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BBC 2 "Statue Wars: One Summer in Bristol" (Uplands TV)  & ITV's "Billion Pound Bond Street" (Finestripe Productions) have two stellar shows airing tonight at 9pm. We caught up with the team to find out what their experience of making these shows was.

"Statue Wars: One Summer in Bristol" - BBC2

Give us an insight into the making of the show?

Francis Welch (Producer/Director): I started filming in the mayor’s office within a few days of the toppling of the Colston statue. This extraordinary moment put Marvin Rees and Bristol in the centre of last summer's culture wars. Our ambition was to document the decision-making behind the scenes and to record how the city’s mayor responded to the enormous pressures from opposing sides, inside and outside the city. While the global media descended on Bristol, we had a unique opportunity to follow the man who was caught in the eye of the storm.

What did you learn?

Francis: Communication and trust are absolutely existential. I spent a lot of time talking off-camera with Marvin Rees and key members of the team about what was going on in the city. We built a relationship of trust, which meant they would call me when new events began to unfold such as the appearance of the Jen Reid/Surge of Power statue in the early hours one morning last July. This trust meant I could document their decision-making in real time, which added to the drama of the
film.

How did you get the job?

Francis: Uplands Television called me the day after the statue was thrown in the harbour and we approached the mayor’s office as team to arrange access. I’ve lived in Bristol for over 20 years and have made both observational and historical documentaries. The production company have a Bristol base and it was their co-founders Mike Smith and David Olusoga who spotted the opportunity to make an observational film about what was happening in our city. They moved very fast to get this production started immediately and we were really well supported by the BBC Documentaries Commissioners Clare Sillery and Hamish Fergusson who spotted the potential for this film.

What is your top TV tip? 

Francis: Collaboration is absolutely essiential and you should always be open to listening to everyone’s ideas. I had brilliant support from Uplands and a really great team in Bristol - DOP, film editor and shooting AP - who I was constantly sharing ideas with.

"Statue Wars: One Summer in Bristol" airs on BBC 2 on Thursday 10th June, 9pm.

"Billion Pound Bond Street" - ITV

Give us an insight into the making of the show? 

 

William Stone (Assistant Producer): The challenge of Billion Pound Bond Street was to make a show about retail during multiple lockdowns when shops were closed. It meant we had to be constantly adapting our schedule and evolving the story. How do you showcase Britain’s most iconic shopping street in its most dire hour since World War II? 

 

What did you learn?

 

William: I learnt how to be a production all-rounder. It is so important to be that human Swiss army knife who can establish access, set up shoots and manage contributors from the office (my bedroom) as well as everything on location -  second camera, sound and compliance. This project took me from a Researcher still finding my feet in the industry to a confident AP. 

 

How did you get the job?

 

William: I started with Finestripe Productions as a Development Researcher covering their whole slate. Bond Street came up as an idea and it went from there! Finestripe Productions is a small indie, so I got to do it all, taking the idea from a one-page pitch document through commission, production and into the edit. The Exec Sue Summers and Director Michael Waldman put their faith in me to get the job done in the midst of lockdown and all the difficulties that put on TV production. That close-knit, trusting environment honed my skills by giving me real responsibility. Finestripe is a rare find for a freelancer. 

 
What is your top TV tip? 

 

William: Pick up the phone and call someone! 


"Billion Pound Bond Street" airs on ITV on Thursday 10th June, 9pm.

  
  
  

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