Meat the Family – Channel 4 – Broadcast

When we started production on Meat The Family, nobody was under any illusion that it was going to be free from controversy.

When I first heard the top line – four farm animals go and live with four families and after three weeks, the families decide whether to give up meat and save it from slaughter or carry on eating meat and send it back into the food chain to its eventual death – my first reaction was: ‘Brilliant, brilliant idea’. My second? ‘Oh, I have to actually make that!’

Meat The Family absolutely hits the zeitgeist head-on. What are the ethical implications of eating meat, to what extent do we associate meat with an actual animal and how intelligent and sentient are the animals we love eating? What about our health and the health of the planet? And what should we all be doing about it?

The series roots this big moral and complex question via the experiences of four British families as they care for their animals and learn about their journeys from birth to death.

The families bring warmth and relevance to what can feel a dry subject matter – and the looming decision they have to make brings an extra layer of pathos to all the scenes.

From the off, the whole team felt a huge responsibility for our potential contributors. Series producer Charlotte Davis and the casting team spent a good deal of time ensuring that our families really knew what they were letting themselves and their children in for. And that care for them became my priority throughout production.

It was a big ask. We knew that we wanted the four families to drive the story, both in terms of their relationship with the animals in their care but also in delivering the complex arguments for and against eating meat.

We were always mindful of getting the balance right between a series with some factual entertainment sensibilities and a gripping emotional storyline alongside watertight specialist factual content.

As casting began, we got down to thinking about the animals. And my goodness, we had a steep learning curve ahead.

As we began to approach organisations for support with the series, we knew it was always going to create debate and some disapproval.

The first few weeks of production involved lots of meetings with our consistently supportive and brave commissioning editors Jonah Weston and Nicola Brown to set out the parameters for the care of our animals and addressing some of these concerns.

We wouldn’t have been able to set these parameters without the help of an animal compliance and welfare expert, whom we hired to be a guiding hand throughout production.

The animal welfare layer of the series was so enormous we had to hire extra production staff to focus exclusively on them.

This involved everything from sourcing the animals to their transport, to licenses, to husbandry, to the experts on the ground, and the care the animals needed post-filming and pre-slaughter.

Every filming day bought a fresh challenge and some very extraordinary calls from location.

From “we think the pigs have got mange” to “we think one of the chickens is dying”, the old adage ‘never work with children or animals’ felt tailor-made for this series. And by the way, the pigs and chickens were fine.

Over three weeks of filming, a PD and shooting AP essentially filmed observationally full time with the families, all of whom had school commitments and work commitments so scheduling was often challenging.

Each family also carried out a number of research trips to learn more about their animals, which ranged from meeting Moritz the wonder pig in Berlin to discovering how clever pigs are, to enjoying nose to tail (including brain and testicle) eating in Barcelona and visiting various farming systems, including a mega farm in Nebraska and an intensive chicken farm in the Netherlands.

At the start, we were not sure where the balance would sit between the home life material and the more specialist factual content.

What was really gratifying when the rushes started to come back was that we knew our families were absolutely nailing it. They were compelling, thoughtful, surprising and funny.

It felt really fresh seeing families visiting factories and farms and both reacting to what they were seeing viscerally as well as being thoughtful and informed about the subject. And the home footage was touching and funny.

We put in a filming framework for the families but very often how their reactions were the opposite of what we expected to happen. They kept us on our toes throughout.

I can think of no better tribute to the animals featured in Meat The Family than if their story reignites the national debate about the rights and wrongs of meat eating and the ways in which animals are farmed and processed.

All of our families and indeed the team have adapted their meat-eating habits and most are now eating sustainably sourced meat – just less of it, as obviously that doesn’t come cheap.

Never before has a project jangled my brain cells and tested my judgement in getting the tone right, but thanks to a resourceful and talented team, it was also the most fulfilling.

Meat the Family – Brand New Channel 4 Series – The Guardian Review

Meat the Family: can a brutal reality show stop us from chomping on chorizo?

Channel 4’s new series sees families decide whether to spare animals from the abattoir. It might just make you rethink what you put in your sandwiches.

disavowed pork last year after visiting a pig farm and petting a few of the small animals there, deciding that, though they produce a wacky quantity of excrement, pigs are basically just big, thick dogs, and as such I can live for a while without bacon. Do we want to mention the week in Italy I spent this summer chain-eating slices of mortadella from back-to-back deli meat platters? We do not. We do not want to mention that, nor the life-alteringly good Cuban sandwich I had in Miami. Or that actual sausage roll I had when Greggs ran out of vegan sausage rolls when I went there on a hangover. That was actually three sausage rolls, because it was a big hangover. But the point remains: on the whole, pork, no thanks.

It is a complicated thing, the ambient guilt of being a meat-eater, and Channel 4 knows this, which is why it commissioned Meat the Family (Wednesday, 9pm) to make me feel … something, at least. It sees incredibly normal British families – you know the type: families who hoover the house once a day and have semi-expensive garden furniture and two kids – welcome a farm animal into their homes for three weeks, where they will feed them and care for them and give them names. At the end of the three weeks, they are given a choice: release their new pet back into the food chain, where they will be processed by a farm and given back to them as meat; or disavow meat more convincingly than I ever have and save their new animals from the doom of the slaughter. The results are mixed.

The whole thing is fascinating. Firstly: for some reason, the reaction of every dad in every household is to immediately go and eat the animal they just put in their garden (one puts a pork roast in the oven in clear sight of his two new pigs; another, confronted with a garden full of chickens, instantly pops out for a Nando’s). Secondly: any child around the age of 11 can be convinced not to eat an animal by first Googling how intelligent they are. We see families make trips to Germany to meet an intelligent pig, we see a Dutch chicken farm and the sterile reality of mass production. We see, one by one, the faces of people who have been thoughtlessly eating meat all their life clunk together a connection: that the animal they have in their garden is the filling they eat in their sandwich. Meat the Family gently reinforces what we know already: it really is quite easy to eat meat if you literally never think about where it comes from.

This might have resulted in something heavy-handed and preachy, which MTF remarkably isn’t; it’s not scolding, it never tells you to stop eating meat, it just reminds you that a lot of animals have legs and heads before you eat them and can be quite cute, and oh yeah, did you know the UK consumes 2.2 million chickens a day?

Documentaries about the reality of the food chain often feel a bit like having your eyes pinned open and pointed at harrowing footage of an abattoir, and they have their uses, but Meat the Family manages something different: packaging a quiet ethical consumption message up in the cosy familiarity of primetime TV. It’s a worthwhile exercise, even if it doesn’t cause you to embark upon a doomed attempt to stop eating chorizo.

https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2020/jan/04/meat-the-family-channel-4?fbclid=IwAR2BSUmk9NFV0mzXkiV0yxDHXhj1gnDwZH5xlEeV4-fHGR8BnvWBElF5PWw

Spun Gold TV Nominated at BAFTA TV Awards 2019

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) have announced the nominations for this years 2019 Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards. These awards reward the very best in television craft and television programmes broadcast in the UK in 2018. The awards ceremony will be held at the Royal Festival Hall on Sunday 12 May with the British Academy Television Craft Awards taking place two weeks earlier on Sunday 28 April at The Brewery, London.

Spun Gold TV has been nominated in the category Best Reality & Constructed Factual for The Real Full Monty: Ladies’ Night.

All other categories and nominees can be found here:

http://www.bafta.org/television/awards/tv-2019#reality–constructed-factual

Travelling Blind review – a touching journey that leaves tweeness at home

★★★★☆

The beautiful relationship between blind entrepreneur Amar Latif and his sighted guide, comedian Sara Pascoe, elevates this frank and funny travelogue

Amar Latif, an entrepreneur who lost his sight 25 years ago at the age of 18, set out for Turkey with the standup comedian Sara Pascoe as his sighted guide. He is a seasoned, gregarious traveller and man of insatiable curiosity and optimism. She is a solitude-loving homebody who doesn’t even like spicy food and prefers to hide in her hotel whenever she goes abroad. We had the statutory opening shots emphasising their differences: him selecting and immaculately packing his holiday wardrobe and enthusing about the coming journey; her clambering over her unmade bed wondering what she should take. You know the drill.

And then, suddenly, as the pair touched down in Istanbul, the programme seemed to find a different and much better groove. It was still an odd-couple pairing, but one we hadn’t seen before and which soon began to make use of its potential to explore new emotional and psychological territory.

Detouring to the Grand Bazaar on the way to their hotel, Pascoe is eager to reach the latter. But she must slow down so her companion can experience everything around him. Pascoe watches anxiously as he picks up and sniffs fruit (“I’m so afraid of being told off … He’s hands and nose straight in”) and gradually learns, as a sighted person who “doesn’t have to build from ground to sky to know what’s going on”, how much detail she needs to provide for Latif to add the physical world to what he can smell, hear and taste.

Once she knows, she applies herself wholeheartedly to the job and – as you might expect from someone who depends on making her audience see the joke for a living – she is able to evoke the various weird and wonderful activities and landscapes they come across so that Latif can understand what surrounds him. Not that watching oil wrestlers – all in black rubber trousers, trying to reach the handles inside them and flip each other over – doesn’t present a challenge. “It’s like … frogs mating,” says Pascoe eventually. And it is.

Pascoe is intrigued – as I suspect are we all who share her introverted persuasion – by the endlessly, genuinely charming Latif’s attitude and his perennial enthusiasm for life. He founded the company Traveleyes which, as here, pairs sighted with non-sighted travellers for group holidays, when he realised there was nothing out there that could meet his needs. “I was shy,” he says. “But blindness changed me.” After going blind at an age when his peers’ lives were starting to expand, he fought off the depression that threatened to consume him by deciding he would start saying yes to everything. “Because if I don’t keep moving, I’m going to end up back in that dark place, and I don’t want to go there.” It is a tearful, honest, underplayed confession and deeply touching. As is the moment when they are present at a mountain sunset and he says: “These are the moments when it’s shit being blind.” He notes that it has been so long since he saw a sunset that, like the faces of his parents, it is beginning to slip from his memory.

Their relationship – frank, funny, fond – is strengthened as they go. Latif can feel the strength of a hand-built platform full of hives and persuades Pascoe, terrified by its rickety look, up there to hear the “motorway of bees” buzzing atop it. She can tell him that the bull he hears passing them on an alpine farm has “testicles the size of your head”. And sometime she can tell him that a place is so beautiful she doesn’t have words for it. “I wish you could see it.”

I feel almost the same about the programme. The two of them and their chemistry and compassion without sentiment made it beautiful and it’s hard to capture how without introducing a tweeness that simply wasn’t there. All the pitfalls were sidestepped. They learned from each other, but it didn’t feel like life lessons were constructed for the camera. It didn’t feel like a disability was being exploited or patronised (helped greatly by Latif being the kind of presence you just want to up and follow as an abject devotee wherever it leads), or used to say: “Hey, they’re not different from us!” Or that someone’s suffering was being pressed into the service of self-improvement for another. Or any of the other infuriating ills that such setups are generally heir to. So – I wish you could see it. Head to iPlayer, please, and you can.

https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2019/mar/07/travelling-blind-review-sara-pascoe-touching-journey-that-leaves-tweeness-at-home

Spun Gold TV win at the RTS Programme Awards 2019

The Royal Television Society has announced the winners of the RTS Programme Awards 2019 in partnership with Audio Network this evening by comedian Shappi Khorsandi at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel.

Guests in attendance included the cast of Hollyoaks and Coronation Street, star of Killing Eve and Actor (Female) winner Jodie Comer and legendary actress Lesley Manville, who picked up the award for Comedy Performance – Female for Mum.

Jodie Comer’s iconic performance in Killing Eve won her the Actor – Female award, with Lucian Msamati winning the Actor – Male award for his harrowing and extraordinary portrayal of Tobi in Kiri.

Mum won two awards during the evening with Stefan Golaszewski winning the Writer – Comedy award, and Lesley Manville winning the Comedy Performance – Female which was described by judges as having set a “new benchmark for excellence In this genre”. The winner of the Comedy Performance – Male went to Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith for their “astonishing and committed” performances for Inside No. 9.

Derry Girls took home the award for Scripted Comedy while The Last Leg won the Entertainment Programme category, with Big Narstie and Mo Gilligan winning the Entertainment Performance award. Romesh Ranganathan took home the award for Presenter for The Misadventures of Romesh Ranganthan, with Osi Umenyiora winning the award for Sports Presenter, Commentator or Pundit for his work on NFL This Week and The NFL Show.

Described as an “exciting new talent destined for an exceptional future”, Nabhaan Rizwan took home the RTS Breakthrough Award for his incredible performance in Informer.

Sky Atlantic’s Save Me was recognised in two separate categories: Drama Series and Writer – Drama for Lennie James. The show was praised by judges for “its authenticity as a series, and captivating performances throughout.”

The past year has seen some truly captivating documentaries created, giving audiences much-needed insight into issues affecting both people and the planet: Channel 5’s Raped: My Story won the Programme Award for Single Documentary, alongside Channel 4’s Prison which took home the award for Documentary Series. Drowning In Plasticwon the award for Science and Natural History with A Dangerous Dynasty: The House Of Assad winning the award in the History category. The Real Full Monty: Ladies Night won the Formatted Popular Factual category.

The Live Event award went to the BBC’s The Royal Wedding: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and Match of The Day 2018 World Cup: Quarter Final – England VS Sweden won Sports Programme Of the Year, described by judges as “capturing the intense emotion of the occasion”.

Continuing their winning streak, the BBC’s A Very English Scandal won the award for Mini-Series for its “excellent peformances and relevance” while the award for Single Drama went to Killed By My Debt for its expertly told tale. CBeebies took home the award for Channel Of The Year.

The RTS proudly presented its prestigious Judges’ Award to Ben Frow, the transformative Director of Programmes at Channel 5. The panel praised Frow’s “passionate and transformative” approach to the channel since taking it over in 2013, increasing the audience by a full five percent over his tenure.

The winner of the Programme Award for Soap and Continuing Drama went to Hollyoaks, which blew the judges away this year for its performances and content.

Finally, presenter Lorraine Kelly received the Outstanding Contribution to British Television award.

The RTS Programme Awards seek to recognise programmes which, in the year in question, have made a material and positive contribution to their genre: either because their originality in form or content has in some way moved the genre on, or perhaps created a new genre; or because their quality has set standards which other programme-makers can learn from and emulate.

https://rts.org.uk/article/winners-rts-programme-awards-2019-announced

 

Spun Gold TV Nominated at the RTS Programme Awards 2019

The RTS Programme Awards are one of the gold standard awards for our industry and an important showcase of the extraordinary talent evident across the UK’s television industry.

The awards seek to recognise programmes which, in the year in question, have made a material and positive contribution to their genre: either because their originality in form or content has in some way moved the genre on, or perhaps created a new genre; or because their quality has set standards which other programme-makers can learn from and emulate.

The Awards will be presented at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London, W1K 7TN on Tuesday 19 March 2019.

We are so proud that Spun Gold TV has been nominated in two categories. Best Formatted Popular Factual for The Real Full Monty Ladies Night on ITV AND Best Live Event for The Real Full Monty Live for ITV.

You can find all of the other categories and nominees on the RTS website.

Women’s Full Monty saved two lives: Victoria Derbyshire in emotional meeting with women who spotted cancer after breast check plea

Victoria Derbyshire can vividly remember the moment the email arrived in her inbox. “Dear Victoria,” it read. “I want to thank you for saving my life.”

They were the words of Margaret Witts, who felt compelled to write to the journalist after she stripped off for the fundraiser The Real Full Monty.

The 86-year-old had listened to her on-screen plea to women to check their breasts and was shocked to find a lump, later diagnosed as cancerous.

“When the email dropped, I remember saying out loud, ‘Oh my God’,” Victoria tells the Mirror.

“One, the shock that someone else has breast cancer but two, a feeling of, ‘Thank goodness she checked herself after watching The Real Full Monty’.”

The TV presenter was staggered when, a short time later, she received a second email. “Marin Marshall, who was in her early 50s, told me a very similar story. She checked herself the next day, too, and within days she too was told she had breast cancer.

“She’s already had surgery. It was a similar emotion, I couldn’t believe it.”

Victoria had a special reason for stripping off for ITV’s show in March, with stars including Loose Women’s Coleen Nolan and comic Helen Lederer . In 2015 Victoria, who has two sons with BBC editor husband Mark Sandell, learned she had breast cancer.

She broke the news on Twitter and posted video diaries during her six rounds of chemotherapy, 30 doses of radiotherapy and a mastectomy.

Victoria hoped to reassure other women dealing with the devastating diagnosis and “demystify” treatment. During chemo, she told of feeling like she had a “severe hangover” and said it left her “drained and low”.

After receiving the emails, Victoria decided to meet up with Marin and Margaret. This will be shown today on the Victoria Derbyshire programme.

She says: “When I first saw Marin, she started crying. I gave her a massive hug. Then we drove to meet Margaret near Birmingham. Margaret was very composed and potentially still in shock, as she has surgery to come.

“Really touchingly, they were both grateful I talked about my symptoms on the show, and they found the same.

“They were numb as they had both been diagnosed within weeks, but so grateful.” In moving scenes, Victoria clasps hands with the women as they share stories. Recalling sitting down to The Real Full Monty, Margaret says: “I got a nice big glass of sherry, put my feet up and put a blanket over my legs.

“I laughed and I cried with you. And then, at the end of the programme, it flashed up to check my breasts.

“If I hadn’t, I’d have been none the wiser. It’s amazing what you did.”

She is having a mastectomy next week. Marin, who has had a lumpectomy, agreed that without Victoria stripping off, she too would still be in the dark.

She says: “Because of you bravely talking about it in front of goodness knows how many people, we both did something. I don’t believe I would have done something about it [otherwise].” She adds: “How does it make you feel knowing what you did had this effect?”

Victoria replies: “That’s a really hard question. I’m really sorry that you have, and have had, breast cancer. But I am also really glad that you took the message from the programme.

“You found something, but thank God you did; you very soon will be good, then hopefully you can get on with the rest of your life.

“I’d like to say to you good luck, loads of love, loads of strength; you know you have it in you. We are here for each other when you need it.”

Victoria has kept in constant contact with the pair. She tells the Mirror: “Margaret and I have been emailing loads and on the phone. Marin and I have shared lots of emails. I feel we can all support one another.” In The Real Full Monty, Victoria broke down in tears at their first rehearsal, saying: “This is so out of my comfort zone.

“This is day one, what the heck? I haven’t cried for ages about having cancer, or my body or whatever.”

After visiting the Moulin Rouge strip club in Paris on the TV show, she said she no longer wanted to do the topless routine to raise awareness of cancer.

But she bravely went ahead, and says all the tears were worth it. “We had no idea that women would take the message from the programme.

“People were saying they had the letter for the mammogram appointment in their drawer and they were now going to go. They’d ignored it until now. It seems to be having the desired e ffect. Thank God they have checked.”

Source: Mirror Author: Tom Bryant

Jane Treays preps Camilla Portrait for ITV

Spun Gold doc will be the first with full access to the future Princess Consort.

Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, is to be the subject of an ITV documentary from renowned filmmaker Jane Treays.

The Real Camilla: HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, produced by Spun Gold TV, will be the first documentary with full access to the future Princess Consort.
Treays, who was also responsible for directing ITN Productions’ The Queen’s Green Planet which aired to 5.2m on ITV this week, shot the film throughout Camilla’s 70th year.

Due to air this spring, her latest effort will include scenes of decorating the Christmas Tree in Clarence House and welcoming pensioners for tea, taking rainy walks in Scotland with her pet Jack Russell terriers and dancing to Elvis songs with the Prince of Wales.

The film will also show Camilla working with some of the charities she supports.

It is the latest royal show produced by Spun Gold, which also produced recent Channel 4 seven-parter The Royal House of Windsor and ITV’s When Phillip met Prince Philip as well as coverage of The Queen’s 90th Birthday in 2016.

The Real Camilla will be exec produced by Juliet Rice and Nick Bullen.

Controller of factual Jo Clinton-Davis ordered the show, which will be distributed by All3Media International.

Clinton-Davis said: “With candid interviews with The Duchess and HRH The Prince of Wales, family, friends and the people who know her best, The Real Camilla provides a unique insight into the life, relationships and work of The Duchess of Cornwall.”

Executive producer Rice added: “Viewers will see the private side of Camilla they’ve never seen before.”

Source: Broadcast

The Real Full Monty’ Heads To Australia’s Seven Network After All3Media International Deal – Mip TV

The broadcaster revealed that it struck a deal with All3Media International to adapt the non-scripted format at Mip TV. The series is produced by British producer Spun Gold, responsible for doc The Return of Courtney Love, and started as a a one-off documentary to mark the 20th anniversary of the Simon Beaufoy-penned, Robert Carlyle-fronted movie.

The show, which was originally presented by Pointless host Alexander Armstrong and choreographer Ashley Banjo, follows a group of famous men as they learn to striptease and culminates in a performance in an episode of Tonight at the London Palladium. It averaged an audience of 5.4 million earlier this year and was a particular draw with women.

The show returned in the UK with a female version and the Australian version will be hosted by comedian Shane Jacobson

In addition to the Australian adaptation, the producers, which are represented by ICM Partners in the U.S., are looking at how they can remake the show for U.S. broadcasters and whether to keep the documentary tone or ramp up the entertainment element.

Daniela Neumann, MD of Spun Gold said: “The Real Full Monty is a big show with warmth, humour, joy and real emotion. And at its heart is an important message about the need for all of us to check ourselves regularly and not be afraid to talk about concerns we might have regarding cancer. We were inundated with messages from people saying that as a result of watching the show they got checked out and prevented a potentially fatal late diagnosis, so I’m incredibly proud that this deal with Seven Network and all3media international will provide the same opportunity to raise awareness but also bring great fun in a big entertainment show.”

Maartje Horchner, EVP Content at All3media international, noted, “We are delighted to continue our successful first look agreement with the team at Spun Gold – this great partnership has enabled us to represent an impressive roster of diverse and innovative content in the global market. The Real Full Monty is a perfect example of their strong sense of entertainment, and we’re pleased to find a partner in Seven for this fantastic series, in addition to the sales listed. We are also confident of a French version of the show via Pernel, with a format option signed on the eve of Mip Tv.”

 

Source: Deadline.com