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

Emmy Nomination logo

Spun Gold TV Nominated at 2019 International Emmy Awards

New York, September 19, 2019 – Nominations for the 2019 International Emmy® Awards were announced today by the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. There are 44 Nominees across 11 categories and 21 countries. The full list of Nominees follows this release. Winners will be announced at a black-tie ceremony on November 25, 2019 at the Hilton New York Hotel.

Nominees come from: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Israel, the Netherlands, Portugal, Qatar, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom & the United States.

“The diversity, geographic spread and quality of this year’s Nominees is a testament to the increasing wealth of outstanding television being created on a global scale.,” said Bruce L. Paisner, President and CEO of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. “We congratulate the Nominees for their outstanding achievements and look forward to recognizing them at our International Emmy® Gala, in November, in New York.”

Spun Gold have been nominated in the following category and we couldn’t be happier.

Non-Scripted Entertainment
La Voz – Season 2
(The Voice)
Telefe
Argentina

Taboe
(Taboo)
Panenka
Belgium

The Remix – India
Greymatter Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.
India

The Real Full Monty: Ladies Night
Spun Gold TV
United Kingdom

You can see the full list of nominations here

https://www.iemmys.tv/18118-2/

Meat the Family: new reality TV show challenges carnivores to eat their ‘pets’

Channel 4 programme will follow meat-eaters as they adopt a farm animal that they must cook unless they go vegetarian

It is one of the most shocking ultimatums delivered on television. Go vegetarian or we kill your pet.

But a new British reality TV show called Meat the Family goes even further. Not only will a family of unrepentant carnivores have to let an animal they have adopted and grown to love go for slaughter if they refuse to stop eating meat – they will be asked to cook and eat it.

With experts saying that we have to eat less meat to stave off climate change, the Channel 4 show challenges four heavy meat-eating families to take home and look after the “animal which ends up most often on their plates”.

Analyst Virginia Mouseler called the show “the most transgressive” of the year at MIPCOM, the world’s biggest entertainment market in Cannes, France.

“It is not sex or drugs anymore. Meat is becoming the next taboo,” the influential founder of The Wit database added.

“The question they are asking is how can you cuddle your dog while you are putting another animal in the oven?”

In the first episodes of Meat the Family, that involves a lamb, a pig, a chicken and a calf.

“They have to treat this animal like a member of the family for three weeks,” Mouseler said.

“Then in the end they have to decide whether they put it in the oven” or whether it goes to an animal sanctuary.

Channel 4 said the three hour-long shows will confront “the reality of an animal’s journey from field to plate.”

They said the show also seriously examines “animal behaviour and intelligence, the farming practices required to meet the demands of hungry consumers … and the environmental impact of the meat industry.”

Daniela Neumann, head of the makers Spun Gold, defended the premise, saying it was taking on “some really timely themes of ethical eating” and well as asking difficult questions.

“Why do we find it acceptable to eat a lamb but we wouldn’t eat our pet dog? Could you go back to meat once you’ve put a name and face to a meal?”

She insisted the series – which will air in the New Year – also contained some “heart-warming moments”.

With interest from buyers brisk, the show is likely to go international quickly.

Meat the Family is one of a wave of new shows that deal with social responsibility.

In Channel 4’s Segregation Experiment, a diverse class of British schoolchildren discover how racist ideas can slip unconsciously into the culture and how unconscious bias can affect people’s lives.

Mouseler said racial prejudice would be tested in a class of 11- and 12-year-old kids “games and activities” as the programme poses the question, “Could we be racist without knowing it?”

You can see the full Guardian article here

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/oct/16/meat-the-family-new-reality-tv-show-challenges-carnivores-to-eat-their-pets

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.

Travelling Blind image

New BBC2 doc Travelling Blind explores what it’s like to travel the world without sight

AT the age of four, Amar Latif learned he would be blind by the time he was an adult.

When his sight went, he decided to travel the world and got a ticket to Canada. In 2004, Amar set up his own company that pairs blind tourists with companions to help them explore the globe.

In new BBC2 documentary Travelling Blind, Amar asks comedian and self-confessed nervous traveller Sara Pascoe to accompany him to Turkey.

What unfolds is a funny but poignant exploration in which Amar opens her senses to a different way of travelling.

Amar says:

NEVER travelled before I went blind at the age of 18.

It was a condition called RP, or retinitis pigmentosa, and my parents had been told when I was four I would go blind in my teens.

Everybody around me kept saying, ‘You’re blind now, you can’t leave the house alone’, and I felt claustrophobic. I wanted to study abroad, so I went off to Canada.

Over the next few years I tried to continue travelling but I found no travel company would let me, or I’d struggle to get insurance.

I was told I had to bring a carer. But I didn’t need one, I just needed a sighted companion.

So I set up my own company in 2004 called Traveleyes, which pairs blind people with sighted.

The sighted people get a 50 per cent discount in exchange for being the eyes for blind travellers.

With a sighted partner explaining everything, I end up with such a vivid image of what’s going on.

You also listen to sounds and take in smells and tastes and focus on different senses.

Sight is only one sense — that is easy to forget. I enjoy travelling because I love meeting new people and I take risks.

I go skydiving and I’ve skied down black runs. Sara, on the other hand, is risk averse. We came up with this idea to go away together.

I would help her to interact and be braver, and she could help bring the sights to life by describing them.

She described everything brilliantly, from Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar to oil wrestling, a sport in which men wear leather trousers, cover themselves in olive oil and throw each other to the ground.

As the journey went on, she relaxed. I think the experience was beneficial to us both. When I lost my sight I thought my world had ended but it’s great that I can still travel and give something back to people who can see.

Sara says

I USUALLY travel for work, so I am organised but not an adventurous traveller.

In fact I feel quite shy when I go away. I don’t explore in any chaotic way. Generally in life I’m a scaredy cat. I don’t like scary films or spicy food, and I don’t want to jump off something high — ever.

So I was worried about travelling with Amar, about travelling with someone I didn’t know, let alone someone who was relying on me for descriptions.

I was worried I wouldn’t have the right language to do it justice and that I’d ruin his holiday. I’m also very clumsy, so ­worried about getting him run over or something. But it was a great experience.

When I first get somewhere, I normally head straight for the hotel and hide. Amar was very open to chatting to people and he pushed me out of my comfort zone. We met many lovely people and I learned that to get a really good experience out of travelling, I have to talk to them more.

Amar knows how to seek out the fun, while my usual method is to avoid it. Most of us are afraid of getting told off, whereas in the bazaar he just put his hands and nose out and touched people’s silk scarves and their dried tea.

He got stuck in, which made for a more fun experience. Everything is interesting to him, things that we would take for granted.

It was good to compromise, too. There were things we did which I thought would be boring. But because of how he processes the world, it forced me to be very “present” and slow, which meant I had some wonderful, completely surprising moments.

Amar is trusting and brings out this warmth in people. It was inspiring. Next time I go away I’ll appreciate the slowness I’ve learned, and push myself to be braver.

I’ll try to find experiences that  aren’t just about “the sights”.

 

From: https://www.thesun.co.uk/travel/8547531/bbc2-travelling-blind-tourists-without-vision/