Damien has a set of photos up on Flickr from The Big Bang, the kids’ TV show we used to make in Leeds. They give you an idea of what it was like to make – involved lots of goofing around in an office with rolls of sellotape and string. And, yes, getting paid to do that. Fun!
Amusingly, I’m not in any of these pictures. By my reckoning this was series 6, shot in 2001. According to my notes, that was the last year we did significant location work – poor Sue in costume had to deal with 70+ outfits for all the history inserts, which was insane. I recall sitting in the online when dear Patrick asked us to rotoscope out the TV aerials in the back of shot, and us saying ‘This has gone too far.’
After series 6 we refocussed on studio make&do only, but by then CITV was starting the death spiral. For series 7 there was a change of presenters, and the resulting delays pushed the studio dates back so they straddled the technical closure of the department in Leeds. I wasn’t involved until the last gasp of shooting, when both Patrick and Colin (the original and then replacement series producers) had left the company.
When it came back for series 8 we were all a bit shocked, and it was a consolidation year, cherry-picking the good bits of the turbulent series 7. Damien was well gone by then, as I recall, heading eventually to his current feature film surfing magnificence.
Happily, series 9 was a fabulous return to the glorious behind-the-scenes atmosphere of the early years. If we had to finish the run, I’m glad it was then. A wonderful group of people, great ideas, and some corking telly out of it.
Big Bang was a nightmare at times, and I usually finished a series vowing never to do another one. But I still miss it.
[can you tell I’m in H264 compression greybarland, by the way?]