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.