporation and, more importantly, to My Channel.

If I do it correctly, the move will send all the right kind of noisy shockwaves through the industry, and perhaps beyond. I don't want to fuck around on this one - I need to do it quickly and super smoothly. I want the deal to signal to everyone - especially my old colleagues at Channel 4 - that I mean fucking business and that I'm not afraid to use my power and influence.

First thing today I'll get my PA Anthony to put a high-profile call straight into Andrew O'Connor requesting a meeting A-S-A-fucking-P. I've dealt with Derren quite a bit before, but to be honest that was on small-fry stuff compared to what I'm thinking about. I'll really roll the red carpet out, make him feel 10 foot fucking tall, and stress to him that this is his chance (once in a fucking lifetime chance I hasten to add) to stop pissing about on Friday nights being watched by drunk students and single women. I want him to be the Face of My Channel. We're talking the kind of coverage he's only had wet dreams about.

I'm salivating at the prospect, just thinking about the immediate impact it will have in the industry. It will signal my intentions so fucking clearly you'd have to be deaf, blind, or Simon Shaps not to see it.

Everyone will be v v jealous.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

I cancel my entire output for 2008/9

Managed to get out of the H&S by 4.45pm and now it's late. 8pm. I'm brain numb, still in the office, and my first chance to wade through the paperwork in my (already) overflowing inbox tray. Seems like a lot of paperwork marked FAO: The Channel Controller which turn out to be the important proposals forwarded from the Genre heads waiting for my final tick.

I had a quick thumb through: The Foreigner Borrowers (?); St*r F*ckers (!) and some dodgy 'race swap' format called Black My Bitch Up.

Also, would you believe it, an Anthea-fucking-Turner vehicle called Anthea: Perfect Lay which is trying to do a Sex Inspectors transformation for single spinsters. Pulled the figures off Anthony’s computer and was staggered to learn that Perfect Housewife was our top rating factual show of 2006. My jaw nearly dropped off. Why-oh-why-oh-why is MY channel resurrecting the dead careers of failed daytime presenters?!? This is not good enough.

Without much hesitation I have decided to cancel ALL of these proposals.

I don't want to give the impression that the new boy is a soft touch; here simply to rubberstamp what the last controller was doing.

Fired off a stinging email to Gale, Swain, Klein and the rest of the cohorts: "These simply will not do. We urgently need to review our commissioning strategy for 08/09" and went home, happy for the first time since arriving.

Anthea Turner in Fucking Flames

"Hello. My name is Stuart and today is quite possibly the most important one in your career at the Corporation."

I am sat in a windowless, bland room at a cheap, boardroom-style desk that should seat 12, but today only seats 5.

"Have you all switched off your mobiles?" says Stuart in a rather effeminate northern voice. Yes, Stuart, I have.

I feel really old sat here. Everyone else looks about 14, and they giggle throughout. It's as if I've gatecrashed a pyjama party for X Factor auditionees. For today, I have been told that I must sit here amongst what look like some of the most moronic runner-types I've ever had the displeasure of coming close to. It's my first Health and Safety session - something that (as much as I tried) I discovered I was unable to get out of (checked clause 132.5 in my contract last night - my worst fears confirmed. Fuck).

To say I felt patronised and insulted to have to sit through this is a fucking understatement. There are people in here who definitely know who I am. I could hear them whispering, and imagined them running back to their department. Whispering and running. Gossiping in the hallways: "You'll never guess who I did a Health and Safety with today...!!!"

Begrudgingly, I did what was asked. An hour or so in, I was sent off to another soulless room in TVC to be told that I had to spend one entire hour, completely uninterupted, answering multiple choice questions from a CD ROM. It felt faintly similar to the Driving Test I did 18 months back (on the quiet, obviously, considering I was 31 at the time) but at least that had a purpose.

But now, here I was, at the Corporation on just my second day into a really high-profile job that was being talked and written about throughout TV land, sitting in front of a fucking computer clicking on a fucking mouse to say that I understood that adjusting my fucking computer without the help of an IT bod was fucking putting my life at risk.

The only saving grace, I suppose, was seeing Anthea Turner's hair on fire on the CD Rom. I must admit to re-watching it twice. Never did like her.

Monday, 14 May 2007

The First Day (of the rest of my life)

And what a day it has been. Felt like my first day at school with so much to absorb and study. I'm really exhausted so, in brief, here's how my first day with the Corporation went:

Woke up v early. Had the runs. twice. Flicked through The Guardian on the loo, then caught up with the news on the Today programme before watching 10 minutes of GMTV to see what My Viewers would be watching.

Car turned up 15 minutes late. The driver apologised and blamed it on Ian Hislop. My driver had taken the bald headed smarmy fucker to Television Centre before me so he could go and promote his horribly lurid Scouting For Boys documentary on BBC Breakfast. Anyway, arrived as fresh as I could having spent the journey absorbing today's Daily Mail and having a quick thumb through of The Sun and The Times.

Was met at reception by a gorgeous, well-spoken brunette called Jessica, but then became v dissapointed when she told me that she was from HR and wasn't actually my new PA. Was hurried through the bowels of TVC, passing through a variety of windowless corridors (could see lots of people checking me out) before stepping into a lift that took me to my floor. The 6th floor. The commissioning floor. The hub of the creative brains of the Corporation. And my new home.

Bring It On.

It was at this point that Jessica (who was wearing a gorgeous pair of peeptoe heels that had me mesmerised in the lift) handed me over to Anthony. This kid looked 15 and revealed he was my new PA. What?! Surely this was some sort of joke, a prank played on the New Boy?

Er, well it turns out, no.

Fifi was supposed to take me out to lunch at The Electric on Portobello, but I got an email from her at 11.47am to say that she had been overtaken by events surrounding tonight's Scientology Panorama. Haven't seen it myself but apparently John Sweeney is zipping round YouTube faster than a fat kid binge-eating hotdogs.

If this wasn't bad enough (bumped by John-fucking-Sweeney) the only email that was addressed directly for my attention was from HR Jessica telling me I had to report to a meeting room in the basement of The Doughnut at 9.30am tomorrow. Got quite excited at the prospect until I opened the attachment.

What?! Some bloke called Stuart will be "facilitating"' a 'This is the Corporation: Why Health and Safety Lets us Do What We Do' seminar. Horrified, I note it is a day long event. DAY LONG? Surely some mistake. Why on earth would I, as a Channel Controller a) have the time to sit through something as dull and unneccessary as this, and b) actually fucking need to?

I rang Jessica and said that there must have been some processing error. Jessica said no, as a new employee (employee?? I'm a fucking Executive darling) I would have to sit through 2 separate H&S seminars, and this would be the first. She asked me: "Will you ever need access to studios?" Yes, for fuck's sake, I'm sure I will! "And will you ever need to visit location shoots?" Bloody hell, which ex-Poly dished out her fucking degree? 'Possibly', I remarked. "Well then you'll definitely need to pass both Health & Safety days."

Bloody hell. Can I really afford an entire day to be taking up with something so trivial and frankly unneccessary when I've only just arrived? Emailed Fifi to express my concern. But by the time my driver was ready to take me home at 5.30pm I still hadn't had an email back.

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Power dressing

Big day tomororow.

Picked out a suitable wardrobe for maximum impact: Simple pair of cream chinos, Zara tailored blue stripe shirt and a Jaeger blazer to tie the outfit together. It's understated which is my intention.

Nothing too brash, too 'commercial sector' about me. I'm part of the establishment now so I had better dress the part. I could have gone the safe option of suit (no tie) but no, I need to send the right impression from the outset: young, dangerous, trendy, in touch with the kids. If I'm going to run the Youth Channel then I had better bloody act like I know who my audience are.

A Corporation car is being sent to pick me up at 8.30am. So early to bed tonight to dream of ratings success...

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Is it because I'm a Jew?

During today's very relaxing back massage at The Refinery (by the same woman who treats Dermot's dodgy back) I started thinking about why people dislike me in the industry so much. Why do they resent me for my success? Andrea Wong just laughs when she hears about how much flack I'm getting when my shows rate through the roof but get panned nevertheless. Only in England! she says.

Sometimes I feel the world is against me.

And let's face it, there's always a Jew-sploitation edge to their criticism of me. Oh, he's so shrewd, so cunning. They may as well just come out with it and call me Fagan.

They think we Jews are like a drug cartel running the media, controlling what the public consume, making a mint in the process. Well, let me be completely straight with you here: we are. We're better, cleverer, more canny and we deserve every success we get. So what if I prefer to spend my free-time with the Jewish friends that I grew up with instead of other middle-class leftie Execs?

Drifted off during mid mind-rant and when I came round I felt great afterwards. A quick beard sculpt later and I looked great too. I felt proud being a Jew.

Blogging when drunk - don't do it!

I don't normally like to drink, but ended up finishing off that bottle of Château Lafite-Rothschild on my own tonight (thank you Kevin - it was his leaving present to me). Bored, so decided to check my account at 'HoustonHarley' had written me a message. My heart was pounding. A message. For me. Unread. (I LOVE the uncensored visceral immediacy of the internet) Clicked on it:

"Well, thank goodness at least you're modest!
Harley x "

Straight to the point. I liked this. In my profile for the 'What Do Your Exes Say About You', I've said: "Charming, Bright, Witty, Adventurous, Knowing." Which is true. Then, for the category 'What are You Looking For in the Opposite Sex?', I simply say: "Someone who will appreciate me and admire me for who I am and where I am heading."

I checked her profile again. She's an ex-investment banker, raised in the US, a petrolhead (you what?!). Cue massive gulp of vintage red wine.

Jesus, though, this Mrs Robinson seems to be for fucking real. But sexier, I reckon. And she's proper bullish. According to her, her exes say she's "accomplished, stylish, straightforward, has a razor wit and tremendous sense of fun."

I'm starting to think back to the Film Society nights in my third year at Oxford and the time I saw 'The Last Seduction' staring Linda Fiorentino. That film most certainly awoke my prudish sexuality, and by god did Ms Fiorentino keep me awake at night during my finals....still managed a get a double first though. Anyway, I read on, and HoustonHarley says under the question 'What are You Looking for in the Opposite Sex?':

"Someone with a naughty streak a mile wide. Someone magnetic with tons of presence. A little bit Clive Owen in Closer, a lot James Dean in Giant."

Mmmm. Clive Owen. Must admit (blushing) that I've always secretly thought I have that Clive Owen 'edge' to me, both in look and in terms of presence. Met him at a C4 party once and discovered I was at least half an inch taller than him as well.

But I've got to find a way of talking about this to Michaela. I'm 48 hours away from starting the job of a lifetime, and I get this to deal with. Fuck. How do I play it???

Friday, 11 May 2007

Rescued sea lions rate

Would you Adam and Eve it! Rubin has only gone and pulled off one of the year's most miraculous P45 escapes since Andy Auerbach wriggled out of the debacle that was Get Your Act Together With Harvey Goldsmith. His sea lion sanctuary film yesterday on C4 has pulled in the punters. Seriously good figures. The kind of numbers that will (probably) spawn a rich seam of Rescued Animal programming for the next 6 months. How the hell did the floppy haired kid manage it? (Again)

Sent him a text tonight: 'Do you want a job??'

Thursday, 10 May 2007

2 glasses of Château Lafite-Rothschild 1996, Pauillac, 1er Cru Classé later...

Herring says to keep my nerve and not respond, it'll blow over. If anyone knows how to handle a media storm, this PR maestro should. According to him, whoever gets in touch first to find out how I am is more than likely one of Broadcast's 'anonymous sources'. You don't need a degree in human psychology to work that one out, but - sigh - I suppose I am paying him a small fortune for advice exactly like this. Don't sweat it, he says, the Youngest-TV-Controller-Of-His-Generation brand is still very much in tact.

2 missed calls from Bertie. and concerned emails from Michaela, Jenny, Fifi, Peter and Rubin. Some spam. Toyboy Warehouse 'wink' from HoustonHarley (I really don't need this right now...) Plus one text from Goldberg which simply states: "They were unfair on you, Gx"

Also one from Hector. Hmmmm. Herring knows his stuff. Hector is like a criminal who can't help himself but come back to gawp at the crime scene. We're doing Soho House next week for a catchup. He won't know what hit him.

Fuck Broadcast

I am stunned...stunned... fucking stunned by the tone of my profile piece. Broadcast have really burnt their bridges with me on this one, I'll tell you that for nothing. There must have been someone from above subbing it to death because I got absolutely no hint of the 40 minutes of MY time explaining to the hack the ins and outs of my new channel strategy. They just went for the lowest common denominator (so predictable) of ‘personality politics’. So what if I’ve upset a few people in my time. You don’t rocket up the corporate food chain like a rat up a drainpipe by being nice to everyone you meet, do you? You’ve got to know your mind and stick to your principles.

It started well...

"He's got a razor sharp instinct for what makes compelling television” Very true – thank you Michaela.

"His incredible skill is to take serious social issues and give them a soft format twist" Thank you Goldberg, my old, old, boss and one-time mentor.

"Devastatingly bright and one of the most shrewd and calculating commissioning editors I've ever worked with” This was double-edged but I took it as a compliment.

But then there was an anonymous quote from an independent producer saying I was "arrogant and not very well liked" and suddenly the piece starting dissecting my cack-handling of Celebrity bloody Big Brother, something I was at pains not to mention in my phone interview.

“I wouldn't be the first exec to question his passion for TV – he’s just a numbers man” This is blatantly not true – I love TV, I love the arts and literature (especially Dickens). I have passion.

I mean, what the fuck kind of opinion led tittle-tattle journalism is this?!

There’s also a poll asking whether I was a good appointment. 76% voted no. Seventy- fucking– six percent think having the last gimp in office is better than me. I know I may have upset a few people in my time, but this is ridiculous. What should I do about it? Just ignore it? No, surely not. Especially as it comes just four days before I roll into the Corporation and assume the mantle that I rightly fucking deserve, thankyouverymuch - "There are some that doubt he is ready for such a huge, public remit job" - Fuck off.

Called James Herring and it went straight to voicemail (surprise surprise). He fucking suggested I do the piece in the first place so let him sort out the flack.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Chelsea match tonight

Greg has just texted me to see whether I'd like to come with him to watch Chelsea play football tonight. To be quite honest, I'd rather sit through another marathon session of reruns of that abysmally piss poor 'Two Pints...' than have to spend a few hours in Greg's company. But he is an Executive Club member down there and the last time he took me I ended up sat next to Jodie Kidd. Still for the life of me can't believe she never called me afterwards.

How not to pitch me

Pleasant lunch with Jenny at Soho House (her treat), ruined only at the end when she pitched me (or rather ‘sounded me out on a few things she’s currently interested in’) a clutch of slit-yer-wrists documentary ideas. For some bizarre reason she thinks I’m in the market for sob-umentary and freak docs. Why? It must be the channel’s old reputation – something I make a mental note to tackle in my first week. Does she think I’ve lost my sense of fun overnight simply by migrating to the Corporation? Stick with your features format luv I wanted to say but nodded politely nevertheless. Just to give you a sample of what I had to sit through:

Bum Rape - A hidden epidemic blah blah blah men talking for the first time ho-hum in this one off doc (ie. Impossible to place in the schedule)

The Girl Who Shags Herself – Hermaphrodite codswallop based on access to some poor orphan Jenny's lackies have dug up in Belarus (Another copycat shock doc you can find on all my rivals)

Cancer Live – In which I’m supposed to give over 7 hours of my schedule for a live brain operation to remove a tumour the size of a grande skinny latte from some poor professor’s head. Ya-da-ya-da-ya-da. Now I’m not going to deny that I went through a Do Everything Live phase but herein lies the dilemma of high ranking TV Execs like myself - we come up with one cracking idea and then spend the next two years dodging rent-a-clone formats of the exact same idea (This is way too complicated for Jenny to pull off anyway)

Womb Raiders – Women who kidnap foetuses based on one case in Brazil blah blah blah compelling sync testimony etc. gruesome recons ra-ra-ra (Done last year)

On the way out I bumped into Hector, flustered as ever, arriving with a gorgeous young blonde. We exchanged a look and he winked as he threw her coat to the cloakroom attendant and followed her arse wiggle up the stairs. Now, why hasn’t Hector asked me out to lunch yet? What power game could he be playing? This pre-occupied me for most of the taxi journey home.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007


Freaked out. Just checked my profile on Toyboy Warehouse and I've received a "wink" from "Bubbles56". Her profile reads: 'Divorced, been single for 12 years and loving it, have 2 children in their early twenties, I work hard and would like to play hard. I'm looking for A MAN! a real one! with big hands :)! unlike my ex-husband LOL!!!!!'

There is no photograph to accompany her profile, and I have no idea what to do. Can't tell Michaela or anyone about this. But I am bloody curious.

I need a younger Richard Littlejohn

I've asked this question aloud countless of times during my past few years in commercial television. Where are the new polemical voices? Who do we have over here to rival the Michael Moores and Morgan Spurlocks of this world? And when my cry has gone out to the desperate and frankly aloof independent producers, what do I always get? The same usual suspects peddled in my unfortunate direction by out-of-touch dead-in-the-wood ex-liberals.

Mark Thomas? No thank you very much. Very nineties and old NME vective. The world has moved on Mark, and I'm not putting you back on the TV.

Jon Ronson? I think you'll find living in Islington and writing boring columns for the Guardian isn't going to turn you into a name for my Channel.

Mark Steel?! Are you fucking winding me up? Janice can go and continue enjoying his 'original' take on re-interpretating history over on BBC4 thankyou very much.

Frankly I'm tired of asking this question, but it all came back to me like a very horrible shaver rash from my youth earlier tonight when I had to sit down to a DVD medley of F**k Off: I'm Ginger, F**k Off I'm Fat, F**k Off I'm Racist, F**k Off I'm A Thick Arsed Twat, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Jesus Christ. They'd sent me them along with the contract in the hope that I'd be willing to consider recomissioning a second run. Fifi says that they were really popular with the core 16-34 ABC1s, but I'm going to have to beg to differ.

People just don't seem to get what I'm after. I need someone who engages totally with the viewer. Who doesn't seem trapped and stiffled by a posh, worthy, knowing, Oxbridge upbringing, and who can relate directly with the fears and frustrations that the viewers have when it comes to ordinary daily life. Forget Saturday lunchtime Radio 4 topical news shows. I fucking need something that will thump its way to the core of my schedule, and back, each and every time.

I suppose what I really need is a more youthful, more spunky, more spiky version of Richard Littlejohn. But where do I find him? Maybe I'll send over an 'All @ Everywhere' memo about my need to find fresh, edgy voices that aren't from the old liberal left to really punch through on My Channel. Get them chomping on that before I fucking rock up.

5 working days before I join

Got my contract through the post. I officially start the new job on Monday. Have arranged to lunch with Jenny from The Bloc TV Corp (P.I.L.F personified) tomorrow, then bask in my Broadcast glory on Thursday, last minute strategy writing on Friday, grooming sesh booked on Saturday at The Refinery on Brook St (Detox Facial, Beard Design & Wet Shave), spend Sunday soaking up the papers, then saunter into the corporation on Monday morning with the air of someone comfortable with their own importance. I have it all planned. There will be, no doubt, a few backstabbers I need to out in the first week, which is why I want to send the right message from the off that I'm here to stay. And I mean business.

Broadcast magazine profile

Broadcast are doing a profile of me for this week’s edition to co-incide with the start of my tenure as TV's Youngest Channel Controller™. Had a long 40minute chat with the hack (doing her very best Emily Bell impression – yawn) and delivered what I think was the right line of bright-young-media-thing + worldly-wise-and-not-to-be-fucked-with.

To ensure I get good copy I threw in a couple of pithy one liners (“I’m like a stick of rock – cut me and I read television formats”) and a few new buzzwords I came up with in the bath last night. My favourite of which is 'Itchy Reality' - shows that make you feel uncomfortable when watching.

Slightly concerned that she’ll rake up a few quotes from some of my enemies to balance out the piece, so will have a ring round this afternoon to head off any potentially harmful PR. Must also remember to ring my mum and remind her to buy Broadcast this Thursday.

Googling myself again

Did it a few times today, in between putting up my profile at

According to the popularity rating gospel that is Google, I'm an engineer, a singer and an ex-marine. It takes a second page until my true self is revealed to the world. The second page!

Googled my ex just out of curiosity. She must have her management on the case because her official page comes up first time around, always.

Then I googled my ex-boss. And then my former deputy. I don't get it, their true identities come up first time, every time. Frustrating and embarassing. Will chat to my new PA and see what can be done. Considering who I am and how far I've come, I don't want people having to spend more than 30 seconds trying to find 'me' on the internet. If Google is the ultimate rating of whether you are a somebody then I don't want them getting crap about a bloody burnt out karaoke singer-songwriter over me

God I hate fucking bank holidays.

Toyboy Warehouse

Weird bank holiday weekend for me. About to spew vulnerability hell, but what the fuck. Spent a day with my parents who, as usual, were fighting. Who really cares about Sarkozy and France anyway?? My Dad's a lawyer specialising in fraud and my Mum has recently got into Interior Design. Nice house in Edgware, a dog called Buster and they can be proud of what their kids have achieved. Spent Saturday night telling them about my plans for what I was going to be doing at the channel - even brought along my channel grids and everything.

Mum thinks I'm great and is very, very proud. She likes the idea that I've joined the establishment, even if she cannot abide the changes made to the way the news is shown these days.

Where as Dad is just.... Dad. I don't really think anything I do will ever impress him. His opening gambit was why I wasn't bringing home a lovely woman on my arm.

If only he knew.

I still freeze when I think back to my very early days in television and the lengths I went to in trying to maintain myself as a hip, cool kid bright well beyond my years - and oozing something approaching a sexuality.

...The time my (then) boss embarassed me in my own development meeting by insinuating I was still a virgin...

...The time I jetted to NYC just for a weekend because I had a chance of managing a boy band, and telling all in the office about my red eye adventures. Anyway, from what I remember, it was pretty hip for *everyone* at that time to be confused or at least ambigious when it came to their own sexuality...

...And the time Nigella invited me to dinner, and I sat and became mesmerized as I learned what it was to have presence in front of an adoring audience. I formed a lot about myself that night...

Tonight I logged on to Read a great piece in last week's Telegraph about it.

Perhaps 'downdating' is the thing for me after all?

Thursday, 3 May 2007

No killer on board, no film

Nice text from Nigel this morning saying how much he looks forward to working with me. Must keep vigilant, he's a smooth operator.

Also, lo and behold, turned on fucking BBC Breakfast and there's a huge story about the McDonalds murderer. He was some sort of disgruntled ex-employee and suddenly we're talking about a sociopathic revenge killing element to the film. Furious that Michaela is not across this and starting to doubt her level of access. Fired off an angry text to her: No killer on board, no film. Will have to see what she pulls out the bag.

Feeling slightly bored with all this time on my hands. Might pop into town later and see the new exhibition at the Photographer's Gallery from the people who collect thrown away photos.

There must be a TV format in this......

It's Fifi not FiFi

Forgot to mention how I very narrowly avoided a faux pas disaster after the Charlotte St meeting...she's called 'Fifi' not 'FiFi' (!) She insisted we grabbed a quick coffee after the people from Castaway went, and when she presented her Mastercard to the waiter it all suddenly dawned on me. I'd completely misinterpreted the spelling of her first name.

I made sure to ask Fifi how she felt the meeting had gone, complimented her handling of the situation and slipped in how I couldn't wait to roll up my sleeves and get stuck in. Didn't mention the Hartlepool McDonalds story just yet. Will talk properly to Michaela first thing to make sure she's got the access nailed super tight. Cannot afford any New Boy slip ups. Not on my watch. I've got way bigger fish to fucking fry.

Chav killed over a McDonalds

I got really excited about half an hour before I was due at the Charlotte Street Hotel. Michaela texted me a story about a 19-year-old kid from Hartlepool who got knifed outside a McDonalds last Friday night. Today, his family decided to switch off his life support.

Michaela says she had already sent up one of her development researchers to nail down the family and get them to sign an exclusive agreement. Obviously the tabloid hacks were up to their usual and frankly tasteless dirty games and wanted to do the story, but fortunately for us (I hope) Michaela reckons she's got the deal.

I have to hand it to her. Her methods of persuasion this time rank high on my list.

Michaela's pitch to the family was all about how, in this modern age, that their son died innocently because a) our young people are eating fucking shit, and b) because he wouldn't give up his salt-excessive Quarter Pounder to this terrifying oaf. We've obviously got a fantastic, heartfelt film on our hands, with two poignant stories running through it. One. How sick are our kids? Eating this junk. One of them is even prepared to kill for it. Two. A lovely lad named Aaron, only 19 years of age, father to two lovely daughters (Kayleigh, 2 and Sammy, 13 months) innocently dies *just* because he was eating a burger and happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Huge potential for amazing reconstruction scenes. Think the story will really tap into the heartland ABC1 viewers that the channel I'm ready to inherit has been sadly lacking for a long time.

Must admit to spending most of the 'crisis' Castaway talks just thinking about this. Real chance for incredible start to my job with this as one big noisy one-off. Talk about punching through the schedules - more like kicking a fucking hole right through them! Can probably get Stephen Glover on the Mail right behind it, which will make a change for the Corporation!

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Showdown at the Charlotte Street Hotel

Imagine the scene: Nigel is there, front of centre, flanked by his trusty lieutenants, the head of entertainment nervously flicking a cocktail menu between thumb and forefinger, a couple of random schedulers, PA note takers and interactive bods, plus FiFi and her top team. I sauntered in, nodding to Nigel and sitting myself down in a seat close to FiFi. She started the meeting with a very kind introduction to yours truly – mentioned some of the more notable hit shows I had on C4 and how excited the Corporation was in having me take the channel to the next level. Her speech felt a bit cold and choreographed and everyone eyed me suspiciously but I was pumped up and ready for whatever was thrown in my direction. There’s nothing like a well tailored blazer to make one feel comfortable and on top of the world.

FiFi asked Nigel to stand up and explain what he felt were the primary failings of Castaway and where he felt it went off course. He did an admirable job, citing Liverpool’s Champions League run as a crucial factor in ratings decline. All bollocks, of course, but delivered with such confidence that I could only watch with admiration. Here was a master at work, deflecting criticism and blame, and standing up for the mistakes he’d made. I observed everything, taking mental notes, and was called upon only once to offer my opinion on where we could take the spin off shows on my channel.

Absolutely stunned by how many people were called in for this meeting. I counted 16 people, including me, present. The meeting lasted nearly three hours, and I still wasn't sure what kind of final decisions had been made by the end of it. Anyway, not my problem. I played it well cool and offered cursory comment, demonstrating (I hope) that I really wasn't responsible in the first place for this, but would happily help if need be. I should have known full well that this was just Fifi giving me a 'taste' of how the Corporation manages things.

At the end I was pleased when I suggested a weekend special that could make a virtue of the series in a big 48hour repeat-fest splash perhaps hosted by Dermot O’Leary - which I felt was neither critical of Nigel nor dismissive of FiFi, and thereby treading the fine political tightrope between the two powerbases. Job done me thinks.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

The 'pulled together' look

Last minute dash to Regent Street to fork out on a new wardrobe. I’m in luck, not only has the ever reliable Michaela suggested some hot new styles for the Spring season but her ex-boyfriend works at the new super-trendy H&M designer offshoot store Cos, and can do me a 10% staff discount.

It’s vital, says Michaela, that I have an effortless ‘pulled-together’ look – apparently the hot new looks this season is a contemporary take on the French Riviera: blazer, flat pleated trouser & stripes. So, £400 and 2 hours later, I am ready for my meeting. Have gone for a classic preppy-chic look: white washed cotton blazer, stripy t-shirt, piped edge V-neck cardigan, jeans and white converses. It says dapper but edgy; classic but contemporary; stylish but effortless; trendy but not a slave to fashion.

Most of all it says I’m a channel controller not to fuck with.

What not to wear

Had a little panic this morning. I was going through my wardrobe trying to figure out what I should be wearing at tomorrow's Charlotte Street Hotel showdown. Think the beard is looking okayish (not exactly right for my big arrival at the Corporation, but at least no cameras will be there tomorrow so I've still got time to cultivate it), but this unexpected London heatwave is causing havoc as I try and desperately figure out the right look.

You see, I really don't think that my only summer Paul Smith suit feels right anymore. Last time I wore that was at Mipcom in 06, and that was only down to Suzanne convincing me that the trademark grey t-shirt and black jacket wasn't going to wash with all those north American distributors. So we spent a frantic afternoon on High St Ken with just hours to spare before my Heathrow flight, finally settling on a rather cool, breezy blonde suit. I'd seen Lygo in one a few weeks earlier, and thought I just had to have it.

But it looks wrong now to me. I can't put my finger on it (which is unusual) but for whatever reason, I'm not happy with it. Certainly not to wear tomorrow on my first semi-official duty 'on the job'.

I might just give Michaela a quick buzz. She's execing a new Sky One fashion series right now and will definitely know where to send me to get the look I need for tomorrow. Plus she had dinner with Fifi just last week, so another chance to pick up some last minute goss.

Drafting in a troubleshooter

Bertie called. He has finished renovating his farmhouse in the Dordogne and asked if I needed a hit format troubleshooter on my new team. I know he would definitely come in handy as a consultant at some point in the future. Bertie has marketed himself very successfully as a hatchet man drafted in to butcher poor films into better shape, and taking all the credit in the process.

Bertie leaves other people’s egos in his wake like clubbed seals and has the superiority complex of a man who spends 10 months of the year wearing shorts and 2 months in an edit suite winning Baftas. Just the kind of battle-hardened survivalist I need fighting on my side.