My Experience Ringing Contributors

For my assessment, I have chosen to do the Tom Walker ‘Leave  A Light On’ music video. I read through the lyrics of the song and discovered that it is about someone close to Tom having a drug addiction and his experience with past friends who have also had addiction issues(Genius). This subject of drug addiction led me to discover a number of companies that deal with people who are going through addiction.

I figured that if I attempted to call them I could find out more information about the subject. I rang the helpline ‘FRANK’ but was unsuccessful as the person on the phone felt uncomfortable answering my questions. So I tried to call the Samaritans but unfortunately, they could not give me any detailed responses to my questions, however, they gave me some numbers and general information about other charities that may be able to help me. So I tried to ring those numbers but they turned out to be dead ends for the most part.

Overall it was nice to attempt to overcome my phone fear, and this task has increased my confidence on the phone. Even though I did not acquire much useful information for my work, the fact that I spoke to random people is a step forwards.




Genius. (2018). Tom Walker – Leave a Light On. [online] Available at: [Accessed 28 Apr. 2018].


C.O.N.F.L.I.C.T – Robert Thirkell

After reading the first part of C.O.N.F.L.I.C.T by Robert Thirkell, I realised what it takes for a good idea to be formed. He writes about developing ideas, personal stories, and combining genres and uses his own personal experience explained through the concept of a fairy tale.

Thirkell talks about how a lot of the time, ideas are created through taking an existing idea and changing it to make it more unique. Although people in the industry say they want more new and innovative ideas, Thirkell claims that the ideas that usually get commissioned already exist they just have a different story in order to make it seem new. He also explains that if you’re trying to come up with an idea, you should listen to everyone and everything around you, we all have our own stories and they can provide the backbone of an idea. This was helpful to me as it is such simple but useful tip that gives me the opportunity to create a unique idea in the future. I  can find hundreds of unique stories just by talking to people and listening to them. Even though I may not be able to come up with an idea at the time, it will help me in the long run.

Thirkell also states that “combining genres is key to a success in modern TV” (Thirkell, 2015). Looking back over television and film history it is clear to see that most producers stuck to one genre for example ‘Seinfeld’ which can be easily defined as a sitcom. Whereas in modern television you have shows like  Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D which mixes action, sci-fi, drama and superhero fiction.

Overall, I found the book to be extremely helpful in explaining how you should focus on coming up with a story. He goes into great depth about his own past experiences and how people can use those in order to help with ideas.


Thirkell, R. (2015). C.O.N.F.L.I.C.T. London: Methuen Drama.

Music Video Idea

This week I had to share one of my story ideas for my assignment. It will be a music video for Tom Walkers ‘ Leave a Light On’

If you’re reading this, it’s too late…A young girl no older than 18 sits in her shower in tears, clinching onto a knife, While a figure lies on her bed motionless.

30 minutes earlier…

The girl is slumped on a couch in her flat. Her expression is motionless, she’s gripping a small plastic bag with a miniature white object lying inside, she can’t keep her eyes from it. A man walks into the room with shopping bags and notices the bag in her hand, her expression changes from nothingness to desperation. She quickly hides the bag but it is too late. He approaches her and asks her to hand him the bag, but she shakes her head. Subtle anger builds on the man’s face as he offers his hand to her, but she refuses again. The man stands up and places his hands on his face his eyes riddled with stress and pent-up tension. All he wants is for her to stop. He grabs her and tells her to give him the bag but she just stares at him. he raises his hand like he is about to strike her but holds off.

He grabs her again and tries to take the pill away from her but she swallows it, his face fils with anger and he shoves her away making her fall on the floor, he tells her “I’m sick of this” “You need to stop.” She hastily gets up and tries to leave the room but he won’t let her, he shoves her away again as he stares in anger. Tears rolling down her face, she tries to leave one more time but he slaps her and she collapses in shock. He threatens her and she grabs a knife from the kitchen in self-defence with pure fear in her eyes. She runs out of the room to her bedroom and he chases her. The girl sits on her bed crying as the man runs into her room and goes to attack her, she then thrusts the knife forwards and his eyes widen as he falls onto the bed. The girl stands up and walks to her shower and cries as she realises what she has done.



Back in Time for Tea – BBC Two

Back in Time for Tea is a documentary that focuses on the Ellis family from Bradford as they embark on “an extraordinary time-travelling adventure to discover how a transformation in the food eaten in the north of England can reveal how life has changed for northern working-class families over the past 100 years” (“Back in Time for Tea – Series 1: Episode 5”, 2018). One thing that is crucial for most documentaries is copyright and clearance, especially for this documentary as it focuses on many different foods and product changes. “If you want to copy or use a copyright work then you usually have to get permission from the copyright owner” (Expectations to Copyright: An Overview. 2014)

It is imperative that show like this get clearance for showing and licenced brands. If no clearance is granted the production company can be “prevented from distributing … work in certain territories or over certain media” ( 2018). In back in Time for Tea, there is a large variety of music played so the BBC would have to get in touch with the rightful creators. One example of who they would have got in touch with is Capitol Records as they own the label that owns the song ‘Atomic’ by Blondie which was used in an episode.  (Discogs. 2018), there are multiple shots in which there is product placement, which is the point of the show – following this family as they progress over a century of different foods eaten in Northern England, copyright issues can be avoided by not showing us the products that were actually used back in those times.

Some of the product placement we see includes Coke-Cola and HP Sauce so in order for the BBC to use and broadcast these products they “must have the right to do so in the form of an outright transfer or a licence of the copyright from the owner of these rights” ( 2018). There is an exception in which programmes that are reviewing products do not require clearance to show them  (Exceptions to copyright: Research 2014) but this does not apply to Back in Time for Tea.

BBC iPlayer. (2018). Back in Time for Tea – Series 1: Episode 5. [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 Mar. 2018].
Blondie, Part, T., Blue, U., Beat, E., Happen, A., Pretty, D., Motion, S. and World, L. (2018). Blondie – Eat To The Beat. [online] Discogs. Available at: [Accessed 16 Mar. 2018].
Expectations to Copyright: An Overview. (2014). [online] Available at:    [Accessed 16 March 2018]
Exceptions to copyright:Research (2014) [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 Mar. 2018]. (2018). Clearing rights for film and television . [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 Mar. 2018].

Desert Island Discs – Jack Whitehall – BBC Radio 4

“Eight tracks, a book and a luxury: what would you take to a desert island?” (BBC. 2018) Desert Island Discs is a long-running programme on BBC Radio 4  hosted by Kristy Young as she invites celebrity guests to come and share 8 songs that have personal meaning to them, songs that they would take onto a desert island.  After listening to this episode with Jack Whitehall, it is clear that permissions would have needed to be granted in order for BBC Radio 4 to include all of these songs.

There is a law that when a copyright holder who holds the copyright to a song has been dead for 70 years at least, the copyright is removed and the song can be used anywhere, including on television programmes and radio shows. (Rights, N. 2011) The first song which was played was 20th Century Boy by Marc Bolan. Although he has died, 70 years have not passed by yet so this means BBC Radio 4 would have had to get permission from T.REX or Ariola which are the two record labels who made the song. To use a song BBC Radio 4 producers would have to check if the music has been commercially released on CD or for download and if it is from a live performance or event. ( 2018).

Jack Whitehall also chose the theme from the movie E.T, so to be able to play the song (Discogs.2018) for the listeners, the producers of the show would have to contact MCA Records, as they own the rights to that song. If they were to release the programme without obtaining permission for songs that were played they would have to pay royalty fees to the rightful owners of the song and it could get forcefully removed form the internet.

BBC. (2018). Desert Island Discs – BBC Radio 4. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Mar. 2018]. (2018). BBC – Copyright & Permissions – Copyright . [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 Mar. 2018].

Discogs. O. and Moon, O. (2018). John Williams (4) – E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial – Original Theme (Flying). [online] Discogs. Available at: [Accessed 16 Mar. 2018].

Rights, N. (2011). What happens to a copyright when the copyright holder dies? | New Media Rights. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Mar. 2018].

Girl In Space – Podcast

Girl In Space is a science fiction drama podcast about a girl who is stranded in space in a research vessel called the Cavatica which is “slowly deteriorating” (Girl In Space. 2017). She is logging her life through an audio recorder, talking to the listener, but referring to the listener as a character she used to live with on the vessel. This places the listener into the story and helps immerse and emotionally invest them into the story Throughout the first episode, she introduces herself but does not tell us her name, adding much more mystery to the story. She talks with a very sarcastic tone but also she seems optimistic about her life alone.

The podcast was created by Sarah Rhea Werner “from my cramped little home office in South Dakota (!), using a Blue Yeti microphone, my laptop, a piece of audio foam some dude tore off of the wall of a Guitar Center for me, headphones, and a bunch of towels.” Even though it is so low budget, she uses many sound effects to create an ambience to immerse the listener. As she talks, you can hear beeping sounds and the humming fans from the computer in the cockpit of the ship. Later on, when she exits the cockpit, you hear the door open as she enters the enclosed garden where the sound of water running and birds chirping create a familiar atmosphere for the listener.  She describes the garden pod to the listener, “the aviaries are covered in vines and filled with delicate jewel-toned birds”, “The aqueducts are lined with mossy stones and water plants, veined over here and there with roots” (Girl In Space. 2017). This description, along with the ambient background noise of the birds tweeting and generator running all come together to make the listener paint a picture in their mind and immerse them in the story.





Girl In Space. (2017). Episodes. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Mar. 2018].

SAS: Who Dares Wins – Channel 4

SAS: Who Dares Wins is a documentary in which “Ex-Special Forces soldiers put recruits through a recreation of the SAS selection process” ( n.d). The selected candidates are put through highly intensive procedures that try to replicate those that real Marines must go through during their training, it’s a test of their physical, and more importantly, psychological resilience.

This show fits Channel 4’s remit under ‘specialist factual’, as it explores and explains the world and makes us think about it differently. ( 2018). This programme does this by showing us just what it takes to become a SAS soldier, showing all the hardships and sacrifices they have to make. Specialist Factual uses “borrowed techniques from documentary and factual entertainment”( 2018). SAS: WDW does this by taking us through the training process, showing us everything that happens whilst also using music and sound effects to dramatise it to gain appeal to a larger audience.

To give the recruits a realistic training experience Channel 4 has taken it into their hands by placing them in the punishing climate of the dusty Atlas Mountains. (Griffiths, J. 2018), alienating them from the comfort of their home. “Soaring temperatures, arid landscape, vast mountains, canyons and deserts will push them to their limits”. The Moroccan plains acts as a realistic setting for base camps and interrogation shacks. These Moroccan conditions are perfect to emphasise the hardships of training for the SAS.

This terrain is described as “trigger memories of the environments where the DS have fought during recent wars. For them, this is the terrain of modern warfare.” (McGowen, B. 2018). In my opinion, the extra research and effort Channel 4 has put in to find a place which is so similar to actual modern warzones has greatly contributed to the immersion of the show, combined with the intense test physical and mental strength to the recruits, makes it a factual documentary rather than ‘reality show’. (n.d). SAS: Who Dares Wins – All 4. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 Mar. 2018].

( (2018). Specialist Factual – Channel 4 – Info. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 Mar. 2018].

Griffiths, J. (2018). Inside the stunning Moroccan filming location for who SAS: Who Dares Wins. [online] The Sun. Available at: [Accessed 5 Mar. 2018].

McGowen, B. (2018). SAS: Who Dares Wins returns  | News | Ant Middleton. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 Mar. 2018].

The Archers – BBC Radio 4

The Archers is a radio soap opera and is BBC Radio 4’s “longest-running drama” (Independent, 2011).  It fits the BBC Radio 4 remit by providing a “wide range of other speech output including drama” (BBC Trust, 2016) The episode I listened to was from back in 2013 when Bridge Farm’s dairy herd was sold. There are three main storylines running through, aimed to entertain the intelligent Radio 4 target audience, “Radio 4 is to be a mixed speech service, offering in-depth news and current affairs and a wide range of other speech output including drama, readings, comedy, factual and magazine programmes.”, (BBC, 2016)

This programme was grounded in factual research to ensure it sounded realistic for the viewers. The writer for The Archers, Carol Solazzo, visited a farm’s cattle sale due to the fact she will have had to understand exactly what it would have sounded like on a farm and what people talk about whilst visiting a farming auction. There is “no way a writer could conjure scenes like this out of the imagination” (The Archers. 2013). Carol wrote a blog about her research int this episode, she said “I took lots of notes during the auction, listening out for phrases and jargon used to talk about the cows, and at one point I recorded some of the patter on my phone“ This shows how much research they must do for just one episode to immerse the audience as much as possible.

Overall, I found that the ‘The Archers’ try and use current affairs to embellish their storylines with added drama to keep the audience engaged. For this episode, in particular, the writers did their own research at actual farms so they would be able to mimic the atmosphere to be as realistic as possible for the listeners. (2016). BBC – BBC Radio 4 – BBC Trust. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018].

The Archers. (2013). Researching the Bridge Farm sale. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018].

The Independent. (2011). 60 things you never knew you wanted to know about The Archers. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018].

Line Of Duty BBC Two

Line of Duty is “A drama about the investigations of AC-12, a controversial police anticorruption unit.” (BBC, 2018). It looks at the corruption in the police based on real-life incidents that the creator of the series, Jed Mercurio, has personally experienced. “I’ve followed authorised firearms officers under investigation, even on trial for murder. Before I was a writer I was a cop” (The Guardian, 2016). He can use his personal experiences to make the show as authentic and engaging as possible.

This programme suits the BBC One drama commissioning guide because it has a “strong investigative aspect” and it explores “how the world around us is changing and the hidden complexities of ordinary life” (BBC, n.d.) Line of Duty applies to this by “blurring lines between fiction and reality” (Wilson, 2016), which creates a believable, realistic story, with embellishment to remove the boring bits.

Mercurio said that the series is “founded in truth” (Wilson, 2016) and this can be evidenced by the real-life cases that he took inspiration from to influence the series. Mercurio states that every part of the police action must be “close to the right procedures as possible” (Radio Times, n.d.) to ensure the programme delivers the highest realism possible.

The show opens with a large-scale raid, managed by DS Steve Arnott (Martin Compston). These opening scenes featured various crosscuts of the action occurring, taken from the points of view of the different characters involved. This method of editing, with heavy use of cross-cutting between various characters points of view  “creates suspense” (Daseler, 2012) and makes the audience feel rushed and compelled to pay close attention to all the different perspectives.

In my opinion, Line of Duty clearly demonstrates how much research and first-hand knowledge has contributed to creating a  believable, authentic programme that gives a good in-depth factual look into police corruption whilst its dramatised elements are engaging but not distracting.

BBC. (2018). Line of Duty – BBC One. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018].
Daseler, G. (2012). Cutters’ Way: The Mysterious Art of Film EditingBright Lights Film Journal. [online] Available at:  [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018].
Duty, T. (2018). The real AC-12: discover the police anti-corruption officers who inspired Line of Duty. [online] Radio Times. Available at: [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018].
the Guardian. (2016). Line of Duty: why I think accuracy in police drama is so important. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018].
Travis, A. (2014). Police predict fresh crisis as cuts threaten one in six jobs. [online] the Guardian. Available at: [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018].
Wilson, B. (2016). Jed Mercurio: Lies have been the making of Line of Duty. [online] The Telegraph. Available at: [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018].





A Mixtape for Gus was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in October 2014 (BBC. 2018)  It’s presented by young composer and musician, Emily Levy, as she delves into the life of her late brother using the mixtapes he made and conversations with some of his friends. (BBC. 2018).

This programme fits BBC Radio 4’s commissioning guide through the use of music and actuality audio to stimulate emotion and to keep the “listeners seeking intelligent programmes” (BBC. n.d) engaged. You can hear the actuality as she scrambles through the tapes with the “clattering in the background” (Pickett, J. 2016)  It is particularly engaging when she finds the Sony Walkman. She sounds excited but through her sniffles and slight snobs, she sounds quite emotional as she remembers her brother, adding emotional layers to the story.

The Music used by Emily Levy brings a strong sense of attachment to her late brother Gus, each song that is used, has a story that connects with her memories of him. Not only does the music have this special connection to Gus, it also offers a nostalgic look into the music of the past which can be quite appealing to the audience, giving them the opportunity to bring their own stories to life. This likely contributed to the success of the programme.

To create a story that is “compelling, informative and complete” (Kiewiet, 2017), programme-makers must consider and address these six questions. Who: Emily Levy, a young composer, her late brother Gus and a few of Gus’ friends. What: This programme focuses on Levy’s journey to create a personal mixtape for her late brother, Gus, as she looks through her old mixtapes. Where: It is uncertain where, so I assume it’s at her own home. When: Some point after her Brothers death in 2014. Why: Levy is doing this to compose her own mixtape in memory of her brother and to share how her love of music stemmed from her brother and his passion for music too. How: This story is told by looking through the old tapes Gus created and shared with Levy and remembering Gus through conversations with his friends to tell a positive and uplifting story about Gus’ character.

In conclusion, I think that this was a successful programme due to its compelling and engaging story created by well researched and produced concepts.



(BBC. 2018). A Mix-Tape for Gus – BBC Radio 4. [online] Available at: [Accessed 11 Feb. 2018].

(BBC. n.d). Information for suppliers to Radio – BBC Radio 4 – BBC Radio. [online] Available at: [Accessed 11 Feb. 2018].

(Pickett, J. 2016). Soothing the Psyche – music as therapy for illness and loss – Getintothis. [online] Getintothis. Available at: [Accessed 11 Feb. 2018].

(Journalistics. 2010). Five Ws and One H: The Secret to Complete News Stories. [online] Available at: [Accessed 11 Feb. 2018].

Kiewiet, P. (2017). Write Your Story: Who, What, When, Where, Why, How? – Promo Marketing. [online] Promo Marketing. Available at: [Accessed 11 Feb. 2018].