Saturday, 2 June 2007

Mug a Hoodie

The most important thing when one reaches the lofty position of a Channel Controller is to somehow keep yourself grounded. No matter what party, lunch, so-called 'glitzy' premiere or dull TX soirée I've been forced to attend, I always know I can 'come home' and spend some quality time with my non-TV friends.

They are real people, with real jobs and go about their day-to-day business in the real world. They don't work in television, and nor do they wish too! Importantly, I find it really useful to hear their opinions on some of the ideas floating around the Corporation (kind of like an unofficial focus group). They are just the sort of genuine, young, real people who tune in and watch My Channel.

I'll never forget troubleshooter extraordinaire (and all-round creative cock-meister) Bertie telling me one of his golden rules in the edit. When some other execs would be scampering off to their commisioning editors, fretting about their films, Bertie just sends a runner to the post office carrying a jiffy bag with the entire series on VHS. It's for Bertie's Auntie Brenda up in a council flat in Derby. She knows nothing about the craft of making compelling and hit-rating television, but boy does she have opinions! If it ain't good enough for Auntie Brenda, it ain't good enough for anyone [This is a man who's won a billion BAFTAs remember].

So here's a run down of my real friends I had over for dinner last night:

Olly I've known since we were about 6. He's a lawyer working for Herbert Smith, and a fucking good one too.

Harriet is Olly's wife. They've been together for 7 years and have just moved into a great 2-bed in Stoke Newington. She's taken a sabbatical from Ernst & Young to work with disadvantaged kids in Homerton. I've got a lot of respect for her.

And then there is Eddie, who lives life at a hundred miles an hour! I've always looked up at Eddie ever since I befriended him at Oxford. He branched out 18 months ago into the whole viral marketing thing and was telling us about the Mega-Deal he's landed with Smirnoff which involves him spending every Monday, Wednesday, Friday (and Saturday morning) in Prishtina.

And, as if to prove Bertie's point, Harriet made me almost spit out my Gü chocolate souffle when we got on to the topic of Dave Cameron's infamous hug a hoodie thing from a while back. Just right out of the blue, she said that there should be a TV format called Mug a Hoodie! Harriet thinks it would be rather daring to do a Trigger Happy-style show where ordinary, law abiding citizens who have suffered at the hands of hoodie rats get their own back - obviously with full police backing. They are filmed undercover stealing a hoodie's mobile phone, iPod, wallet (and any potential weapons they might be carrying) from underneath his nose, and right on his home turf (we can set it "somewhere in Peckham or E11" she says).

It's ironic, isn't it? If I'd been pitched this by a desperate Indie Exec, I'd probably yawn and just carry on doodling in my notepad and continue to stare into thin air. But because this came from Harriet - who let us not forget, is actually sacrificing her whole fucking career at the moment to work on the streets of London with REAL kids from broken homes - I've got to take it seriously. Plus everyone else really, really liked it (and that wasn't just the 4 bottles of Shiraz talking!)

Will give the idea A-S-A-fucking-P to my in-house lackies to kick around and work up into a spiky returnable 60' format.

V pleased with the results of my dinner party. Just goes to show - REAL people are so much more interesting than TELEVISION people.

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