I had the pleasure today of taking part in a meeting with one of the heads of BBC Worldwide, about a panel show project I’m working on and part-own the concept for, and I can happily report that things are going well. However, instead of try and talk around the actual show itself (under wraps until everything’s moving along a bit more smoothly), I thought I’d talk about the experience. I didn’t quite know what to expect, from the building to the people I was speaking to, let alone how well the idea for the show itself would go down; would it be all business? Would these guys be fun as well? Is the stereotype of the aggressive TV exec true?
First things first: the BBC “White City” block of buildings is very intimidating. It all feels a lot like a business park, with lots of big buildings with well designed open and leafy bits, as well as the obligatory Starbucks. The inside of the building I entered was similarly designer-friendly: lots of nouveau furniture, more open spaces, and lots of artwork. Hands seem to be a big theme at the BBC… No idea why. Anyway, I was ushered in, along with David Brook, the very media-savvy producer I work with, and we had coffee bought for us in the cafe, instead of the expected office meeting.
The execs were… nice. Totally against stereotype, they were pleasant and chatty, and we spoke about everything in a very casual and friendly way. Certainly not what I was expecting! Sure, they were direct, sometimes even blunt, but I prefer this kind of no-nonsense interaction. I didn’t feel cowed, or unimportant, or underappreciated, or anything of the things I was dreading.
I suppose that’s the point really: stereotypes are made to de defied. There’s probably a lot of apprehension about meeting people with as much power as these guys, or at least as much percieved power, and it proves that apprehension can often lead to fear and unfortunate generalising. I was so worried about whether I would say or do the right thing, and I instead felt more comfortable than I thought I would. There was clearly a lot going on under the surface, a lot of references to people and documents and so forth, but the general atmosphere made the what I thought would be awkward very genial and made the work chat flow quickly and easily.
So, a lovely day, far less stressful than I expected, and a meeting well run. OK, OK… I’ve been trying not to say anything about the show itself all of this entry, but I will let this slip: it’s a panel show, and should be a welcome break from the fifteen-millionth repeat of Mock the Week! Enough said.