Get Me the Producer



Greg Dyke


Mentors: Ruth Joseph and Jeremy Salsby


Princess Productions for Channel 4, 15 to 19 October 2007


Relatively fresh from his unceremonious BBC ousting, Greg "No nickname that we could find" Dyke rolls up to host this Apprentice-style search for a Young Programme Maker of the Year.

Over the course of six programmes, the 12 people who want to "do" telly are split up into Team A and Team B then tasked with making small features (such as cooking demos for a GMTV-style magazine show) or TV pilots (such as a quiz show) with most of the participants taking turns as the producer. They cajole their team into making some actual contributions to the production process, no doubt with the aid of Pret sandwiches, Paul Frank T-shirts and trendy record bags, while having the brains of Ruth Joseph (former The Weakest Link exec) or Jeremy Salsby (co-devisor of School's Out) to pick.

At the end of each programme, Greg looks at the finished results and does the hiring and firing. Since 12 into 6 goes not go, often there are multiple firings, but equally sometimes others are given a second chance at Greg's whim so the pacing was both uneven but quite fair. Often the second chances had strings attached - as in "I'll let you stay, but next time you have to be the runner".

The episode on game shows was a salutary lesson in how not to do a game show. The hired host (Jeremy Beadle Esq.) was left on his own in the green room while the potential producers squabbled over fixing the format, meaning that for most of the pilot Beadle has to improvise rules himself on the hoof to get through it. Best of all, the jackpot question of "What does Bafta stand for?" had the wrong answer (Arts and Awards being confused) even though the researcher responsible had supposedly checked it. Where's Watson when you need him?

Originally earmarked to broadcast in primetime on E4, after quite some delay this turned up as part of C4's morning 'Schools' strand. The winner got a year's contract with Graham Norton's company So Television, meaning that the winner's placement was almost finished before the show aired.


Gina Lyons

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