For those who work in TV, we all know the nonsense, drama, screw-ups, and talent meltdowns that make up your average fun-filled day at work. Send me your funny production stories and I will publish them here (anonymously…)
A MESSAGE FROM GOD
“I remember the time an evangelical born again Christian researcher pulled a series producer (who happened to be gay) out of a live gallery because he had something very important to tell him. The producer hurriedly left the gallery thinking there was a contestant crisis…but actually the researcher had a message from god saying he should stop being gay. Now.
The researcher stopped working in TV shortly afterwards…not because he was sacked, but because TV was a lost cause…”
Series Producer, London
I once had to work with a presenter who was hosting a new quiz. Despite working for several weeks on it, the presenter simply could not get the rules in his head. Come the day of the studio record, he simply could not remember anything about how the game worked. So we fitted him with an earpiece and he simply repeated everything I said to him through the earpiece. I mean everything, including “walk over there, now, say this”. Unfortunately he was quite a deaf presenter so had the volume of the earpiece turned to maximum. This meant the audience and players could actually hear me say whether they were right or wrong, before the presenter said it, therefore removing any excitment from the quiz, and ruining the tension we try and build in the studio. To make matters worse at one point I spilt my hot coffee over myself and the script… Out in the studio the presenter out of the blue repeated what I said, telling a contestant… “F*$k shit, I am sorry, that’s my coffee”… HONEST!
Executive Producer, London
OH THE GLAMOUR
My first jobs in TV was being asked to scrape the labels of VHS tapes so that they could be reused.
GOT MY GOAT
“I was a researcher on a well know Daytime TV show where people air their dirty laundry/ affairs / illegitimate children in front of a live studio audience. Long story short, there was a goat that needed to appear on the show, and I, as the researcher had to look after it the night before the record. The hotel I was put up in accepted dogs, but not goats, so had to massively negotiate with them (what else could I do?) They said fine, but the goat had to stay in my room… Did not sleep very well, and woke to find the goat had trashed my room and chewed up my clothes. No joke. Had to call my Producer to come rescue me/ bring me clothes. In retrospect I can’t believe I ever agreed to share a hotel room with a goat!”
Assistant Producer, London
HOT TO TROT
Imagine the scene – first day at ITV’s premier flagship Daytime TV show; This Morning. A young, eager and very naive researcher (me) goes to brief one half of the Two Fat Ladies; Clarissa Dixon Wright. She was cooking one of her recipes from her book, some kind of old English Game dish no doubt – and when i said, that my Producer had decided to omit a Pigs Trotter from the recipe because she didn’t think it was “Daytime friendly” CDW went berserk! Shouting at the top of her voice she couldn’t believe anybody had messed with said recipe without her permission, called me a Cretin, a bimbo and a thick blonde! Whilst her apologetic bumbling assistant sat in the corner trying not to make eye contact. Needless to say – I burst in to tears!
AN AGE OLD PROBLEM
I once told Dionne Warwick she looked ‘good for her age’. She went on to throw a hissy fit, accused me of looking 46, threatened not to come on the show, and then pretended it was all a joke, and she was just pulling my leg. Dick.
(A rider is a list of things a celebrity requires in their dressing room when they come to film a show)
“Some of the things Talent have demanded on their riders: A bowl full of brown M&Ms, A basketball and a basketball hoop, a separate ‘sushi fridge’, unwrapped Natural yoghurt bars (??!) Fuji Water (both refrigerated and non refrigerated) and, seriously now, a puppy (younger than 3 months).”
Celebrity Booker, London
MUM’S THE WORD
“My first week working on a production I called my Series Producer Mum by mistake. Still. Not. Lived. It. Down.”
I was SP on an end of year comedy show looking back at the year’s events. It was the end of 2012 and so one of the things we were looking back on was the Rebekah Brooks/David Cameron horse affair which we did with a game called ‘Rebekahroo’.
In ‘Rebekahroo, two celebrities dressed as horses were attached to electrocution pads and two other celebrities stacked poshed things on to their horses whilst we electrocuted them.
One of our celebWities resisted the shocks veWy manfully which was impressive but didn’t make for very great telly. I took to the floor to speak to the celeb in question to see whether he would be up for playing the game again. He’d had a dWink or two and objected. I was crouching in order to speak to him as he was on all fours. When he said no, he pushed me on the chest and I fell over in front of the studio audience.
I was a bit shocked and hurried back to the gallery. His agent sort of apologised and the celeb in question mumbled something in the green room after the show.
I never thought of complaining seriously and when I think about what happened with Clarkson, it makes me wonder what would have happened if I had.
Series Producer, London
to be continued…
Please send me your TV Tales
@SophieCous or HTGAIT@gmail.com