Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Young, Yiddish and Proud

Frankly I've reached the end of my tether.

I've had to attend another brain-numbing PC-correct 'workshop' on under-represented ethnic minorities and how The Corporation needs more "Exec producers, series producers, directors and APs" from "ethnic-centred" (whatever the fuck that really means) backgrounds.

I didn't pipe up about the under-represented minority that I personally feel remains marginalised by the television elite: 30-something white males from a jewish religio-economic background.

So with the help of these cutting edge Jewish radicals I am aiming to tackle this problem head-on....

It's time for a Jewish media revolution! Fuck-YAY!

Let's show them that we're better at comedy. That we're better at drama. That we're better at documentaries. But most of all let's show them that we're miles fucking better at youth orientated programming!

Why should Yentob be the only Corporation top-cheese to have his own TV show?? I've instructed Hincksy to hire Bertie to series edit a brand new series for the spring. I will be doing a Yentob and fronting it myself called Who Da Jew?™ which will see me report on cool young Yiddish hipster sub-cultures each week, with live music and some interactive bits and bobs too.

With me at the helm EVERYONE will sit up and take notice. I am expecting - at the very least - glowing reviews in heat, Grazia and the JC

Suddenly (and with Obama in my reaches) I feel a new power surge coming on...

Everything's going to be fine

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Shag, Marry, Kill or Commission?

To keep myself amused I often play a game with grovelling producers who line up outside my office waiting to pitch me their latest ideas, called:


Whilst they stand around nervously, chatting last minute detail about 'interactive added value', I mentally imagine who I'd prefer to shag, marry, kill or commission. You'd be surprised at some of the fruity combinations I've come up with!

For example, I'd commission Richard McKerrow but probably not fully shag him (a blowie is probably my limit if I had to). I might go a couple of rounds with Hincksy (but hate myself in the morning) and I'd definitely 'do' Camilla Lewis AND commission her, marry her and, most likely, kill her too.

See how much fun you can have?!

[Although once I bumped into both The Wolfster and Sir Yentob in a Corporation lift... and suffered mental anguish for days afterwards. Some decisions in life - thank fuck - don't have to be taken.]

This amusing executive de-stress game of mine inspired my latest, fantastic new youth format SNOG, MARRY, AVOID? which by now you will have all seen and enjoyed. Not only have I invented the world's first 'make-under' TV format, but I believe it is the first time a 'virtual assistant' has been used in a primetime features slot. Not since the heady sci-fi days of 2001: A Space Odyssey has the use of a pointless flashing light been so revolutionary.

Fuck, I'm way too good for this Corporation.

Inspired by its HUGE ratings success, I have decided to conduct the first ever straw-poll of industry big-wigs to discover exactly how important sex appeal is in getting ahead in the world of British broadcasting.

Here in the land of the TV controller gods we all know that getting pitched to by a sexy nymphet is far preferable than a grumpy northerner, or - god forbid! - those wretched regional scallies from Wales.

So from the following randomly selected beautful people please select who you would prefer to SHAG, MARRY, KILL or COMMISSION?

Tommy Nagra
Dan Trelford
Dominic Crossley-Holland
Grainne Lyons
Gurdip Bhangoo
Janet Lee
Lauren Hennessey
Lisa Dunn
Martin Davidson
Michael Jackson
Nick Mirsky
Nick Woodroffe
Sara Ford
Sara Hardy
Tim Martin
Adam Kemp
Carla-Maria Lawson
Charlotte Moore
Eamon Hardy
Jacqueline Hewer
The Wolfster
Rosalind McInnes
Anne Mensah
Meredith Chambers
Basil Comely
Perry Mansell
Ben Evans
Caroline Ormerod
Diana Kyle
Foz Allan
Dave Gravy
Gaynor Holmes
Havia Taylor
John Yorke
Cunton Allen
Lucy Hetherington
Andy Zein
Mark Freeland
Alan Hayling
Timothy Hincks
Amanda Ross
Annabel Raftery
Charles Brand
Clare Paterson
Daisy Goodwin
Denys Blakeway
Simon D Arkwright III
Elodie Gornall
James Burstall
Justin Gorman
or Sophie Gratton

Your vote counts. All comments are confidential and the results will be revealed someday

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

My Priorities for Comedy

TO: Corporation Comedy Unit; All Key Comedy Suppliers; Armando Iannucci; Jimmy Mulville; Ash Atalla
CC: Perry Mansell; John Thoday

Hello everyone.

I thought it would be a good time to outline a couple of thoughts regarding Comedy and the Youth Channel for Spring 2009.

We've had some amazing successes in this area over the last couple of years, but I am worried that we're a little bit niche when it comes to this part of the schedule.

Are we too "cool" for our own good?

Lucy Lumsden and Simon Wilson are doing brilliantly in this area, but they, like me, are also very keen for us to open up comedy on the Youth Channel to a new, bigger, more accessible (and perhaps a little less bright) audience.

Whilst our core audience is - and always will remain - the hard-to-reach PSP-obsessed Bebo-committed 10-17 age group, perhaps we can catch their 32-45 year-old parents, friends, colleagues, uncles, older friends and family if we chime the right chords??

Fawlty Towers did hotels, Only Fools and Horses did market trading, Dear John did bedsits, Open All Hours did corner shops and The Office did offices. So what are the new spaces where we spend our work, leisure and private times? Where are we going to find the new Del Boys, David Brents, Arkwrights and Basil Fawltys?

Don't forget the power of the red button in all of this. How can we make the audience at home BECOME the audience in the comedy venue? And where is the new Dennis Pennis coming from? They can't all be up in Edinburgh!!

I think there is also room to create a new comedy genre: the "reality comedy". Imagine for a moment Mike Leigh and Stephen Lambert (RIP) locked in a room with just some paper and pencils for an hour. What would they create? What kind of wicked characters and situations would come out of that meeting?

With the goodwill of Myfanwy Moore and Richard Klein I want the finest reality producers to sit down with some of our most ambitious comedy talent to develop ideas that blend these two brilliantly popular genres. Only on this channel could we invest and support such a dynamic partnership. Throw in a cool up and coming house band and we'll be cooking with gas.

I will call this exciting new hybrid: Drama-dy™

Talent - both on-screen and off, is a major thing we care about here. I want to ensure that under-represented people get a fair chance to develop and hone their skills within the Corporation on My Channel.

So where are the disabled or lesbian (or both!?) comic talents?? Where are the next Ash Atalla's coming from? What is happening with the underground yet hugely funny area of blind comedy? Is that genre ready for youthful, mainstream audiences yet? And what exactly can we do (or not do possibly) with deaf and/or albino talent??

Look, just go out there and have some fucking fun. Be brave, and be bold. My team are eagily awaiting your Dramady™ ideas.

Best wishes


Friday, 13 June 2008

My new suicide documentary

I was delighted to spend 20 minutes of my time this morning with the lovely Melinda Messenger and a group of unwashed Fleet Street hacks briefing them about our forthcoming campaign about suicide and young people.

Fuck off Stephen Fry, and your 'depression and me' crap on Corporation Snooze 2. Here on the Youth Channel we have more immediate ways of doing this kind of shit!

Melinda authors the series, and goes on a personal journey into the dark world of suicide.

I am thrilled at the heavyweight yet light and, dare I say it, very "itchy" way we've made this series. I have to hand it to Bertie for saving this project in the fucking edit. Well done my man from Notting Hill!

All kinds of problems hit us: characters not showing enough "emotional reaction" to Melinda's interview technique; tears at the wrong time; a lack of meaningful exchanges with loved ones (Bertie needed four reshoots to make the edits work)... but anyway, the most important thing is I am happy with the final outcome.

Talking of which, I am delighted about the EPG impact factor of the series title:

"MELINDA MESSENGER: IN SEARCH OF THE FINAL COUNTDOWN"!! [Cue the theme tune - we've licensed Europe's song "The Final Countown"!!]

The boys in scheduling and marketing have pulled a blinder on this one.

Bold, ambitious, brave and as fucking "shouty" as you could get!!! The kids will kill themselves if they miss it (joke)

Monday, 7 April 2008

Rap the Iraq War

At last! Brian Hill has finally come up with something worthwhile for me to consider commissioning. It's noisy, shouty, young and very fucking itchy.

Rap The Iraq War is a 90 minute special that I can play straight after the new series of kung-fu-tastic Phoo Action. I am very fucking excited.

Let me explain:

Hill's preferred soft Yorkshire poet Simon Armitage has spent a few weeks hanging with some former soldiers who have recently returned from Basra and has managed (admirably) to piece together some kind of narrative detailing their experiences "fighting the enemy". For once, his pseudo-realist poetry actually works!

The TV composer Danny Pemberton has been commissioned to create a musical piece full of "thunder, reckoning and remorse" to accompany the words, and some of Brian's lackies have gone onto the streets to film vox-pops with under-16s that can slot into the musical intervals to add realism and relevance for my hard-to-please demographic.

But my biggest coup by far will be the exclusive appearance of Lethal Bizzle, who I am reliably told is one of the country's hottest up-and-coming grime artists (whatever that means). He's agreed to do an exclusive 2 minute rap and create some "beats 'n shit."

[I'm praying that this Lethal chap won't remember the last time we bumped into each other at the MOBOs.]

I don't think I'm over-egging the project by predicting that this film could very well be the Apocalypse Now for my young and itchy generation.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Commissioning Code of Conduct

Whilst I am all for greater co-operation and understanding between people like me and people like them, I do think McVay and his feeble PACT chums have taken a rather over-the-top approach to that delicate relationship between over-stressed Commissioner and thoroughly-expendable Worker, with this new, frankly ridiculous code of conduct:

DATE: Tue, 25 Mar 2008 09:38:12 +0100
SUBJECT: CCC (Commissioning Code of Conduct)

Dearest colleagues,

I think I've managed to fudge together a code of conduct that will appease the moaning freelance industry just enough to let bygones continue to be bygones. Have a read and if there's anything you really object to, let me know ASAP.

We've got to do a press launch for this next Tuesday. I know it's a little embarrassing, but any takers to be on the podium alongside me?

Once again, I am sorry it has come to this. I would never - dear God - lay blame at your doors directly for this, but perhaps you would be so kind as to instruct your underlings (for whom I think this is really intended) to take heed of the concerns that the insecure indie sector has on matters like this.

Your humble TV champion,

PS Can one of you please remind James Herring he's not allowed to print the CCC on the back of t-shirts and distribute freely at this year's Edinburgh TV Festival? Cheers

Pact directive 14.3.5(b)
*ratified in accordance with the Broadcasting Act 1996 by PACT board in consultation with Broadcasting organisations within the British Isles & beyond

1. Thou (meaning "the Commissioner") shall not dismiss ideas pitched by producers outright without proper and careful engagement. This means actually listening properly and intently to said idea before rejecting it out of hand based on some lazy outdated or personal idiosyncrasy to do with concept or approach to subject matter

2. Thou shall refrain from obsessive use of meaningless jargon to cover up your complete lack of knowledge and purpose in knowing the type of programmes your boss expects you to commission

3. Thou shall show proper respect (smiling upon arrival, saying hello, shaking hands, making eye contact, remembering everyone's name) to each and every member in attendance at an ideas meeting, no matter how junior and irrelevant they may appear to be

4. Thou shall not use mobile digital devices (such as blackberry's, PDAs, 3G phones etc) during edit viewings, and instead appear keen and alert to the programme you are watching in order to substantiate your important feedback and comments at the end of said viewing

5. Thou shall not make half-baked and ignorant suggestions of 'talent' to front landmark programmes you have commissioned and expect knowledgeable producers to have to deal with your naive wishlists, thus avoiding a huge amount of time and money wasted in the pre-production process

6. Thou shall never offer commissions to preferential producers or directors based on private agreements or 'favours' following previous commissions or places of employment

7. Thou shall not stagger into an edit suite all gung-ho munching on a stinking donor kebab and slugging down a bottle of Kingfisher lager at 11am because you genuinely think it puts you in "the mindset of the youth target audience watching this after the pubs have shut in some shitheap like Rochdale"

8. Thou shall remember that the people who provide you with shows are freelancers who would like to know sooner rather than later whether you will be able to commission their next six-month contract so that they will not go begging to their mortgage lenders looking extremely desperate and weak

9. Thou shall not flirt with the executive producer or series producer in order to cover up your failures at commissioning stage when the shit appears to be hitting the fan during final weeks of the edit

10. Thou shall demonstrate during pitch meetings that you are proud to think independently from your channel controller and are prepared to take risks and stake your beliefs clearly and confidently; that you posses 'balls' in other words by being brave enough not to refer every single idea up the food chain of television command

11. Thou shall appreciate the great lengths your freelance independent producers go to bring you hard-to-achieve access, and show understanding of the intricate difficulties and stresses involved for all footsoldiers involved in gaining said access.

12. Thou shall never reject an idea with the excuse that it is too similar to something else in production, when clearly you have merely run out of ways to say no to a perfectly feasible idea. Nor shall thou patronise the vastly experienced producer by worrying whether his/her ideas will "rate" highly enough for your mediocre and underperforming channel

13. Upon the unlikely event that you have commissioned a hit show, thou shall resist the temptation to heap praise and champagne on the Executive Producer, and instead give the proper credit due to the footsoldiers who have slogged their guts out, cut their weekly rates, and put their homelife on hold in order to deliver the show on time and on budget (and against the odds) thereby saving your arse and keeping you gainfully employed for another year

SIGNED (Commissioning editor/Executive)....................
DATE .............................

Monday, 25 February 2008

Major Security Breach

TO: All Departments; All Corporation; All Operations
DATE: Mon, 25 Feb 2008 08:10:12 +0100
SUBJECT: Security Threat

It has come to my attention this morning that there has been a major security breach in the building:

Ben Roe has been careless enough to lose his Corporation ID card, which could easily have fallen into the hands of a Shepherd's Bush terrorist cell, or even worse, an investigative journalist from The Sun.

Thankfully my ever vigilant PA Anthony was the first to find it before any serious harm was done.

In these times of heightened security, we must all remember to do our bit to help protect the Corporation from coming under needless attack. As a result of this potentially dangerous loophole in security, I will be implementing a brand new training initiative for all Youth Channel employees entitled: "Keep Your Eyes Peeled: You Are Important in the Global Fight Against Terror" starting lunchtime on Monday the 3rd March for 6 weeks.

Ben, please come immediately and collect your ID from my office.


Monday, 18 February 2008

51 TV Love Poems by The TV Headmistress

DATE: Mon, 18 Feb 2008 06:27:02 +0100
SUBJECT: The Headmistress


Don't take this badly but it appears another one of my clients has decided to branch out into the blogosphere. She's got a new book on the way and thought the idea of keeping a blog charting her progress would be, and I quote, "rather fun".

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.... but then you would know that working at the Youth Channel! (joke)

Rest assured that this is not a conflict of interest for me and I remain totally committed to your 5 year brand strategy (Head of BBC1, President Obama's communications director, Director General etc etc etc)

Yours as ever,

The Dark Lord

Friday, 1 February 2008

An Apology


I recognise and accept that a number of statements that I made on my blog “The Secret Diary of a TV Controller (aged 33 and 3/4)”, in particular the posts of 16th June 2007 ("Squash"), 26th August 2007 ("My Edinburgh networking night from hell") and 9th October 2007 ("MIPCOM Madness"), may have caused offence to both Endemol UK and Timothy Hincks through the depiction of the fictional character "Hincksy".

It is important for me to stress that as far as I am aware, the conversations, emails and activities depicted between the characters "Hincksy" and "TVC" never occurred, nor was there any intention to discredit or call into question the professional reputation of Mr Hincks or his employer Endemol UK.

Mr Hincks does not play squash regularly with a channel controller as falsely stated on 6th June 2007 ("Squash"), nor did Mr Hincks describe Melanie Leach, Lisa Opie and Hannah Johnson as the "bitches of Eastwick" whilst attending The Media Guardian Edinburgh International TV Festival 2007, as posted on 26th August 2007 ("My Edinburgh networking night from hell").

I would also like to state for the record that Endemol UK has never represented the international format rights to "Salopes Anglais", the fictitious television reality series described in my blog, nor did they try and sell it at MIP or any other international market, as claimed on the 9th October 2007 ("MIPCOM Madness").

I would like to apologise for any unintentional personal or professional embarrassment or distress that this may have caused, or any confusion that may have arisen from these false statements.

As a demonstration of good will I have agreed to donate an undisclosed figure to Mr Hincks' chosen charity and I trust this matter is now closed.

the anonymous author of The Secret Diary of a TV Controller (aged 33 and 3/4)

Thursday, 10 January 2008

A sneak preview of Lily

Hello again.

Here's an exclusive 2 minute preview of my forthcoming itchy entertainment show Lily Allen and Friends made by Princess Productions. I must admit I was quite surprised by the tone of it at first but Karl assured me that this is exactly what the kids want to watch these days.

I'm incredibly proud of the way it turned out. It promises to be the Youth Channel's first breakout hit of 2008!