Sir Peter Bazalgette, a media consultant in television and digital entertainment, could not come to Coventry University last Thursday but he remained faithful to the Coventry Conversations audience and talked about his life and work via Skype.
Always A Move Ahead
“You’ve got to look forward. You can’t keep doing the same thing”, says Sir Peter. Perhaps this helped him to become who he is now – the inventor of a several shows with international success such as “Ready Steady Cook” and “Changing Rooms” and Chief Creative Officer of the leading Dutch TV producer Endemol for the period of 2004-2007.
It is curious how the person who was once interested and involved in student politics and a degree in Law from Cambridge University is now known as the one who brought Big Brother to UK and is a non-executive chairman of two of Sony’s television divisions in the country.
Written By Galya Dimitrova, First Year
“My instinct is to entertain”, he points out simply and whilst he describes himself as “lazy when I was at college”, that helped him to sell a number of his show formats to the United States.
“Everything in America, no matter if it is a hamburger or a TV format, has to be bigger, Bigger, BIGGER”, said Sir Peter when explaining how entertainment works in different countries. This is why he compared “Deal Or No Deal” – a “fun game of chance” here – to a “kind of a war game” in America.
It has been going on for twelve years now and is solidly established as a successful TV format. But Sir Peter admitted that he initially had doubts whether it would work in UK. The show is now getting only 1-2 million audience – something normal according to Sir Peter as it is in it’s second decade on-screen.
“It is in the same position many formats are”, he added.
His book, “Billion Dollar Game”, tells the story of Big Brother and explains the format.
The Critical Factor
To Sir Peter talent is still an element of any TV production that matters the most.
“You want the members of the public to like the characters”, he pointed out
And here a key skill comes in handy – casting, which in Sir Peter’s words “is as critical for TV shows as it is for drama”. He described it as a vital component of a successful production and added that is it a quite captivating and interesting process at the same time.
The interesting conversation with him was not the only benefit the audience gained. One of the students had the unique chance to present his idea of a TV show format and Sir Peter said he would be delighted to go through it if he sends it to him.
Apart from the usual “determination”, “experience” and “don’t take no for an answer’, Sir Peter advised everyone who have the ambition to become him one day to get to the point when they have tried their talent in everything – from print journalism to radio training. That will secure you at least recognition – one of the prime motivations for people in business according to Sir Peter. Once you have achieved that the other two things, namely power and money, should be just a matter of time.