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Micky Flanagan's Top 10 Travelogue Survival Tips

"Be nice to the runners — they are the future TV makers and will remember what a wanker you were"

There comes a time as an ‘entertainer’ when you are offered the opportunity to do a travelogue. A production company will say something like: “We have this great idea where you go to the jungle for six months: try to seduce a gorilla and wrestle an octopus.”

At which point, you say: “No thanks, I’m off for a bike ride”, and they say: “Yes! That’s exactly what we thinking too, a series about riding bikes.” The next thing you know, you’re on a five-week trip around France with a bunch of herberts you’ve never met before.

If and when that happens, here are my essential survival tips:

  1. Don’t be a prick. The crew are not your enemy; they’re invariably polite and just doing their job.
  2. Be prepared to do twice the amount of work you think you need to. What you think is enough, isn’t.
  3. Trust your producer and director.
  4. Be open to their advice and suggestions, but be prepared to speak up if you really are uncomfortable with something.
  5. At the other end of the spectrum, be nice to the runners. They are the future TV makers and will remember what a wanker you were and won’t use you when your career is on the skids. Some items are not going to work – when you find yourself interviewing a disco diva of dubious sexual origins in Provence, be prepared for it never to see the light of day.
  6. Go somewhere you’re not known – it is liberating working in a place where no one cares who you are.
  7. Keep reminding yourself: it is not a holiday. It is really hard to keep smiling all day long – so don’t feel you have to.
  8. Working in a country where you can’t speak the language is really hard – there are only so many ‘Allo ‘Allo jokes you can make.
  9. Cycling and making TV at the same time is a pain in the arse. Don’t do it unless it’s a short trip around the Cotswolds, or better yet Norfolk (flat).
  10. Sleep. The production crew may be pissed and having a ball but they’re not on camera – you are.

This article is an excerpt of an article originally published in Broadcast now on 30 October, 2014 and written by Mike Reilly