1763 words of spite, bile, innuendo and jealousy...
* NO mention of all the great work I'm doing in FactLite and Pop Factuality
* NO mention of my forthcoming new commissions eg Child Ladyboy
* NO mention of my 3 year, 1080degree holistic Channel Vision
* ABSOLUTELY FUCK ALL reference to my nifty new buzzwords.
I bought up 150 copies on the way to work, switched my mobile phone to divert and locked myself in my office to lick my wounds:
'I will be 'itchy' for the sake of it'
He was in charge of Celebrity Big Brother at the height of the race row and commissioned Amsterdam Birth Canal despite a storm of protest from the NHS. Now head of the Corporation's Youth Channel, the Youngest Controller in the History of British Television speaks exclusively to Owen Glibson
Monday July 30, 2007
To some, the TV Controller is the personification of all that is wrong with modern British television. His detractors, most of whom have indeed met him, somehow believe he stands for the smug self-assurance and trendy Nathan Barleyisms of a generation of young producers and commissioners who no longer know where the line is - unless it is spliced, diced and faked to within an inch of its life.
Clad in black 3/4 length trousers, sporting a (slightly bushy) beard and wearing suitably expensive specs, the TVC does nothing to dispel that image on first impression. And he is actually far more arrogant, narcissistic and self-congratulatory in the flesh than the stereotype suggests.
[HOW DOES LOOKING AFTER YOUR APPEARANCE MAKE YOU NARCISSISTIC?]
Perhaps this image does befit a man who has spent a large chunk of his career never making any actual programmes himself (rather like the idea that an armchair football fan could successfully pull off running the England football team).
[ARMCHAIR FUCKING FOOTBALL FAN? I'M A CREATIVE FUCKING VISIONARY!]
The TVC (as he prefers to be known, further enhancing his smugness) has certainly had an eventful 12 months. As the executive directly responsible for Celebrity Big Brother, he found himself at the centre of the race row that engulfed the programme. He appeared in these pages stoutly defending the format and quoting Virginia Woolf in a rather toe-curling moment, only to be implicated later in a plot to hide racist footage from the screens.
[TOTAL FABRICATION AND LIES - OFCOM SAID SO!]
Then, as Julian Bellamy returned to Channel 4 to take up a new role as director of programmes, the TVC went the other way.
[I DIDN'T FOLLOW ANYONE! I WAS POACHED FOR MY EXCELLENT TRACK RECORD AND PEOPLE SKILLS]
Opinion at his former workplace is mixed. Few dispute that he is clever and immensly talented, but some are critical of an ambitious streak that has entailed stepping on lots of heads on his way up, ignoring lesser known Execs in the independent sector and being what Kevin Lygo referred to as "the most talented arselicker of his generation".
[I HAD TO SIT DOWN AFTER READING THIS....]
On the Sexed-Up Scandals currently rocking The Corporation, TVC rocks back in his expensive leather chair, iced skinny latte in hand and declares: " I think Thommo has got it right, he understands the issue of trust is massively important to our future and he has put in place sensible plans to address it. I'm just glad I'm on-board to help. I've certainly done my bit by launching the Board of Young Public Trust and it would be nice to see some of my fellow controllers perhaps doing something similar. It shouldn't just be down to Thommo, myself and Fifi to sort out."
[I THINK THIS LAST BIT READS RATHER WELL...]
In the noble tradition of incoming channel controllers, the TVC says he wants to follow a three-pronged strategy - to "move the channel's centre of gravity younger, to the early Tweenies/ Underage Bingedrinker", to have "a huge focus on lewd and expensive innovation", and, most importantly of all, to launch a new type of factual programming: "Itchy Reality".
[MISQUOTE. I ACTUALLY SAID 'SHREWD' NOT 'LEWD']
"There's a whole generation out there that don't like to watch overtly 'factual' programming. They switch over, or worse, just switch off. It's my job to get a raft of new factual programmes off the ground that are specifically aimed at people who think they don't want to watch factual. For this to work I'm getting producers to think 'Itchy'; programmes that would make uncomfortable, yet unbelievably compelling viewing."
[THIS IS MORE LIKE IT! FUCK YEAH! MY VISION!]
On the wall of his office is pinned a "thought map" of the way the web is changing media consumption habits.
TVC shrugs, "To be honest, even though I'm still a very young man and a keen user of web interfaces like Facebook, I'm a little confused by how we take our output directly to the 'MySpace Generation'. So this visual representation helps keep my eye on the ball, so to speak."
[I'M GLAD HE LIKED MY THOUGHTMAP - I HAD IT MADE ESPECIALLY]
But trouble looms for the young creative maverick. His most ambitious commission for 2008, a history reality series called "Salopes Anglaise", has just been decommissioned in what was described by insiders as an example of the 'rank and file being pistolwhipped into line by Fifi'.
[I KNEW HE'D FUCKING PUT THE KNIFE IN!!]
Although deeply embarassing for TVC, he manages to brush it off.
"It promised to be a great insight into the concerns and fears surrounding young women in this country. But on reflection, it didn't have enough 'bite' and 'contemporaneity', so a brave decision was made to divert resources elsewhere."
This ability to absorb expensive mistakes is a prime example of what gives the Youth Channel a unique edge over other digital rivals. Yet, despite it's annual £93million programming budget The Youth Channel has remained inconsistent, incoherent and lacking any real identity.
[INCOHERENT?! HAS OWEN GLIBSON WATCHED FIVE RECENTLY?]
The crucial question is: Can the young TVC turn his channel's fortunes around?
[YOU BET HE FUCKING CAN!]
"Listen. It would be silly for me to sit here and say that I am an expert. I'm not. It is my job to create a healthy and vibrant channel, that would be a great legacy for me to leave behind when I move on to bigger and greater things."
Pass the Panadol Extra. I feel a migraine coming on.