Dubai skyline photo

BBC2 commissions Inside Dubai: Playground of the Rich from Spun Gold TV

21 September 2021: BBC2 has commissioned a new three-part series from Spun Gold TV exploring the incredible architecture and lifestyles of the wealthy inhabitants – and the people who work for them – in one of the world’s most iconic locations: Dubai. 

Inside Dubai: Playground of the Rich (3×60’)goes behind the scenes of the fast-growing city which now counts 52,000 millionaires and billionaires among its three million inhabitants.  A tax haven and an ultra-modern, aspirational city, Dubai boasts the world’s tallest building, the world’s most expensive hotel and the world’s biggest shopping mall.  Super cars are wrapped in gold and ATMs dispense real gold bars.

Dubai has been designed and curated as a pleasure dome for the world’s richest and most glamorous people, but it’s also had its share of reputational problems to deal with as it positions itself as a liberal gateway to the Gulf. The series meets the individuals who live and work there to find out what makes this incredible city tick.

Daniela Neumann, Managing Director of Spun Gold TV says: “Following the success of Inside Monaco: Playground of the Rich, this series on Dubai peeks behind the curtain and luxuriates in the glamour of the fastest growing city on earth. But is all that glitters really gold? This controversial destination has its secrets but is unlikely to stop being a favoured aspirational holiday spot.”

Clare Sillery, Head of Commissioning, Documentaries, History and Religion, says: “Following on from Spun Gold’s huge ratings success of last year’s BBC Two series Inside Monaco, we hope this series will give viewers an insight into the world of those chasing the high life in the emirate of Dubai, a self-styled playground for the wealthy.”

The first episode of Spun Gold’s previous series for BBC Two, Inside Monaco, peaked at 5.6m, making it the most watched BBC Two Factual episode of 2020 

Inside Dubai: Playground of the Rich is a Spun Gold TV production for BBC2. The Series Producer and Director is Chris Taylor, and the Executive Producers are Teresa Watkins and Daniela Neumann for Spun Gold. It was commissioned by Emma Loach. The series is being distributed by ITV Studios.

The Real Full Monty on Ice

The Real Full Monty on Ice, ITV, review: surprisingly entertaining and thought-provoking

The real meat, however, comes from hearing the reasons why each person is taking part

By Sarah Hughes, iNews, December 14, 2020 10:30 pm

The Real Full Monty on Ice is the sort of series that sounds ludicrous on paper: a bunch of celebrities come together, dance, bond and strip on live TV in the name of cancer charities. Oh, and this year they’ve got to do all that on a freezing cold ice rink. The reality, however, is the sort of programme that takes you by surprise simply by dint of its heartfelt tenderness.

This year’s collection of celebs are the usual mixed bunch with the men featuring everyone from reality TV stars Chris Hughes and Jake Quickenden (who rather endearingly notes: “You probably know me as that guy who’ll appear in any show”) to sporting icons, Welsh rugby player, Gareth Thomas and former Grand National winning jockey Bob Champion. The women include one-time Page Three goddess Linda Lusardi, Emmerdale actress Hayley Tamaddon and the formidable former presenter of Women’s Hour.

With some proving more adept on ice than others – a number of contestants have taken part in Dancing on Ice, with Quickenden winning it last year – there’s a decent amount of fun to be had wondering if team leaders, Ashley Banjo and Coleen Nolan, will be able to whip them into shape for tomorrow’s socially distanced finale in front of a virtual audience.

The real meat, however, comes from hearing the reasons why each person is taking part. Some, such as Hughes, have talked openly before about their family’s experiences with cancer, others such as his fellow Love Islander Shaughna Phillips are clearly opening up for the first time (Phillips’ father died of cancer when she was a teen). The most emotional moment comes from the otherwise larky Quickenden, who admits that “cancer ripped my family apart” before talking about how his father and younger brother died from it, the latter at only 19.ead More

The night’s best line, however, belongs to Murray, who underwent a mastectomy for breast cancer in 2007: “You don’t battle cancer, or fight it or beat it,” she notes. “You have it and you get on with it.” As someone living with stage IV cancer it is the most important statement made over the course of a surprisingly entertaining and thought-provoking hour. 

The Real Full Monty on Ice, episode 2: triumph over adversity and temperature-related shrinkage

The pandemic nearly nixed this celebratory show. But chilly extremities and possible chafing couldn’t stop the dance

By Michael Hogan, The Telegraph, 15 December 2020 • 10:30pm

The show must go on. Even if that show involves celebrities getting their skates on and their kit off. In an unlikely development, The Real Full Monty on Ice (ITVturned into a heart-warming tale of triumph over adversity –and temperature-related shrinkage. 

The final episode of the annual striptease in aid of cancer awareness was beset by problems, mostly pandemic-related. First, the production’s director, Dancing on Ice’s Dan Whiston, tested positive for Covid-19. He’d been in close contact with choreographer Ashley Banjo, meaning he had to self-isolate too. When the plucky participants took their own routine tests, soap actor Jamie Lomas’s came back positive, so he had to pull out at the 11th hour. 

“Could this year get any worse?” asked Loose Women’s Coleen Nolan, leader of the women’s team. “Could making this programme get any more difficult?” 

Singer Jake Quickenden’s arm was in a sling. Love Island’s Chris Hughes had an anxiety attack. Former glamour model Linda Lusardi had a hissy fit, fearing her unhappy husband would make her drop out. The wheels were well and truly coming off. Would the naked ice-skating extravaganza actually happen?

The semi-famous strippers soldiered on. They attended a bonding retreat somewhere that looked suspiciously like a Center Parcs, where they attempted the Dirty Dancing lift in a lake. Around the campfire that evening, Quickenden explained what had motivated him to take part: the loss of his father and younger brother to cancer. “I feel like I’m missing a piece of my heart,” he said.

Hughes, whose brother was living with testicular cancer, led the males in a self-checking session. Strapping Welsh rugby hero Gareth Thomas got amusingly told off by his elderly mother for failing to take his health seriously enough.

The women attended a burlesque class with body confidence coach Sam Vale. It turned out that Vale and her colleagues were all breast cancer survivors who’d had surgery. Cue lovely scenes of solidarity and camaraderie as everyone shared their experiences and showed their scars.

The stripping skaters were still way behind schedule and starting to panic. But inspired anew, Nolan – who lost her sister Bernie to the disease, while Anne and Linda are currently fighting it – summoned up some Blitz spirit. “We’ll do this,” she vowed defiantly. “We’ll think of all the people we’ll love, and we’ll do it for them.”

Come the day of the big undressing, there still hurdles to overcome. The dance routine had to be rapidly rejigged. While Quickenden was rehearsing his live song, a family snap of his late father and brother appeared on the backdrop. He broke down in tears.

Stage-frightened Hughes had a panic attack but Quickenden gave him an amusingly unconventional pep talk: “You’ve got nothing to worry about, mate. You’ve got the face of an angel and the willy of the Loch Ness monster.”

Quickenden might have played the clown – on the previous night’s episode, the alumnus of The X Factor, I’m a Celebrity and Dancing on Ice said, “I’m probably best known to the public for just doing any show that I can” – but he was rapidly emerging as the breakout star. 

The cathartic, climactic performance was a proper show-stopper. A group routine mixed contemporary wafting and fierce streetdance.

Former Woman’s Hour host Dame Jenni Murray, aged 70 and unable to skate due to two hip replacements, appeared looking magisterial on a sleigh. “I think this is what’s known as being very far from your comfort zone,” she admitted wryly.

Behind showgirl-style feathered fans and soundtracked by The Greatest Showman’s acceptance anthem This Is Me, the women stripped to their bras. The men recreated the classic Full Monty routine in security guard uniforms, getting down to silver posing pouches which looked like something you’d wrap a turkey in. 

Both genders lined up and bared all at once, while the virtual audience went wild. Amid scenes of jubilation, chilly extremities and possible chafing, a caption appeared on-screen: “A check is for life, not just for Christmas. So get checking!”

Yes, this is one of the more random reality franchises on-air. Yes, doing it on ice seemed like a gratuitous twist for the sake of it. But it was also empowering, admirably open-hearted and ended on an uplifting flourish. The show must indeed go on. 

ICE WORK The Real Full Monty on Ice fans rejoice as stars including Shaughna Phillips and Chris Hughes strip naked in show first

Stephanie Soteriou, 15 Dec 2020, The Sun

THE REAL Full Monty On Ice fans rejoiced this evening as the brave stars stripped naked to make show history.

For the first time in the ITV series, the male and female participants exposed their bods in front of an audience together instead of across two separate, gendered performances.  It was a rocky road for the celebrities this time around, with the routine also taking place on ice for the first time ever.

The show aims to raise cancer awareness, encouraging fans to check their bodies regularly and seek medical support if required.

All of the celebs taking part had been impacted by cancer in some way – including Jake Quickenden, whose brother and dad both lost their lives to the disease.  Shaughna Phillips also lost her dad, and Coleen Nolan her sister – with two of her other sisters currently fighting.  Linda Lusardi paid tribute to her best friend, who died from cancer in her 30s, and Chris Hughes’ took part to encourage men to check their testicles for lumps after his brother was diagnosed – and beat – testicular cancer.

All of the celebs were anxious about going buff in front of a crowd, particularly the women who were nervous about joining the men for the grand reveal.  However, the performance, choreographed by Ashley Banjo, went without a hitch – with the lengthy routine reaching its climax as the men stripped to thongs and the ladies to their underwear.  At the very end, the men pulled off the silver pants – going full frontal in front of the crowd, who were watching via video link and projected onto the walls of the rink.  The women, who’d taken off their bras and were covering up with feather fans, then removed the fans so that they were topless.

The entire group looked jubilant at the end of the show – pleased to have made it through.

And fans at home could not hide their excitement that they got through the nerve-wracking performance too – heaping praise on the stars for daring to bare.  Taking to Twitter, one fan wrote: “Well done and massive respect to everyone on #TheRealFullMontyOnIce”.

Another agreed: “How amazing was The Full Monty on Ice? Well done all, a powerful message delivered in such an inspiring way.  “Yet again Ashley Banjo with his finger on the pulse.”

A third wrote: “#TheRealFullMontyOnIce What an incredibly moving show. Well done to everyone involved in raising the cancer conversation please everyone remember to check yourselves”.

Yesterday’s show had viewers in tears as Jake and Coleen broke down while discussing the devastating impact cancer had had on their lives.

The Grand Party Hotel

Pick of the Day, The Radio Times by Jane Rackham

The Grand Party Hotel
8.00pm, BBC1 Thursday 24 September

Documentary new series – Liverpool’s Shankly Hotel is unlike any other. For starters, it has luxury, themed ‘party suites’, sleeping six, 12 or even 24 people (that alone sounds like a nightmare to me). You can celebrate in an Alice in Wonderland room where the furniture hangs from the ceiling, or a jungle one, with zebra print carpets and gold-sprayed animal statues. The Instagram generation absolutely love it.

We check into the hotel on the day new general manager, Lyndon starts work. Suited, booted and perhaps a bit strait laced, meticulous Lyndon doesn’t look like someone who’d appreciate the hotel’s wacky décor, let alone hen party guests being served by butlers in the buff, or ‘smell the nappy’ games at a baby shower event. By the end of his first week, he’s wiped the floor with two bubbly members of staff; guest relations manager Liam and wedding planner Ciara. Seeing the workings of any hotel is fascinating. This is downright extraordinary.

The 10 best TV Shows to watch this week, The i Newspaper by Emily Baker

The Grand Party Hotel
Thursday 24 September, 8pm, BBC One

Liverpool’s Shankly Hotel is best known for its party suites, which each sport a different theme, from Prohibition to the Garden of Eden. This behind-the-scenes docuseries introduces an eccentric range of guests – such as Laura, who has checked in to celebrate her divorce – and hotel employees, including a new general manager brought in to tackle the Shankly’s disappointing reviews.

What’s On TV – Picks of the day

The Grand Party Hotel
BBC1, 8pm Thursday 24 September

Champagne service.. Staff members James and Kemi know how to welcome guests in this four-part series on life at Liverpool’s Shankly Hotel.

TV Choice Magazine – Today’s choice

The Grand Party Hotel
BBC1, 8pm Thursday 24 September

Whether it’s a couple celebrating their golden anniversary or a group of hens partying the night away in one of its huge suites, staff at Liverpool’s Shankly Hotel offer a welcome with a smile.

Total TV Guide

The Grand Party Hotel
BBC1, Thursday 24 September

The Shankly isn’t just a hotel – the Liverpool establishment has a real wow factor that is so blingtastic, it practically requires sunglasses. It boasts themed party suites, such as the luxurious flamingo room, grand apartments with animal statues and others that have giant Roman whirlpool baths. Plus, there are places specially designed for hen and stag dos and wild weekends away. It’s the antithesis of a Travelodge.

‘We create a bucket-list experience as opposed to a vanilla hotel’, says The Shankly’s co-owner Lawrence Kenwright, the mastermind behind the OTT décor.

Filmed before lockdown, cameras follow Lawrence and his staff as they welcome guests, from riotous young groups to elderly couples marking an occasion.

‘When someone walks into their room, I want them to gasp, take a picture and boast about it to their friends,’ continues Lawrence. ‘I want them to say, “Look at me! I’m in this great whirlpool bath with an elephant above my head in this weird, quirky place!”‘

On top of managing all the overnight guests, the hotel’s events spaces are also often fully booked. ‘With all the bedrooms occupied, a packed restaurant and our rooftop venue in use, we can have just under 2,000 people in the hotel’, says Lawrence.

With clients expected a rowdy time, it’s inevitable some will be disappointed, and complaints include paint peeling off a Roman bath, while an events hall ceiling starts leaking hours before the wedding party arrives!

Lawrence says he’s proud of his hotel, which can even provide tacky ‘butlers in the buff’ to serve drinks, is totally different to the five-star experience. ‘We represent normal people. Would you get that in the Dorchester? No! And we don’t want to be the Dorchester. We’re not trying to be. I can’t think of anything worse!’

Alan Titchmarsh image

Grow Your Own at Home with Alan Titchmarsh – Mondays, on ITV1

Grow Your Own at Home with Alan Titchmarsh – Mondays, on ITV1

This was pure, wholesome, soothing television, therapy via plants and very timely, given our circumstances. “Passionate veg growers do it anywhere … Londoner Wendy does it on her roof,” Titchmarsh said, gently tickling his fanbase. Oh, he knows exactly what he’s doing.”
Carol Midgley, The Times

“Lockdown has made us all realise how vital even the smallest patch of outside space can be. This three-part series is about using that space to grow fruit and vegetables. It is aimed at the novice and communicated its message with such enthusiasm and simplicity that even I, a hopeless gardener, was filled with confidence. For beginners, it made everything seem wonderfully straightforward. Alan’s camera operator was “Mrs T”, his wife, and she made a decent job of it. It was a lovely, sunny programme.”
Anita Singh, The Telegraph

“Most factual TV rushed out during lockdown has had an unshakeable air of crisis about it: NHS documentaries; dispatches from Wuhan; even Gregg Wallace’s latest series of Inside the Factory. But this first episode had a calm, comforting feel to it. Titchmarsh has always had a calming on-screen presence, but there was something particularly enjoyable about seeing him standing in his garden, filmed by his wife, shouting instructions and pausing, telling the audience: ‘Mrs T is about to sneeze.’”
Barbara Speed, The i

Paul Merton image

Paul Merton’s Comedy Heroes – announcement coverage

Paul Merton salutes his comic heroes for Channel 5

By Desiree Ibekwe, 7 May 2020, Broadcast Magazine

Paul Merton is sifting through the archives to showcase the careers of Britain’s greatest comedians in a two-hour Channel 5 one-parter.

In Spun Gold TV-produced Paul Merton’s Comic Heroes (1 x 120), the Have I Got News for You stalwart will delve into the motivations of the nation’s famous comedians, past and present.

Merton’s subjects will span from Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy to Victoria Wood and Jo Brand.

“Paul will reunite viewers will some of their favourite comedians and clips, as well as uncovering hidden treasures,” said Spun Gold TV managing director Daniela Neumann.

The special was ordered by factual entertainment commissioner Greg Barnett and will be executive produced by Lee Connolly with Sue Andrew serving as producer. Paul Merton’s Comic Heroes (w/t) will be distributed by All3Media International.

Spun Gold’s most recent C5 programme Celebrity Murder Mystery, in which the likes of Reverend Richard Coles and Angela Rippon seek to solve a fictious crime, consolidated an audience of 1.29m (5.7%) over two parts.


Spun Gold, C5 team for Paul Merton comedy special

By Barry Walsh, 7 May 2020, Realscreen

UK broadcaster Channel 5 has commissioned a one-off special documentary from London-headquartered Spun Gold TV featuring British comedian and television presenter Paul Merton.

In Paul Merton’s Comic Heroes (1 x 120 minutes, w/t), the comedian will highlight the stories and work of England’s greatest comics, ranging from Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy, to Victoria Wood and Jo Brand.

“It’s a pleasure to bring some of the best comedians of the past 100 years out of retirement and into your homes for a fantastic fun-filled festival of laughter,” said Merton in a statement.

“Paul will reunite viewers will some of their favourite comedians and clips, as well as uncovering hidden treasures in a programme which will be lots of fun and bring us joy – the perfect commission for these difficult times,” added Daniela Neumann, managing director of Spun Gold TV.

Paul Merton’s Comic Heroes is executive produced by Lee Connolly and produced by Sue Andrew. It was commissioned by C5 factual entertainment commissioning editor Greg Barnett, and is being distributed by All3Media International.

C21 Media

C5 lines up Paul Merton comedy doc

ViacomCBS-owned UK terrestrial Channel 5 has ordered one-off documentary Paul Merton’s Comic Heroes from London-based indie Spun Gold TV.

The 1×120’ doc will see the British comedian explore what motivated the UK’s greatest comics, how and why they became successful and what inspired their best moments and characters.

Using archive footage, Merton examines how comedians and comedy actors from Charlie Chaplin to Victoria Wood used their gift of the gab and sense of humour to break through thanks to sheer hard work and ability.

Paul Merton’s Comic Heroes is produced by Spun Gold TV and executive produced by Lee Connolly, with Sue Andrew on board as producer. All3Media International is handling distribution.

By Mark Layton, Television Business International

Paul Merton’s Comic Heroes

Spun Gold explores comedy history for UK’s C5

UK broadcaster Channel 5 has commissioned a one-off documentary about the history of Britain’s greatest comedians, from local production company, Spun Gold TV.

Distributed by All3Media International, Paul Merton’s Comic Heroes (1 x 120-minutes) follows the titular comedian and Have I Got News for You regular as he explores the motivation’s and successes of some of Britain’s most popular comics.

Delving into archive footage, Merton visits the stories of comedy greats from Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy to Victoria Wood and Jo Brand.

Merton says: “It’s a pleasure to bring some of the best comedians of the past 100 years out of retirement and into your homes for a fantastic fun-filled festival of laughter.”

Daniela Neumann, MD of Spun Gold TV, added: “Paul will reunite viewers will some of their favourite comedians and clips, as well as uncovering hidden treasures in a programme which will be lots of fun and bring us joy – the perfect commission for these difficult times.”

Paul Merton chronicles his Comic Heroes for Channel 5

Staff Reporter, 7 May 2020, Televisual

Channel 5 has commissioned a one-off special doc from Spun Gold TV in which Paul Merton celebrates the history of Britain’s best comedians.

Paul Merton’s Comic Heroes (1×120’w/t) sees the comedian explore what motivated the greatest comics; how and why they became successful and what inspired their best moments and characters.

Delving into archive footage, Merton examines how legendary comedians and comedy actors from Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy and Tony Hancock through to Victoria Wood and Jo Brand broke through often against huge odds.

Paul Merton says: “It’s a pleasure to bring some of the best comedians of the past 100 years out of retirement and into your homes for a fantastic fun-filled festival of laughter.”

Daniela Neumann, Managing Director of Spun Gold TV adds: “Paul will reunite viewers will some of their favourite comedians and clips, as well as uncovering hidden treasures in a programme which will be lots of fun and bring us joy – the perfect commission for these difficult times.”

Paul Merton’s Comic Heroes is executive produced by Lee Connolly and produced by Sue Andrew. It was commissioned by Greg Barnett. The documentary is being distributed by All3Media International.

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.

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)


The Remix – India
Greymatter Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.

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

You can see the full list of nominations here

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