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Read this: The Rehabilitation of Channel 5

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The Rehabilitation of Channel 5…



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and this is fine 1997 and an exclusive performance by the Spice Girls announce the arrival of Channel 5 is and a fluorescent light of Pop musics biggest stars were a perfect fit with Channel 5 mission to be Modern and mainstream by the modern and Ben something rather different Italian swingers Essex girls on location and pornstar standing up for their rights of porn movies come a regular Friday night sleep and the thrust of the Daily Mail rechristened the station channel Phil

Questions in the House of Commons at the National Trust and last month the Royal television society changed it to be channel of the year and on my way back across the river.

I find it hard not to be transfixed by the traffic police station busy intersections to looking at your CV your employment history and television repairs to begin in 1990 with an eye quote for Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan on ITV This Morning tell us more, how did that come about?

Maybe £8 for the Cook costume and in freelance world nobody pays you on time this is an opportunity to six months.

I thought it was an amazing experience.

I would be in the makeup room every morning when they would come in the show and sticky back together again and rewrite the links and change the running order and give a produces a pat on the back or a hard time whatever was appropriate and I learnt so much from hearing their conversations in the morning and in the afternoon.

I would put some suits in the main production room with these people doing news stories and topical issues and turning and what you said about you.

Liverpool and they used to fly the guests and a little plane from any of incidents and they had often been on camera you know what your handbags is about you or how to Feng Shui your house or different ways you just had to keep the audience engaged and I think it's taught me so much in terms of connecting with you as filling time making anything items and about television production and what do they teach you about whether you wanted to be in front of camera.

Can I found in a cupboard my showreel with a sticker on it saying the short bald guy from this morning.

Not very us and I thought

I mean I simply do not have the constitution to be able to take rejection and I I do think if you want to be in front of a camera.

You are a very brave person to be able to put up with criticism and take rejection and Ireland very early on that have a power rather than the famed because then I could call The Shots and no one could tell me that I was or wasn't good enough.

It's interesting you mentioned that you came for a heritage making costumes your favourite grandfather of miles, but the Mermaid theatre and made movies and wrote and directed my grandmother did all the groundwork for building the theatre and directed and wrote my mother was an actress and writer and an artist my real father was a writer my stepfather was a writer and work in my sister stage manager.

Turn my sister is doctors on the BBC I hate going to the incredibly uncomfortable and it didn't really do it for me.

I never wanted to perform but what I do think I've got was somehow ability to know what viewers or an audience want you know not technically proficient in television works.

I've never been trained in a certain kind of genre.

I don't know what is or isn't specialist factual too many ways but when I hear an idea.

I think an idea which take a step back and positioned in a way that will connect with viewers.

I think why you're outside as stated somewhat difficult back to particular context of Channel 5.

Go back to you for a second as a boy from the actual family who went to comprehensive in North London with making costumes for Judy Finnigan in the government department the costume department whose stomach got bigger tutorial ideas what to get involved in being a producer and a few weeks ago and said let them have their 5-minutes and I think that it is I'm a great believer in using it to drive me and I need something to fight against the part of part of most of the motor brandy and the reason that we.

Is that there's nothing like having a chip on your shoulder and I got a chip on my shoulder and I want to prove the naysayers and the doubters and the people who look down their noses at Channel 5 look.

How good we are look what we do.

Look who we attract onto the channel.

Look at our ratings and we achieve a fraction of what you have a very intrigued to hear a very senior executive in British TV talk about having a chip on their shoulder come from exactly.

I don't know I feel the all creative people are inherently vulnerable and insecure.

I don't deal in widget.

I deal with I deal with program ideas in creation and what will it look like and what does it sound like in who would front it, and what will it make us feel like?

What will you want to watch after we've been through this crisis and so much of your on the 947 on Christmas day, daily reminder of whether you have or haven't succeeded I remember I don't have one because when I was a Channel 4 and we made Jamie's kitchen with Jamie it was nominated for every single award and it lost all these functions and details with Jamie Oliver and Daisy Goodwin and Peter Moore going we got this one of the bag.

We've got this one in the bag and you'd lose again.

I thought the room is due to the fact that we keep before we get onto what you've done.

I think it's

TV Channel 5 I do when I will question about you because you're probably unique among senior executive British TV a practicing Buddhist you can't every morning this morning about simply to reveal motherhood and to inspire entertain and inform the listeners to the universe as a way of coping with her degenerative disease and I use it as a way of just 10-15 minute what kind of focusing on the day and a great believer in the Universal Credit limit the power of the Universe I charged for the deceased everyday I tried to.

I'm not exactly an effect and I do believe in states of life and I do believe that the universe is an enormous in normal things.

We cannot control and that.

You know the things I've recently been very big on his gratitude if I could have something yesterday about two years now.

Thanking the universe for what you have rather than more incredible.

What comes back when you say thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you for whatever so I'm at the very grateful person.

I got two ratings to me.

Thank you for your time and channel 5 programmes in 7 years carnage in a real lack of clear Direction nobody would have been at the helm of ship for long enough to make any difference huge deals 32 part series NCIS CSI The Mentalist

Persons of interest things like that were playing in prime time to prove that the people who wouldn't let me go back in 2016 and so I wanted to get my revenge is a dish best served with the second.

I saw this wonderful blank canvas that was irresistible.

You could do so much with this channel for a channel.

How much is the shuttle I felt as a public service broadcaster? It was very important that we had all genres across our portfolio in a drama comedy specialist factual history features documentary.

We really didn't need to demonstrate that we were playing with the big boys on the front of the team and I said as far as I'm concerned with digital channel and take on ITV2 and or we can prove that we are right good as if not better than our fellow public service broadcaster, ITV and Channel 4 and I believe that's where we should go and to what extent was the Notorious quote from Dawn Airey Channel 5 first ever director of programs such as misquote.

About the three films football and the word beginning with F that I won't mention but do you think that quote all the the the the program in which you are responsible for creating a reputation which you spent most of the past 7 years trying to undo to make anything worse than when I came back about ratings because you need a bums on seats is about revenue because we are a commercial broadcaster totally market reputation and every program that we commissioned.

I wanted it to either be reputationally good for us or a big ratings generate and your when you came back the person who interviewed I imagine up in the Northern and shell building in.

London close to the river was Richard Desmond what was the first thing he said to you when he met you and I said yes and I'm a short post that I'm very good at my job with a very offensive term.

How do you find an exhausting and exhilarating months that I had working with him now because it would it was an absolute roller coaster ride and emotion you went from the table and chair for Channel 5 on a silver salver delivered by the Butler and open the rating for me.

Look at me across the boardroom table and you know have I failed have I succeeded.

Taking him on not being a afraid of him not being intimidated by him.

We got on fantastically well and still I still touch base with people that to me on some programs that we did and I found him to be a boss that was very competitive very driven probably my favourite Richard story of the project Ferrari week, when challenged me and the team to beat Channel 4 across a week and he said if you cross a week, which would never done I buy a Ferrari and I went down and ripped off the schedule.

We created a whole load of the programs.

We launched the week is called Lauren you send me a text to going if you want that you have put your foot on the accelerator by the end of the week.

We had beaten Channel 4 by 0.0.

1% invited to go to your Brompton Road to the Ferrari dealer and Tuesday Ferrari what colour is it? It was black and I didn't take Ferrari it became pretty clear that it would be nice if I did and it was a team effort.

I'm a real believe it in the two of them.

I love them and they put up with me and I swear I thought actually it will be devices within the team so I decided not to take the Ferrari Ferrari this extraordinary statistici 2019 Channel 5 was the only PSV public service broadcaster to grow its share of abc1 viewers in fact nearly half of your peak time audience is now abc1.

What's the matter if you needed does what class your viewers are so keen to upmarket viewers were the most upmarket us are worth the next amount and Joe Bloggs is is worth the least I buy demo you mean demographics against Mail private railway, so that means it's a little bit older generally speaking so that would quite well against the soap operas on the other really commission on a specific market demographic and down Market demographic a young demographic.

I've always felt.

You know I like I like big volumes that you are likely to attract some upmarket people and some down you know young people and I like all of you and if you have you have you have attracted a lot more views including a lot more up-market views, what's a secret? What what's the what's the magic sauce the Ben flowers got in commissioning don't know I don't know I just don't last year.

I wanted to do a lot of programme 50-year on about people taking control of their lives and moving to remote countries and a remote parts of Britain and being self-sufficient and I thought it was all to do with it wasn't it was just a

Reliance on which Big Brother very off-putting for your viewers it attracted a younger demographic was very valuable, but the only one way and that is down and very hard try and reinvented and reposition it on my first 2013 best ever all about The Long Game feeling inside my god.

I hope it is about the long game and I can make this one works.

Otherwise.

I'm going to help and and then it just it just had its time it was over it's like flogging something with it.

Just needed in need to go and in order for us to grow in order to Channel

To have different genres into find more space to schedule in the show them free of money.

I needed to Lose It Was 17 weeks of the year.

It was taking up too much and it was no get out of jail card.

That's all the problems created more problems with very hard.

Very hard to get rid of it.

There's a very non-metropolitan.

Feel to your schedule who do managing your viewers are and where they live and you know I do believe we really know the biggest audiences in Yorkshire second biggest city in Scotland with a lot of Yorkshire programs are like we are unpretentious.

We are yellow sun rewarding intelligent but we're not we're not left to feel you're not too clever by half.

Alienating we're not we're not we're not looking down and argue as we know what they like and we give them what they want and if they like Yorkshire programs and I'll give them or Yorkshire programs and if they like dogs.

I'll give them more dogs and if they like history programs which they do will give them more history program.

You will try different things we try property a couple of times and Channel 5 it just doesn't work for us.

That's fine.

So we listen to dictate where we should go.

We will often entice them with something that is slightly unusual for them or slightly different and in fact if you look at it taken by the hand and lead them into a whole new world.

So they're not intimidated by us there not a frightened of us.

They don't feel that we're too clever by half.

This on this journey and if they don't like it.

We move on.

What is it about your award-winning cruising with Jane McDonald the a works and be encapsulated Ben frow Channel 5 is all about so you can look a program like rich people were at that time really entertaining viewers BBC2 Channel 4.

What is our take on it and I was planning on doing a show with Richard and Judy but they couldn't do it in the end, but if you put Eamonn and Ruth on to lifestyles of the rich and famous.

You've got one of them looking at how they live and the other undercutting it go but look how many stairs you got to sleep.

Turn the customer service or that's the way you've got rich people that we know work a man who was Sky News in this morning Ruth who was this morning and that could work and Jane McDonald cruising work on other channels.

How can we give cruise into our viewers? I literally I literally went to a boat and at the end of the song that is called cruising with Jane McDonald and you know that you can't have the song USP this time a 7-day sale around the Mediterranean

Very me program at a very very proud program.

It's straight down the line warm-hearted.

It's funny.

It makes you laugh.

It makes you cry it take you to places.

You don't think you'll get to see the just that bit of Mexico and you can sing along the gaps in the schedule at the moment Saturday night.

Is it weekday evenings? Where are the gaps have been proud right now thinking he is a little opening his opportunity for us to exploit the been really good at weekends have been very difficult currently much tougher weekends and days of the week in all this lots of Fantastic competitor to Good Morning Britain and BBC breakfast in the morning that are 600 hours of kids television.

Yeah, I concentrate my main money on news and current affairs news and then 8:00 9:00 sum of 10 and a couple of pieces of weekend because of course we still require and programs are not even even when you're clever with the money programs are not cheap and you have to divide your budget up into however many slots and that gives your target price.

So you know the price for 9 if I want to spend a lot of money on a program.

I Gotta Find other programs that we can make for less.

I've got the money and that is just the Way It Is any business you can only spend what you've got so I think you know you crack Monday night finally and then.

Get 7-days a week at work the object of the game is to try and get 6 days a week, but better than one failure the implication of your racing successes, is that they chipped away at the lead that have your competitors have what do you think of channel four's positioning and it's creative chief in cats.

I don't think it's fair for me to comment on on on on my rivals I have my personal motivations.

No no I I know it's hard for the commercial channels, ITV and Channel 4.

Revenue share prices etc, etc even the pressure of what are people going from one to watch in 9 months time.

You've got the pressure of trying new programs which then don't work and being semi-public Lisa the Frog for you know not not delivering rating tool for having taken a risk that doesn't work out and there are not many people you can really share the experience of running a channel with controllers apart from the Edinburgh festival when we will have to do a debate together.

We spend no time together.

We have different tones for different budgets different employee number's you know we have the smallest the smallest number of Staff but we all share a common issue, which is a whole new world.

That is changing day by day by day.

We are important public service broadcasters and we have a lot of pressure.

Be nice to just be able to share experiences that we have a Good Times Bad Times challenging times for a reminder that we're not alone.

There are other people in the same in the letter that you got lined up for prime time this week.

There's a Feelgood vibe about it.

Look easy watch documentaries the NBC do very true crime series doesn't pay before 10 p.m.

Why is that?

What's the most sure if you've got you can't go to dark in my opinion before 10 the schedule that you have every Tuesday at 5 about 12 of us huddle together and we get to see what BBC and ITV and Channel 4 and the other digital channels are planning to show and we have about 24 hours and which to bed down the schedule of programs out if everybody else is doing if everybody else is going at weekends, then we're not going to that weekend, so we know that we have a call after having a BBC and ITV generally have that that position and so we work very hard on trying to provide an alternative to the other channel.

And I do think at the moment.

There's a total issue about what we should and what we shouldn't do we've got some programs which have been finished are not caught up in the knockdown scenario, but would it be appropriate to pay them? Just instinctively wrong and often we look at the schedule.

I don't know the internet, but you know what that 9 just doesn't feel right coming after 8.

I don't know what it is, but it's just not working for me.

I feel uncomfortable and very clever people in the team come up with different ideas and we put together that I think does work.

So there is quite a lot of feel good at the moment on Channel 5 will try to be positive with playing a lot of new content.

We don't really going to repeat if we can possibly help it albeit there is a big issue with you.

No content in the pipeline of content thanks to the current crisis, but I do believe you know we've worked hard to get.

And we really care about so for all the issues facing my job has to be to put together a schedule that is as rewarding as possible for the viewers who choose to turn turn to channel 501 extend.

You repurpose and re fashion shows that have been rating hits repurposing going on if you think about it.

I could repeat or I can repurpose some programs you can't you Purpose are you think if you if you've done a series which has a lot of footage and a lot of unseen footage and you have the opportunity of taking that footage and telling a different with all-new bits in it that would be it would be wasteful not to be sensible like that.

We are you know there's a lot smaller than our competitors.

Really smart transmission part of the structure of the changing my role at Channel 5 and laughter Comedy Central on MTV Nickelodeon as well as the Channel 5 and my 5 and 5 connected digital channels is to look at content and go how can we get the maximum value from this content because the world is constantly changing and you've got your restaurant in your Avon and your robots and you got me what's going on.

It's a whole world of new and a whole world of you.

No change to a certain extent.

I put my head down into the sand and I go about content of the end of the day you strip away how you watch it or where you watching? What are you watching? Why are you watching it and concentrate on is it a good idea and what life can it have beyond Channel 5? You know whatever?

Proven for my5 is drama in a drama and it's also expensive but you put that every program has its role to play Every program brings a benefit of the schedule and commission for 9 and 9 so I made four episodes of it.

It did ok, but not brilliantly I was advised that maybe we should cancel it and I think it's a lot about who I wanted to be of the people for the people by the people with a phrase that shows that ended up being.

And now I've got program for didn't work 2 years ago and then bring that back in I rework it slightly different day at a different time hun.

You ordered something becomes a big success the new series of Ben Fogle make a new life in the country was originally made 4 years ago.

I said let's see whether the country visit them.

Let's get Ben Fogle to voice it over and better agreed and this year sometimes just sometimes and sometimes.

It's just an idea which is extremely time across the whole of the media industry particularly for the thousands of Dollars of the freelancers to work in the industry.

Contracts in pocket and you mention that the content pipeline programming budget by 150 million going to fellow almost 100 play the new Total budget.

This is a desperate time for the industry.

How bad are you going to be affected the future looks like I'm glad we're actually lead channel most of our programs are factual and that I think is slightly easier to control cholesterol and drama and entertainment to think of any more challenging concerned that a what television is going to look like in 6-months time.

I don't know where we're going to go.

I do know is I don't want to look like all the programs have been filmed during a crisis so we have got big issues about what kind of programs we can make what kind of programs we thought we were.

And then you think about what can you do instead but I do think that content is critical we are providing a service to viewers to the country at this time and I would hate us to sort a full behind the S4 to know people huge amounts of money because we were unable to function so I think it's been in any way at all.

It is probably the most creative broadcaster and at the Independent companies have ever had this is a time really deep and go I know we can't go to wind down planning on doing what can we do? What is an alternative? How can we still be creative all beard?

Current limitations and delimitations down the line although maybe not a strong and I think in a way in a way we were born for this channel 5.

Where are scrappy bunch of people you know with very small team.

I have nine commissioners small acquisitions team does back 30 people who sit around me were always looking up the schedule and trying to make it better.

We're always commissioning a 10 days notice to put something in quickly.

We're always looking at something something something up and turn it into two parts is really strong.

We want more time to tell if you know this is what we do and what the crisis has done is kind of this is what we do.

Deal with in the best possible way, we can extend is being own now by viacom CBS massive American conglomerate rather than Richard Desmond off you some protection during this crisis global footprint.

I don't get involved.

You know not being on the shop floor in the trenches kind of guy and I concentrate on my job the best way, I can help viacom CBS through what we're all going through at the moment is put the nose to the grindstone look across my portfolio and go are we being the best we can be how can I keep us going best as possible to come out of this?

With some great content with a new Direction and I and I tried all the rest of the noise because that's all I can do you know I'm not clever.

I'm not I'm not going to be able to make something has happened, but what I can do is give 100% to a job.

I did care about and 4 channel input channels that I really care about and just last week.

We will get through this and we will be stronger for it.

We do homework on this show bedroom TV in preparation for this interview and they all said that there was just one central question for Ben flower and that was what you going to do next they all said he's proved himself a Channel 5 in the big the big talk in the media.

Industry is what will he go on to do after Channel 5?

Or even approached or even even hinted at another job in the 7 years.

I've been a Channel 5 email and it's cool.

I love the job.

I do I've never been about career trajectory.

I've always been to be the best.

I can be relevant and prove that I deserve the job.

I have never wanted to use a job as a stepping stone to somewhere else for a job interview.

I've never applied for a job.

I would want to go for a job and not get it so I wait and one day maybe the phone or would you be used to do you know what my stomach will start chatting.

I'll go you knew where I could get my teeth into that that would excite me.

Opportunity to go on a creative journey to transform love taking things that are not working the best.

They can be and transform them decided.

I would stay and take on MTN Comedy Central because I believe there are two very important brands, and I think it could be a great creative journey repositioning and new generation for New World might not succeed but I'll give it my best shot so I love my team.

I love Channel 5 and love what we do and how we work and how we care about each other so much better and smarter than myself and I was always told that the best way to succeed.

You don't have to know all the answers just surround yourself with people.

Who do I love and power in people and love people to prove me wrong.

I can do that when I try and I'm very happy where I am 1 days, but I'm not looking for one.

Thank you very much indeed for your time today.


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