|25 Jan 2021
|A Little Bit of Inspiration
1. Tell us a bit about ‘Bradley & Barney Walsh: Breaking Dad’ and your role in producing it.
Breaking Dad is a father-son travel show starring Bradley Walsh and his son Barney as they take on a road trip. Bradley likes nothing more than to to sit on the sofa, so Barney wanted to get him off his backside and try some things that will really scare him and open up his world. We’re now on our third series of the show, It’s out on Mondays at 8pm on ITV. But I know that most of us don’t really watch TV like that now so it’s also on ITV Hub with loads of clips on YouTube to check out too. It’s a great laugh and just a nice, happy tonic with all the (understandable) negativity in the world these days” to link things together.
As part of the production team on the editorial side, I’m responsible for coming up with ideas for the activities, setting them up, finding the contributors the Walsh boys meet along the way, negotiating fees, getting the best out of Bradley and Barney, not being grumpy at breakfast, and basically anything else that crops up along the way! I’m not allowed to even touch the cameras, though. We travel on the road for around 4-5 weeks per series, but overall it was about 6 months work to make this series of the show.
2. What’s your favourite thing about working on the show?
It’s tough because there’s a lot of great things about the job – I love to travel and the show gives me the opportunity to go places I never would have otherwise, and meet some incredible people. I’m also really lucky to be working with amazing talent on both sides of the camera – it’s great to be alongside a team at the top of its game in an industry you love. But in truth, the very best thing about it is that around 6-7 million people or so watch the show every week when it’s on. That’s a LOT of people. It’s very humbling to know our work brings half an hour of joy to so many different households in Britain – brings a real sense of job satisfaction, I suppose.
3. Do have you have any other projects at the moment? Or any coming up soon?
I work in developing new shows when I’m not on Breaking Dad, so lots of new projects all the time! The production company I work for, Hungry Bear Media, also makes Michael McIntyre’s The Wheel which is a great new gameshow on the BBC, you can catch the whole series on iPlayer. And some REALLY exciting new things I’ll let you know about as soon as I can.
4. What challenges has the pandemic presented for your work?
I think like many industries, the process of making TV has changed drastically over the last 7-8 months. A new focus on safety, of course, but the necessary rules to keep everyone safe provide unique creative challenges, too. Entertainment TV is escapism, people want to tune in and forget about the pandemic. But, as we make a travel show, it was very hard to adapt the show suitably so that the audience could watch as if it were happening any normal time. I think that’s one of the show’s best achievements. Also, positive energy and feeling are so important to make a comedy show that will make audiences laugh. The general team feeling has such an effect on how much fun the output is, so it was also a challenge to keep spirits high on the team whilst the pandemic caused us daily challenges and stress.
5. Have you taken up any new hobbies over the last year?
Yes actually I’ve bought a dart board and have been practicing darts obsessively. I have never yet thrown a single 180. I threw a 140 a couple of days ago and I’m still shaking.
6. As someone who has a creative job, how have you stayed inspired during lockdown?
Well, in my line of work, ideas are a process. We have specific brainstorming techniques that help us generate ideas. They involve all kinds of things like word and image association, interviews, games, research. You don’t have time to wait for a great idea to come, so you find ways to actively work towards getting it. Ultimately though, real inspiration comes from other people, staying connected, talking and reading and taking an interest in as much as possible.
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