The Production, The Presenter and The Press

Fern does the splits

The Motivation for Today’s Blog Post

The Production Team

You have a brainstorm, develop ideas you hope will be entertaining to an audience that’s seen it all before and if you’ve got a brave producer, and an even braver presenter, they’ll suggest you give the idea a spin on the next live show.  If you don’t try out a few daft ideas you are doomed to making dull television.  The budgets in daytime are so tight you probably won’t get a chance to try the idea out beforehand or even rehearse it. But God forbid we stop taking those risks. Without them we are turning out widgets on a production line.

OK, your idea might not be the most original – good chance it won’t be original at all (see, but you get full marks for giving it a go. With Britain’s Got Talent heading back to the small screen, why not do a piece on the public showing off their minor talents?  And at least your presenter is game enough to trump the lot of them with her own party piece.

The Presenter

So the lovely Fern Britton, one of the best television hosts you could hope to work with, one of the most genuine, real, kind and generous presenters this side of the screen, agrees to demonstrate her party piece in an item about party pieces. She bravely does the splits on live television – and she looks SENSATIONAL!

Fern has always been flexible. She’s demonstrated this wonderful ability of hers to bend her body in enviable ways a few times before – on ‘This Morning’ for example, when she was considerably heavier than she is now.

Good on her.  She goes the extra mile to give the production team extra value. She’s a team player.

Apart from that she gives hope to 50+ women everywhere with the message that it’s never too late to get fit, look after your body and make the most of your looks and your abilities.  Journalists have been extolling the virtues of getting older for some time.  It’s the current trend – the baby boomers are reaching their 50’s but unlike their parents they’re not settling into slippers and grey rinses.  Many a mature celebrity is upheld as an inspiration to us all – Madonna, Christine Brinkley and the rest of them, looking fitter, younger and more energetic than they did twenty years ago.

So why shouldn’t Fern, she who has been the public face of everywoman for decades, do the same without the fear of ridicule?

The Press

Because such features provide fodder for the kind of press that loves to put down that sort of harmless nonsense. TV reviewers and columnists just love the dancing dogs kind of story in a multi-item daytime show, especially when it sits in close proximity to a heart-warming interview with someone battling against the odds. How easy to point out the lightweight and its contrast to the serious.

But the press don’t focus simply on the programme itself; they will more likely aim for the presenter.   The presenter provides a good picture for the editorial and the more popular the personality the more chance of attracting attention from newspaper-buyers.

Most presenters, especially the more experienced, understand this comes with the territory. Like other celebrities in the public eye, they hold their breath waiting for that unflattering shot to appear on the front page of a tabloid or magazine, pray that no-one digs out the skeleton in their closet and plans for the day they have to defend a chance remark that causes a storm.

The Personal View

A pox on Mary Gold whoever she is, writer of the article. A pox on fellow columnist Amanda Platell while we’re at it for her previous public digs! Can they do the splits and look that good? Can they look that good full stop? Guessing not.

And guess which tabloid provides the closest newspaper equivalent to daytime television content? Yes, you guessed it – The Daily Mail. They’ve never been shy of serving up thin content for the sake of an easy story, nor of exaggerating the unlikely to garner more readers.

Pot. Kettle. Black.

……..Oh, and for the record, the ratings for ‘Fern’ on Channel 4 are rising not falling.

…….Oh, and the lesson for today for aspiring and existing members of television production?  Remember it will be your presenter’s name on the front of the article not yours. So if your presenter turns down your ‘brilliant’ idea which involves them swinging from a chandelier on live television, take a moment to understand why – but NEVER give up suggesting those idea!


  • ….Oh, and the gastric band thing? Get over it. Move on! Find a new story! Such tired, lazy journalism – just regurgitating the same old lines…..

  • liam says:

    Good for you Shu, and Fern of course!

    Lot more ‘pro’ than ‘anti’ comments on the Mails own website which might be worth mentioning to Fern if she hasnt already spotted?

    When we having that coffee/lunch btw?!

    liam xx

  • Phillip Schofield, David Cameron and THAT List | So You Want to Work in TV says:

    […] Otherwise entitled, The Production, The Presenter & The Press Part 2   (part one is here!). […]

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