Wednesday, 12 November 2008

POEM 8: Now You Have Power

Now you have the power
I am coming in and closing in
Now you have the power
I feel my ideas resurfacing

Now you have the power
I'm needing you to believe in me
Now you have the power
Ben G we have something special
burning away

Five and me and you will be so
blown away, torn away
Five and me and you will be so
special and totally invigorating!

Now I have the power
you will come to me in your special specs
Now I have the power
of amazing transformational programming ideas
Now I have the power
you will lunch with me and I will lunch with you
Now I have the power
you will beg me to give you my brightest clues!

I will save you from desperate mess
the weakest clues, the weakest links
Ben G we will rule
those sacred slots, those terrestrial blues
Ben G we will ride
the highest mountains that we can climb
Ben G we will be
on top of the greatest TV mutiny!!

Friday, 13 June 2008

The Soiree invite

From: The Headmistress
To: 'Sue Murphy'; 'Elaine Bedell'; 'Lisa Edwards'; 'Tanya Shaw'; 'Smith, Layla'; 'Julie Gardner -Wales Drama'; Alannah Richardson; Deborah O' Connor; 'Tessa Ross'; 'Alex Mahon'; 'Janice Hadlow'; 'Dorothy Byrne'; 'Dominique Walker'
Cc: Liz Warner; 'Lucy Lumsden'
Sent: Sun 13/06/2008 14:56
Subject: The Soiree


I thought it might be fun to hold an evening for girls who work in TV. Everybody is welcome so long as they are female.

No agenda beyond shoes, handbags and a little light gossip. No Tupperware, no sex toys and absolutely no pitching. I suppose for the more serious among us it would be a chance to talk about the work life balance, glass ceilings and the dearth of straight single men in the industry.

I was going to hold the first one at the Headmstress HQ in West London. But if it works we will do future ones somewhere in central London. How does Wednesday July 2nd work for everybody. 7-9??

I will be knocking up a few things for us to eat from Delia's new How To Cheat book, and my husband has kindly offered to serve us drinks whist we relax and chat in the drawing room. He wears a pinnie rather well, you'll be pleased to know.

I can't wait to see you all.

TV's Favourite Headmistress xx

It's been a tough list to draw up, but I think you'll agree I've gone for the absolute pinnacle of ladies who hold positions of power in this male-dominated world of television ruthlesness.

Let me explain a few of my choices to you. First up, I didn't want it to feel like I was just drawing on my contemporaries (who own their own companies, are in direct competition with me to grab commissions, etc). So I've limited those girls to just Liz and Alex. (Alex doesn't really count because she's a numbers girl; Liz and me go back way some, and besides I know she'll be rolling drunk after half an hour so will pose no positive threat to me once the conversations get serious).

Everyone else is a commissioner or a controller, or both. I'm a little worried, however, at how the hard-nosed whisky-drinking Dorothy Byrne will 'blend' with the utterly gorgeous but a little bit delicate Layla from ITV. I have a worry dear readers that those two *won't* see eye to eye on those important things I want us to focus on (shoes, earings, holiday destinations, etc). But so be it. I might just have to pre-brief my old deputy and get her to play the polite go-between, thus to avoid any fracas.

POEM 8: Tease Me Tease Me Tease Me

Tease me
tease me
tease me
tease me
Till I lose control
Tease me baby till I lose control

Pinch me
pinch me
pinch me
pinch me
Till I lose control
Pinch me baby till I lose control

Smack me
smack me
smack me
smack me
Till I lose control
Smack me baby till I lose control

Over my boy and soul


Monday, 7 April 2008

Tampon TV


This morning, just to prove to you how little I need Arthur, that skulking, brooding judas who recently left to join StudioLimpet, I have coined a brand new phrase to describe the aspirational TV output I am going to make in 2008: Tampon TV.

It's warm, it's emotionally enagaged and intelligent, but it can also be raw and bleeding if I need it to be

(If you don't believe me, just witness the end of my new BBC3 varicose vein removal format for obese teens.....)

I am really confident that I can be the main exponent of this new type of lifestyle television - and have the likes of Ben G eating out of my lilly-white manicured palm. Which reminds me, I simply must make sure I am the first person Ben calls when he's looking for big glossy feelgood factual to fill his schedules next year. A couple of D&Ds (dinner and drinks) at Claridges should do the trick.

Before I go, here's my favourite tampon-inspired poetry by the marvellously talented Julie Hull

Love and Maxipads,

HM xxx

Sunday, 30 March 2008

The Boy Who Stops The Rain

Good news dear readers, Yusmany the beautiful peasant rain child I was telling you about finally arrives from Venezuela next week thanks to some seed money from Andy Mac.

As soon as he gets to rainy England (!) I'll pop him on a National Express coach up north to start filming a pilot for my new hit idea The Boy Who Stops The Rain, Channel 4's answer to Springwatch and Jesus of Nazareth.

[Lucky people of Rotherham you can see him perform his naked rain-dance at the Wickersley Working Men's Social Club Tuesday afternoon. Tickets are only a fiver. Senior citizens can get in for half price. Anyone who works for the MET office can take advantage of the buy 2 tickets get 1 free special offer.]

It's just a pilot dear readers, so you may never see the results. But when the series is eventually greenlit (who could live with themselves by turning it down?) and Yusmany becomes a national hero in Rotherham, I will have him visit other dreary places like Huddersfield, Wigan, Cleethorpes, Swansea and then finally Horsham-on-Sea to wave his magic weather wand to stunning results.

I am so excited at the prospect of this happy super weather-bending child making it as a bonafide star in this country that I have already trademarked his name so as to protect him from the capitalistic cynical vultures who will no doubt be circling him. Yusmany™ could be the brand that launches a thousand umbrellas and even wakes up the nation on BBC Breakfast with his weather map reading skills. With his dashing latino looks (hands off - he's mine, I say!!!) who knows where the height of his fame will take him?

In anticipation of our great success together I have already jotted down a rain inspired poem that we could co-publish together and release to promote the series....


When a storm begins in the clouds,
it sometimes may look frightening.
You see a quick electrical spark -
Flash! goes the lightning!

Long and thin and streaky and fast,
its glow is oh so brightening.
Watch for the electric spark -
Flash! goes the lightning!

When a storm begins in the clouds,
it truly is a wonder.
You hear a rumble loud in the sky -
Clap! goes the thunder!

Lightning bolts are heating the air,
over clouds and under.
When the air expands enough -
Clap! goes the thunder.

The Headmistress xxx

Monday, 24 March 2008

Planning a Soirée

Dear Ladies (but only those who work in TV - sorry!)

I'm sure you'll sympathise with me when I say this: I simply haven't enough hours in the day to run a successful independent TV production company, inspire the people around me, pen poems for my new anthology, create life-changing TV formats for a cynical and world weary audience AND run my enormously hectic (but fulfilling) home life.

Just this evening, as I was knocking up a wonky willy organic choccie tart for the kids' lunchboxes tomorrow, I remembered that I still needed to:

1) Double check the aupair had cleaned the mansion properly and ironed my sexy powersuit for work tomorrow
2) Write a thousand words for The Spectator on the subject of 'female circumcision'
3) Watch as much of Hamish's output on my Sky+ as I possibly can before our meeting this week
4) Write a few letters (by hand, of course!)
5) Not to mention entertain my husband with the freebie naughty Ann Summers gear my Deputy Headmistress had managed to get from that silly Sex Coaches for the Over-50s format I've got in with C4.

(sigh) We females in TV have so much to deal with on our plates.

Yes, I know I can't complain having made a few sexy pounds being the all-singing, all-dancing, all-dieting, all-world conquering creative television entrepreneur that I know I am, but nothing compares to how limited and held back we are in this dreadful industry compared to men.

Not only are we expected to take care of our husbands, wash and feed our kids, flirt with channel controllers, pour over the women's weeklies to originate knock-out creative ideas for a female demographic AND suffer the indignity of period pains, but less talented MALE execs simply swan into meetings, wave their winkies in the air and strut away with all the big expensive commissions.

So I have decided that to help us girlies stick together I'm going to throw an exclusive tupperware soiree for the 21st century thoroughly downtrodden and struggling TV lady.

It will be a stress free, all-female friendly evening of wine, song, dance and poetry. I'm sure I can teach a few of them how to knit, and perhaps if all goes well - and after the odd glass of chardonnay - the conversation can turn to important issues like how to balance the work/life dynamic, breaking the glass ceiling, and perhaps most important of all, where have all the sexy, strong, single HETROSEXUAL male researchers gone to?

I know my many critics out there will seize upon this soirée as evidence of an all-female Bilderberg Group of well-to-heel TV execs with nothing better to do than bitch and bemoan their enormously successful and well paid lives, but if the likes of Hincksy and Pete 'Red' Barron can get together and bond over crap Status Quo cover songs, or Grandad Grade can do all his deals during high stakes Texas Hold 'Em poker and cigar nights, then what's stopping me from doing the same??

But who to invite dear reader? I don't want to offend the girlies in TV, but not everyone is important enough to come.

Who do you think should make my RSVP list?

The Headmistress x

Sunday, 2 March 2008

POEM 7: Hamish my Hero!

Dear Reader,

For some reason my BlackBerry was not working whilst we were in North Africa, so I had missed the important news that the man they call 'the History boffin' has been appointed to run the Channel 4 documentary team overseeing the other super-clever boys and "Ms" Angry Mulvey.

To be totally honest, I am deeply worried about having to deal with a man who stole away my Deputy Headmistress earlier in the year, and someone who frankly looks like he should be running a provincial library rather than a cutting edge documentary department. This unfashionable bit of Channel 4 simply has no glamour, what with Meredith's farmer market cardigans and Simon's ill fitting chino trousers. From what I've seen Hamish actually dresses worse than dear old Angus McQueen ever did - which takes some doing!

Ivan, my financier has set me strict goals for 2008 to "diversify my revenue stream" away from the glamour of Sue's features department and to spread my fluffy wings and branch out into other parts of the broadcaster if my business is to survive (hello Andy Mac, have you missed me?! x)

But how can I be seen in the capital's best restaurants with the badly dressed Boffin by my side? What will the chatterring media classes have to say?

Oh well, nothing like a challenge! I remember fondly the last Head of Documentaries who I spent 9 months grooming, letting him wine and dine me, letting him get close to the intoxicating Headmistress midas touch, enjoying me, wanting me, needing me, loving me....

Sigh, now it all starts again:

I want to be your Ocean
I want us to ride the choppy seas
I want to build you a hurricane
of stunts and concepts that will make amazing TV
I want to be your Tsunami
that glistens and makes huge waves and roars
I want to build you a great island
that rocks and pillars all our shores

You challenge the idea of Diana's assassination
I just want to know what she was wearing that night!
You spend time with people like Starkey
I want to know how he'd cope in one of my play fights!
Oh Boffin, oh Boffin I want to dress you
in Hugo Boss and take you out all on my own
To seduce, enthrall and capture you
so we can make documentaries that make us both moan!!


Thursday, 28 February 2008

Hello from Morocco!

Dear Reader

It's half term and I have thankfully swapped the hubub of London for the ethnic delights of Morocco with my 4 demanding children (Herbert, Mathilda, Giselle and Siren), husband Nicholas and Magda, the lovely 19 year old Polish aupair.

Everything was going swimmingly well until we arrived last night in Marrakech to be greated by the world's most horrendous kerfuffle from the balcony of our exclusive riad:

Yes, grown men openly brawling in the street - how very North of England! These people are so aggressive and angry all the time and I think I know why... the traffic. It is so oppressive I cannnot breath somedays from all the exhaust fumes and smog-craziness.

I feel like I am taking my life into my own hands on every sightseeing trip I make (unlike the reassuring safety of driving my own 4x4 back in London, say). This afternoon I even refused to visit the valley of flushing water in Ourika, and instead spent some much needed time rehydrating my tired feet whilst Magda occupied the children.

I am more certain than I have ever felt before that this country desperately needs my help. As I write this, thank goodness my (soon-to-be) award winning congestion series is airing in the UK. Dear, dear, poor people of Morocco, I can help you stop your car related street violence!

For the next 3 months my plan is that everyone - even the tourists - must leave their cars at home and travel in one of these:

I have texted Arthur back in London to dig out his filofax and track down the owner of Radiodiffusion Television Marocaine, Morocco's state television network, and government minister in charge of public transport. This deal I can do on my own, without Ivan or Freemantle's meddling.

Nicholas was furious when he caught wind over breakfast that I needed to "pop out for a quick meeting"

My top lip quivered vulnerably, and I flashed him a bit of cleavage:"But darling cheeks, the people of Morocco desperately need my help!"

He rolled over like a puppy.

Must dash dear reader- I have a special tummy tingle (no, it isn't excitement it must be the mutton and preserved lemon tagine we had for supper last night!)

Much love until next time,

TV's favourite Headmistress xxx

Sunday, 24 February 2008

POEM 6: Kleiny you're so Finey

Hey Kleiny
You're so fine
You're so fine
You blow my mind
Hey Kleiny!
Hey Kleiny!

Oh Kleiny!
What a pity you don't understand
You take me by the heart
When you take me by the hand

Oh Kleiny!
You're so pretty
Can't you understand?
It's guys like you Kleiny
Oh what you do Kleiny, do Kleiny
Don't break my heart Kleiny...

Oh Kleiny!
Why don't we say goodnight
so you can take me home, Kleiny
It'll be alright
If you do Kleiny, do Kleiny
I'll let you get to third base, baby

Oh Kleiny!
Come on and give it to me
anyway you can
If you commission my latest eco series
I'll treat you like a man
Hey Kleiny!
Hey Kleiny!


PS. Best read out loud to this thrilling tune by Toni Basil

Monday, 18 February 2008

Making myself cry

I'm in the office early today, and to start this sunny and bright week off I am about to reveal a secret to you dear loyal readers... I have an extraordinary gift. You see, sometimes, when meetings are going particularly badly and I feel stressed, or someone is threatening to unravel me for all and sundry to see and pick apart, I am able to turn on my waterworks.

Yes. Like most good, honourable women out there, I too can cry on demand. It is the last word in power us women have when dealing with emotionally-stunted male creatures: they just cannot deal with seeing our mascara all smeared, and our blood-red cheeks flushed after a heavy bout of weeping. They collapse and give in. It is often a gorgeous moment in my day if I have to resort to this final act to get my own way.

I cannot tell you how many uncomfortable situations I have been able to escape thanks to My Gift.

My Gift allowed me to escape the furore that surrounded that awful historical parenting show (even though I made Marsha take the brunt of the nasty, bullying criticism)...

My Gift gave me the neccessary financial boost from Lloyds investment when I needed it the most after going it alone three years back....

My Gift made Ben Frow feel really, really guilty after he shouted at me down the phone during the second series of Grand Designs and threatened (rather stupidly) to decommission it....

I simply can't imagine how I would have reached this lofty perch without my extraordinary gift. It is something rare that makes us strong women stand out in this sometimes cruel and cynical world where men dominate and rule.

So thank god I have mastered this uniquely feminine art right down to a tee.

yours, sniff sniff (!),
Love The Headmistress

Friday, 15 February 2008


One of the dilemmas dear reader I face almost hour-by-hour when I'm behind my desk at work is this: what kind of mineral water should we, as a progressive, caring, youthful and ethical production company, be sipping?

When a commissioning editor decides to grace our boardroom for one of those "face-time sessions", what *will* they be thinking if we just serve up bubbly Perrier or plain-old Evian? I know what I would be thinking if I were in their shoes...

So late last night, just before she was about to leave for the day and go on some Valentines "date" with a boy-runner she had recently met (don't you just *adore* young love - so sweet!), I got the new junior researcher-thingy to spend a couple of hours ringing round some of the top sommeliers in the capital to ascertain just what waters they were serving to their discerning clientel.

Based on her multimedia powerpoint presentation first thing today, I have decided upon this.

I know you'll all be thinking, gosh that's terribly expensive, and yes, dear reader, it is.

But by god it will be worth it.

I don't transform people's lives for the better whilst sipping on 69p Evian you know!!

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Happy St Valentine's Day dear readers

Happy St V's my dear readers. I hope you find (like I did!) the person you are looking for in your life. My husband has given me 4 beautiful children and I feel truly blessed today. This time of year is one for renewing our love vows and making new ones with the person in the photocopy room (or the boardroom!) who has caught your eye.

When I feel particularly unloved and I'm having an off day (it does happen sometimes you know!) I often lock myself away in the warm, safe embrace of the Headmistress's office and stroke my collection of published poetry anthologies.

As this is a special day, I wanted to share with you my favourite Valentine's poem by the marvellous and talented Myra Cohn Livingston:

If you won't be my Valentine
I'll scream, I'll yell, I'll bite.
I'll cry aloud, I'll start to whine
If you won't be my Valentine.
I'll frown and fret, I'll mope and pine, and
It will serve you right---
If you won't be my Valentine
I'll scream, I'll yell, I'll bite.


I often feel like this when I fail to inspire people with my latest ambitious television shows. Although you'll be pleased to hear that I have not (yet) actually yelled at or bitten a commissioning editor!

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

How to stop the rain?

As a busy mother of four, published author, TV presenter, and successful businesswoman, I never quite know where my inspiration will strike for my next big television idea.

For example, just this afternoon I was sat in the waiting room for my final smile makeover with Farydon just off Marylebone High Street, flicking though an old copy of National Geographic, only to come across the most heart-wrenching story about a Venuzuelian miracle child who is worshiped as a "raindancer" in his local community. What's more, dear reader, he is just 11-years old!

Think of the power that this dear child could wield on our shores! Maybe I could ask him if he could stop the rain, here in dreary cold England! Imagine the smiles in Streatham, the happiness in Hull, and the merriment in Manchester if this poor miracle child could pull this stunt off.

As soon as I'd finished my final dose of teeth laser treatment I called Meredith and pitched it to him on the phone. He loves the idea and has given me some development money to fly to Venezuela to meet the child.

What a bother. Whatever happened to the good old days when you could call up a commissioning editor and get a commission right there and then??

Oh well, I suppose I could always get one of my team on the plane in a jiffy.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

POEM 5: Andy Pandy

To my dearest Andy pandy
Funny Andy pandy
In your brogues and blue Butlins suit
You are so dandy
Runny-tummy funny Andy Pandy
I'd quite like to nibble on your nostril candy
Spivvy Andy pandy with your cute button nose
And twinkle in your eye
Oh Andy
Pitching Hine's comedy ideas to you makes me feel so randy
Nobody knows
How seeing you in braces
Makes me feel
Makes me feel
Makes me feel
So god damn real.


Right, that should be enough to get me a few C4 comedy commissions in (with or without Sharon Horgan's contribution).

Monday, 11 February 2008

Why is television so aggressive?!

I have just finished a late lunch-cum-early-evening-supper with the adorable and totally cute Ben Gale (gosh, I do hope he gets through the first round of Lisa Opie interviews for the big job at Five - we spent hours talking about the shows I could give him over there!).

He's such a soft, gentle -yet rugged- man that I find it hard when he uses such aggressive language when describing the kind of programmes he needs to be commissioning: "noisy", "shouty" la la la...

Why the need to be "shouty" towards the viewer, I ask dear reader? Isn't it enough that after a hard day in the factory, or what have you, when the viewer returns to her provincial home that she then has to contend with television programmes that are literally SHOUTING at her??

I did my very best to tell Ben G that if he takes the helm at Five then together we can pioneer a totally new branch of television that is much more therapeutic and gentle. That does not bombard the viewer with hammers and sickles. That we gently welcome the hard-working, tired, downtrodden viewer into our world with positive, gentle and totally warm energy.

PS Ben said that if he gets the Five job, he'll move over to wearing contacts. I laughed! No Ben, I said, gently tapping his ankle with my new Marc Jacobs heels, no. It's your glasses that make you approachable yet have the aura of a strong lion...


Friday, 8 February 2008

Hiring a new Number2

Nearly two whole weeks have passed dear reader since I shed tears when my deputy girl decided to become 'poacher turned gamekeeper' (as my Dorset organic butcher might say in his cute, honourable and honest local accent!).

Since then I've not let anyone touch her office. I don't want to see her Ant and Dec-signed photo taken from the wall. I don't want anyone to touch her specially-knitted-by-me charcoal grey mitten gloves.

It is fair to say dear readers that I am in a time of deep mourning. My most pressing concern is that I need to hire a new deputy. Whether this could be a boy or a girl I'm yet uncertain of.

I have heard Alan Brown, ex-BBC, is cheap and available. Plus, being northern and into soccer, perhaps he can add an extra dynamic?

This dilemma reminds me of a poem by Keats. In Ode to Psyche I see a piece of work indicative of Keats's often neglected or misinterpreted take on gender politics.

When I set my company up, I wanted it to feel warm and feminine and soft and gentle. Can a male deputy girl really fulfil that remit, especially given the time I have to be away from my desk doing other important things like writing memoirs, editing new poetry anthologies, or presenting romantic television journals?

As always dear reader, I am partly dependent upon you for help, inspiration and guidance.

What do you think a girl like me should I do?? x

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Have we lost the art of letter writing?

Dear Reader,

From today I am refusing to communicate with commissioning editors via email.

I feel that today's young things can easily press a 'delete' button and 'lose' my precious emails amongst the hundreds of others.

As a nation we've forgotten the pleasure of sending and receiving letters.... the sound of a letter plopping on to the front doormat in the morning, the rush of excitement to decipher the handwriting on the envelope, the tummy-tingling feeling you get when opening it, the sheer joy of holding the paper and nervously scanning the page, absorbing every precious second.

I've decided that the lost art of letter writing should be resurrected. So from today I am launching my new Campaign to "Keep Britain Letter Writing".

I instructed Arthur to stock up on the new G. Lalo range of pearlescent paper, card and envelopes which has a luxurious iridescent sheen, and I penned my first letter to Kev Lygo requesting a humble audience with his great self.

I then wrote to every important commissioning editor in the land and informed them of my plans, inviting them to support me.

Hmmm, thinking about it, perhaps there's a largescale high-impact government funded TV campaign for C4 in this?? I wonder who could front it?

Moi perhaps?


Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Saving the country's pregnant teens

My teenage daughter (from a previous marriage - a long story, best not talked about on here) dragged me to see that film Juno in the cinema last night.

How dreadful!!

I simply cannot believe our teenagers (some in the audience I saw were barely children themselves) are watching films about under-age pregancy and adoption.

These complicated grown up issues are not being given any debate whatsoever on our TV screens, and I personally think this is wrong.

As I sat in the dark auditorium, listening to the dreadful music soundtrack, I started to wonder how we could enagage young people about sexual health issues.

Then inspiration struck: Why don't we have a national Teen Abortion Day??!

E4 would bite my hand off for this idea.... we assemble all the underage pregnant teens in Harley Street under the watchful eye of their parents, and then film them before and after they have a termination, to document how they feel.

I know it is hard hitting dear reader, but not all of my TV ideas are fluffy and throwaway property shows, you know.


Monday, 4 February 2008

Letting my dear children go...

One of the things dear readers that I find so tough and so heartbreaking about my job is releasing my cherished freelance staff from their flexible contracts when their time is up.

This morning, my adorable head of production Helena informed me that I needed to make a decision about the future of Anna, a super bright mid-twenties assistant producer who has been in my protective arms for the past three weeks, working up my new ideas.

Anna has been a total star: her smile has often been the first thing that has greeted me in the morning, often after a fraught drive across town; Her enthusiasm on the odd occasions when I've had her sat in my office, going over her programme proposal drafts with my Prada red pen; Not to mention her willingness to stay late into the night and call American west-coast leg surgeons to see if they would take part in my idea about curing varicose veins.

But I think that Anna needs more than I can give her right now. It pains me to think this, but Anna should go off elsewhere and challenge herself in a slightly different environment.

Plus, I have no more of that £10K that Meredith kindly gave me to look into the varicose vein project left to spend.

Dear reader, I am not in the least bit looking forward to telling Anna that as from tomorrow she has no need to come into these offices.

I will try to inspire her to feel free and full of self-belief. That far from assuming she will spend the next few weeks struggling to pay her rent and watching Neighbours on Five, actually this opportunity is her big chance to branch out and prove to herself again that yes she is WORTH something! Yes that she is LOVED!!

I have the feeling that this latest rejection will be the making of Anna. And I am so, so proud that I have the chance to help her achieve this by letting her go.

Dear reader I feel a whole lot better about the situation now I've shared myself and this slight agony with you.

Thank you for reading me xx

Friday, 1 February 2008

POEM 4: Ideas, prey Ideas

If you are like me, dear readers, you will have realised long ago that true creativity and genius cannot be bottled or bought. The midas touch is something delicate and mysterious.... and so I was inspired this morning - whilst baking Nigella's fab cheesecaklets for breakfast - to share this insight with you of what I feel about the magic of creativity.

Hope you enjoy

Light up my brain
For I am tired and shorn
Where does my inspiration really come from?
How can I feel what I need right now?

I hear a whisper in the sullen darkness
I fear it at first, but then I enter in
and listen intensly.

It is more than a heartbeat
It is more than a stroke of the cane
I feel overblown and flush
An idea is becoming...

And suddenly I am ready to face the world again
Face my children who I nurture through the creative pain
of not having enough ideas when the meetings come thick and very fast

But I feed my children with all the ideas they now need
and I can rest safe and well,
and cycle back off into the deep blue distant sunset

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Hiring more men in the office

Every six months it seems that I have to oversee (from some safe distance I should stress) the appointment of another gorgeously talented wag-type to my beautiful company.

Looking around at my pink wallpaper and fresh Paula Pryke flower arrangements, I suddenly realised that perhaps the office was looking a bit too girly, and that I should be hiring more men. I would hate for anyone to think I descriminated against the weaker species! (they are a bit dumb though aren't they dear reader?!)

I was curious, and frankly, dear reader, a triffle bored this afternoon, so I decided to drop in on one of the interviews for a new office runner person thingie.

Helena, my head of production, was managing the quick fire one-minute interviews with aplomb, fending off any complaints from "poor northerners" who had had to pay £68.70 trainfares, whilst grilling them intensely about why having a first-class degree in Cultural Studies made them any good at brewing a nice pot of green echenacia-enhanced tea for our Tuesday afternoon brainstorms.

One "lad" got my attention though. Named Iain (with an 'I'). He looked a bit like a younger version of Colin Firth. He wore a cream shirt and a pair of thigh-tight drainpipe jeans. He spoke with a strange accent, but it was charmingly northern.

I jumped in during the final 20 seconds of his 'audience with us' (as we like to call it) and asked him what his most embarrassing moment was. To his credit, the poor lad didn't miss a beat, and muttered something about some foam party stunt during his final year at "uni" (ugh!!!!). But at least he said it with grace and a cheeky smile.

As the exhausted Helena stretched back and asked someone to pop out to the off licence and pick us up a nice chilled bottle of Viognier (it was already gone past 5pm), I said: "Hire Iain. I like him."

Job done.


Tuesday, 29 January 2008

A poem a day keeps the doctor away

I like to start my day with an uplifting piece of romantic poetry. It makes me feel so alive, and today I wanted to share this one from the very talented (and gorgeous!) Marsha Hoyt with you, my lovely readers!


Key To My Heart
I had closed the door upon my heart
And wouldn't let anyone in, I had trusted and loved only to be hurt
But, that would never happen again. I
had locked the door and tossed the key
As hard, and as far as I could, Love would never enter there again,
My heart was closed for good.
Then you came into my life
And made me change my mind,
Just when I thought that tiny key was impossible to find.
That's when you held out your hand
And proved to me I was wrong,
Inside your palm was the key to my heart... You had it all along.

- Marsha Hoyt -

Monday, 28 January 2008

My marriage format to change the world

I am dreadfully shocked at how many people get divorced these days, terrible isn't it dear readers? So I started thinking about how we can use the remarkable power of TV to solve the UK's failing relationships...

Could we make a difference??

To start off 08 with a bang, I have asked my lovely and gorgeous development team to come up with a handful of transformational television formats that will help the average couple on the street deal with their heartache and pain.

I feel it is my duty to tell them where to get marriage counselling and how to get back on their feet after the messy divorce.

Still struggling with a a title... What about Wash That Man Right Out of Your Hair or Divorce SOS??

(Which do you prefer dear reader?? x)

Friday, 25 January 2008

The top 5 people on my TV Radar

Don't you find that in the hurly-burly of modern-day life (juggling motherhood, presenting television shows, running a successful business and writing books - and blogs!) it's sometimes too daunting to remember what you need to achieve from the day? I know I do, so here is one of the many lists I've managed to get down on paper this morning to help concentrate the mind.

It's a list of who I want to commission the many exciting and world-changing television programmes I will come up with this year!

1. Ralph Lee
He absolutely loved the poem I wrote about him (I had one of my office junior-types hand-write it up on beautiful Vergé de France lime paper from G. Lalo of Paris and hand-deliver it to him last Wednesday - nice to see the girl's degree in Fine Art has finally come into use here at Wild Flower!).

Ralph has at last shown he is capable of handling a top job, and it's vital he knows he can turn to me for support and inspiration as he boldly plots the future of the channel that is now simply known as "Five" (he has also taken to wearing the most gorgeous brogues I've ever seen on a man in television. Gosh!)

2. Jay Hunt
Jay is a fabulous woman who I am really rooting for once she's back at Television Centre where she rightly belongs running BBC1. I told her that she should never have emigrated to Long Acre in the first place to work at that horrid place, but thankfully all has turned out well for her. I cannot wait to resume our lovely lunches in W12.

3. Meredith Chambers
I've already made my concerns about Meredith's sexuality well known to my friends in the industry, and after Secret Millionaire it is absolutely imperative that he starts treating me more seriously, irrespective of whether he finds me "sexually challenging" or not.

4. Zai Bennett
Whenever I bump into Zai I just want to mother him!! I think he has some very bright ideas and I don't see him running ITV2 for very much longer. Therefore I want to be right there beside him so that he knows that he can turn to me as soon as he gets to run a proper channel.

5. Martin Davidson
I felt for Marty so much during that horrible Queen fiasco last year when he was dragged into the mire thanks to other people's incompetence. He and his wife Janice are such lovely company for supper - we go back aeons when I worked with Janice in the BBC Arts department in the late eighties. Marty is a vunerable puppy at the best of times, and I know he felt like he'd had the life beaten out of him during that traumatic time.

I want Marty to know that I am thinking of him, and especially thinking up some exciting history-based formats to help change his fortunes.

I love how my inspiring TV formats have become like little precious gifts to commissioning editors who have fallen on hard times. They have the power to boost audience share, and transform careers (just ask Ben Frow), and I like to think of them as old fashioned sweeties, called Headmistress Pick Me Ups For Bad Times.


Thursday, 24 January 2008

POEM 3: Beautiful Bald Men in TV

I was walking out of Network Centre today, past a rather large poster of Simon Shaps in reception, when inspiration struck for poem number 3 of my collection of 51 TV love poems.

It is dedicated to all the fearless men who refuse to bow to pressure and wear a fake top rug. Ladies, bald is beautiful, remember that!

To My Beautiful Bald Men
Baldy Shapsy
Billiard Balls a-plenty
Baldy Hincksy
two dozen shiny speckled eggs
Baldy men in TV
I want to shine you
Baldy Captain Jean-Luc Picard
Baldy going where no hairy person can
straight to my heart
Baldy men in TV
like a flock of shaved goose heads
Baldy men in TV
Let me shine you


Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Pitching to the TVC

I spotted TVC way back when he was just a young commissioning editor running the C4 documentary department.

Now, as you may recall dear readers, I'd never ever produced anything for that department before, so I decided to embark on an incredibly productive six month 'wooing' period where I let him wine, dine and flatter me in some of the capital's trendiest restaurants. (I even helped matchmake him, but that's quite a different story!)

I pride myself on my talent spotting abilities and four years on, as I rightly predicted, this young bright thing is running his own channel for real. The trouble is that I'm not entirely sure whether I want to be that closely associated with him anymore.

It isn't because his new channel re-launch is too young and 'itchy' for me (bleaurgh! Don't you just hate that expression of his?!) - no, I just feel instinctively within myself that in 12 months the ever heavily-rotating door to his grand controller's office might be swung into action again.

Dear readers - let me let you into a harsh truth of the struggling independent production community. It often takes up to two years to get one of my fabulous, changing-the-world-type programme formats from idea to television screen for you to sit and enjoy.

That means for me and my fledgling young start-up, I have to invest carefully on who I let commission my fabulous ideas.

Is it worth taking my prize jewel ideas to the weakened TVC? Who else is 'hot' right now???

You watch TV - you tell me dear readers...

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Losing my Deputy

I arrived at work after having my hair coloured at Jo's to be greeted by the most devastatingly crushing news: my deputy prefect has defected to a well know Broadcaster (gasp!)...


Marsha had all the attributes to make a great Executive Producer but why has she abandoned me? Yes I know I might have turned up a teensy-weensy bit late at her wedding last year but I thought she had forgiven me? How could I predict she would betray me like this?

Who's going to edit my proposals now and do all the work that I don't have time for?

There was a dreadful silence in my morning editorial chit-chat with the team. Still desperately trying to understand her jump, I accosted Arthur, my head of Proper Documentaries to get his take on things.

For those of you who don't know him, dear readers, Arthur is a darling man and legend in the television industry. I hired him especially to add kudos and muscle to my factual output for all those snobs who think I can only do makeover shows. Heaven knows what Arthur actually does all day when I'm out pitching to important people, but that's another story.

Anyway, Arthur said "relax my dear" and adjusted his crotch nonchalantly. "Remember, you've a good 'in' now to Horseferry Road."

I gave him a sharp, withering look - as if I need another commissioning editor contact at Channel 4 when I can simply take Julian out for lunch and pitch to him directly! Anyway, what can that Scottish chap who runs the History department really and truly offer me that a dozen other commissioning editors can't??

And how can I seriously be expected to sit across a table from Marsha and pitch her my slate?! This is terribly fabulously unexpected.

Dear readers, I'm feeling dreadfully unloved, I hope you can sympathise with my situation?

With much love,

The TV Headmistress xxx

Monday, 14 January 2008

Prepping for Julian

Next month the darling Julian will be arriving for a one-hour 'chat' with my team and I to outline what he's looking for in 2009/2010.

It is my first chance of the year to inspire him and show off the fabulous new shows I have in my development larder - my stock of organic new formats, the homemade series and educational entertainment stunts that I have been cooking up for some time now (the channel is still very much obsessed by food, so I'm on safe ground here!)

But what should I wear to this important meeting dear lady readers? Please help.... I was thinking about either something from the dilectable Maruyama Keita or is there time to get something from my favourite cutting edge London-based Italian-German-Welsh design concept Unrath Strano.

Maybe I should go in humble with a simple (but yet sexy) off-the-shoulder Cashmere jumper from Ben de Lisi?? I'm sure Julian would like to see me in that...

How incredibly tummy churningly exciting!

Saturday, 12 January 2008

POEM 2: Ralphy Lee I love thee

Ralphy Lee I love thee (especially now you are more important)

You have dry lapels that flutter in the breeze
Your tender hairy chest
Ruffles my purple bruised heart
With your penetrating eyes you see under my vulnerable skin
You are history, baby
Do you have any idea what you do to me?
Take me, baby
Take me
Take me away from here
And together we can be history
Together, baby
at five we can make our dreams come alive
Rule me

Ralphy Lee I love thee


That should do the trick.

Friday, 11 January 2008

6 New Year Resolutions

As you know dear reader I'm never one for following tradition, but during my invigorating Pilates session with Graham today he asked me what my new year resolutions were, and seemed terribly dissapointed when I said I didn't have any.

So I have decided to make six personal pledges to myself this year, and try and to stick to them.

Resolution 1 - Healthy New Me
Next week I'm having Jamie and Jules round for dinner (she still wants to do an interior design show!!) and this might be the perfect time to get his help. I want him to style me a new diet, plant me my own herb garden, de-clutter my fridge and teach me how to blanch vegetables correctly.

Resolution 2 - Wealthy New Me
I was offended to hear that Lauraine Heggessey wants to swallow me back up into Talkback's comfy bosom. How dare she? Who does she think I am? I'm not some minnow of an indie who is 'on the market'. Personally I have my own eye on a couple of niche indies this year...

Resolution 3 - Wise new me
Embrace other people's ideas in development meetings more.

Resolution 4 - Sexy New Me
Every year I grow older, but that should not stop me from feeling sexy inside. This is a young woman's industry and I'm competing against the likes of Camilla Lewis - and at the other end of the scale Lisa Opie - in the glamour stakes. Must learn to become more forthcoming and show off my prize assets -legs, calves, hair, lips etc

Resolution 5 - Stubborn New Me
Must put my foot down more often. I cannot let the likes of Arthur or Marsha dictate to me what my ideas should be about. I'm the one who set up this company not them! I've got to have a stronger inner belief in myself when faced with their negativity and cynicism.

Resolution 6 - Hire Steven D. Wright
Sadly I have realised that I've got no-one in my company who can do down-at-heel entertainment like the way he can. I know he is expensive, over-rated and obnoxious but needs must in the lean years ahead.


Thursday, 10 January 2008

Why does Meredith not fancy me?

Dear Reader, I have a dilemna that has been hurting me now for months.

How can I convince Meredith that he should be taking my ideas of how to change the world more seriously?

He'd never say it to my face, but I know that he looks down at me: looks down at my credentials as someone who isn't clever or intellectual enough to make the kind of television that he wants. It makes me rather sad (and often quite tearful and weepy).

The thing is after the unexpected hit of Secret Millionaire I need him to buy into my unique brand of transformational factual formats. Or more to the point, I need him to buy into the brand of ME. (I think he still holds my Billionaires-save-Ethopia show against me because Dom Walker snatched it from his grasp back in the bad old days, or is it because him and Marsha have a 'thing' that goes back donkey's years...?)

Whatever (I learned that turn of phrase off my teenage daughter!) Unlike a lot of the others, I've had very little success in making Meredith feel special in my company. He doesn't seem to enjoy flattery or my moves to take him out somewhere intimate for dinner. He never comments on how I've dressed for him, or how I smell. Infact he rarely pays me any kind of compliment in fact at all. He seems emotionally stunted I feel.

I wonder though: surely this can't be me? Therefore it must be him. Therefore perhaps he must be confused sexually, because I have seen very little proof of him showing any manly-like attention towards me. Sure, he has a couple of children....

... but then so does David Bowie.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

POEM 1: Ode to Thommo

I was taking a stroll in Primrose Hill last night and inspiration struck me for my first TV poem. Here it is. (Hope you like it! x)

Ode to Thommo

Oh thommo, oh thommo
You are so dark and brooding
like a sexier version of Gordon
with hands like iron rods
they touch my bosoms gently
I hold your head in mine
and stroke your ginger beard with envy
We run in fields of plenty
and laugh, and laugh, and laugh...

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Back at work blues

I had to wear sunglasses today when I arrived at the office just after 11.

Two days ago, dear reader, I landed back at London Airport (don't you just yearn back to the days when airline travel was far more glamourous than it is today... that is why I like to refer to Heathrow by it's proper name - 'London Airport')

My three and a half weeks in St Lucia passed without any complaint. Juggling four kids and a demanding husband at home is one thing, but on holiday it can be a complete nightmare if you let it overwhelm you. Luckily we took along Magda, my lovely nineteen year old Polish aupair, who kept the kids out of my hair.


It is so refreshing and reinvigorating to take your second winter break just at the start of January I feel. Don't you agree dear readers? In consultation with my raki healer last year, we decided that the optimum months for my family to enjoy our four-holidays-a-year schedule would be January, April, late July (partly because of the school holidays) and of course November (the most horrible, horrible month to be in London!)

So much to do already dear readers... I have a pile of 12 proposals on my desk to mark (Sigh, most likely littered with dreadful spelling mistakes) and Marsha, my deputy Headmistress, has told me we have a meeting lined up with Julian in February.

February?! I screached at Marsha (poor girl, I know it isn't her fault).

Apparently this is the earliest Julian can see me. How shocking! I have an incredible new inspirational idea that I came up with on the beach called Teaching Kids to Talk Propa (a linguistic transformational documentary series giving the nation's most deprived council-estate kids elocution lessons)

But perhaps if Julian is going to treat me this way I should take it to someone at ITV instead??

What do you think dear readers?


Monday, 7 January 2008

My 1st new book deal of the year

You'll never believe this dear readers - how exciting! I had literally just finished writing up an article for Condé Nast about the pros and cons of holidaying with my au pair, when I had a call from my agent Simon asking me whether I was interested in penning a book about.... wait for it....the television industry!!

I've got a butterfly tum-tum and a tingle just thinking about it...

Aparently my poem anthologies have gone down so well (outselling Richard Branson's autobiography in the Netherlands, topping the charts in Macedonia over the Christmas period) that my UK publishers want a book of original romantic poems written by moi (!) documenting my incredibly busy and fulfilling life working in television over the next coming 6 months.

They're interested in the softer human face of the industry, the struggles of a full-time working mum of four in a male dominated workplace, and of course all the fabulous ideas I pitch.

Their working title is, simply: 51 TV Love Poems from TV's favourite Headmistress.

Isn't it wonderful dear readers? What an honour, not to mention an important responsibility as one of the biggest names in TV to document for the first time what's truly involved running my own free-range, organic-led carbon neutral production company. TV magic doesn't just happen, you know, it takes hours and hours of hard work.

Not only am I an icon and creative Ambassador for lots of young girls in the country, but I'll have a remarkable opportunity to highlight the daily struggle that women have balancing the stresses of work alongside leading fullfilling lives.

How thrillingly challenging. I can't wait.