Red Joan Review

Jed Joan Review Jonathan Gazier

Red Joan Review by Jonathan Glazier: This is a terrific film. With that cast, it should be Dame Judi Dench, Sophie Cookson and directed by Trevor Nunn. I found the narrative style fresh and exciting, the use of flashback is always a fine line, but I thought it was a line used to perfection. So that’s the good stuff, now for my issue. How loose does loosely based mean? Yes, Tube Alloys was the real cover for the British Nuclear Program, yes the real Joan was a secretary to the Chief Professor doing the research. And yes the real Joan gave a press conference on her suburban doorstep much to the amazement of her neighbours.

But the real Joan went to Southampton University, not Cambridge, she had long flirted with the communist party etc. etc. Her advocate was her daughter, not her son. So it really is a long list of points that goes beyond dramatic licence, in my view its a different story, a good story but actually fictional. I have always had an issue with that. It doesn’t matter how well observed the cars, costume and design match the period. If the facts are so bent, it’s not based on it is just very loosely inspired by. All said and done this is a film worth seeing.

The Future of TV

TV but not as we know it

So what is the future of TV as we know it?

Many years ago at the Royal Institute, I said that broadcasting would centre around live appointment to view tv, so a reduction in recorded programmes, particularly entertainment shows. That has happened, most of our Saturday night shows now have big live shows as part of the format. I also predicted that MIMO and FOMO would become significant components in scheduling strategy. Today if you don’t actually watch Love Island you “Miss It and Miss Out” and that fear drives views. Obviously, because social media will be full of spoilers, viewers have to watch, the “Fear of Missing Out” is real. Now streaming is shaping the future of TV. More significantly, where advertisers spend their money is changing the face of TV.

Will broadcast TV survive? That’s an interesting question. The big difference between broadcast and on-line was the linear schedule versus the on-demand of on-line, but we now see more live event streaming. The appointment to view has crossed into the on-line world with my daughters making a note of the expected upload of the next Sam and Colby video on youtube.

There’s a debate about sVoD against aVoD. sVoD is, of course, the Netflix subscription Video on Demand model while aVoD is the ad-funded model of youTube. All these services are known as “OTT”; Over The Top as in over the traditional TV services. The demographics of the viewer dictate the type of business model. Subscriptions are relatively high and tend to be funded from the Bank of Mum and Dad. That’s where the younger viewers tend to get their access to SVoD while preferring the content on the aVoD platforms

.All of this is bad for traditional broadcasters unless they can migrate their offering to some kind of OTT platform they will be doomed. In the UK, we are seeing the emergence of the ITV hub, which is a offers both ad-funded content and subscription services. Youtube is actually doing the same, you can free your self of the adverts by paying a subscription. Apple, of course, offers the PPV, pay per view.

Traditionally content providers got the cost of making the content plus a fee, and in the UK they kept (past tense is intentional) or shared the IP or intellectual rights. This meant they were free to resell the material and develop secondary revenue streams. However, Netflix keeps the rights, they have to, the content sits on their platform across the world for years. Any secondary use of the content threatens their business model. This means they have to develop healthy margins allowing a worthwhile production fee. They also have to build great relationships with their producers, and they are doing this and doing it well.

If I were in the business of making TVs or if I were a broadcaster or channel owner I’d be worried. If I were a traditional platform owner like Sky or Astro I’d be super concerned. Why pay $60 minimum for a cable or satellite service? Incidentally, I have always found “cable cutting” a bit of a strange phrase in the UK. We never really had cable TV, going instead straight to satellite which of course has no cable.

Eventually, Satellite TV will cease. Traditional Broadcasters will continue the move on-line. Even though the BBC is protected from the uncertainty of ad dollar funding because of the licence fee. It will come under pressure, and the licence fee will have to evolve. We need to keep the BBC as is; let’s keep one part of our life in national ownership. Not allowing it to descend into the hell of dumbed-down commercialism. iPlayer will see the BBC continue in some form, but we need to explore how we pay for it.

The future of TV content is excellent, we will all just be watching using different forms of delivery. The cable and satellite services will be the first to go, There will be heavy competition for our subscriptions, but the consumer will dictate the market. I don’t want to be paying out for three or four services because the content is fragmented across platforms and providers, Disney ITV HUB, Netflix Amazon etc.

I think to ensure their TV business stay relevant, the manufacturers will do a basket deal. All the VoD’s will offer the services for a one-off payment through on their smart TVs, that’s the future of TV. Mobile will do the same through the handset manufacturers.

As for Advertising, I hope it dies a death as we all move onto influencer marketing. Youtube is about to be overshadowed by Tic Toc. And we will all wake up to the fact that get rich schemes are a giant scam, and social media will face a crisis of funding.

Jonathan Glazier

Creative executive & multi-camera director in digital and television media, Consulting with and inspiring teams to reach their creative potential.

Sunday 11 Aug 2019 Dragons Den Ep 1 Series 17

I produced this show while I was in New Zealand, my boss was one of the Dragons! This is the 17th series of the BBC version, props to the one and only Tim Crescenti CEO of Small world for discovering the show in Japan. Featuring a new “Dragon,” the youngest, straight-talking Sara Davis worth 35m GBP

#jgtvdirector #jonathanglazier #jgpickoftheday #dragonsden

The Masked Singer

Coming to ITV in 2020, in production in Australia as I write (break a leg David and Chris) a show described as mad in the US press after its first season debut on Fox. The Masked Singer is a Korean Format from my friends at MBC.Celebrities don masks and perform in their own voices to the ubiquitous panel of judges. The performers are paired off and the loser is eliminated and of course, unmasked. Given some of the performers are not known for their singing this could be dubbed cruelly as a murder mystery given some of the attempts are “pitchy”. That said like the best of entertainment and in the works of one of the great entertainment producers of her generation the late Jane McNaught “you have to be able to see the joke.” Or in other words don’t take it too seriously, enjoy it as a parlour game but play to win. I can’t wait to see what Australia makes of it, and I really do hope the UK version has Eamonn and Ruth masked as beauty and the beast.

Jonathan GlazierExecutive Producer & Director, Writer and Creatorformer BBC head of format entertainment.

Elitism, is IP a thing anymore, for that matter, are TV formats a thing anymore?

Jonathan Glazier Formats and IP

Interesting I choose to write this on the day we hear ITV Studios has acquired Armaoza Formats, I wonder why… not why I’m writing but why the takeover? Is the format business as active as it once was? Or has the format fever just reverted into business as usual? Are MIP and MIPcom just getting smaller because of prohibitive costs and the Amazon effect of the internet with everyone, media buyers included, operating using their mobile while watching C21screeners and reading K7media reports?

Fremantle and Endemolshine are restructuring, otherwise known as downsizing, there have been precious few breakout hits showing any signs of longevity. Sure Love Island is doing the rounds, and The Singer is enjoying a flurry of sales but will we see a return to the days of Millionaire and Weakest Link taking millions. Yes, we all point to Got Talent, X factor and The Voice as being international successes, but in real terms, T.V. viewing is old hat, figures are down everywhere. If the floods of climate change don’t get them first, the next audience is stuck in Tic Toc land glued to influencers the rest of us have never heard of, unless we are down with the kids.

So are Apps the new Formats? Do we need a coded interactive thing with filters and followers, something that mums and dads think is the devils’ work and should be banned because it turns brains to mush and is a paedophiles paradise? One thing is for sure the bottom has dropped out of the Format lecture circuit, those of us that made some cash on the side exporting our early adopter knowledge haven’t been booked for a while. Try telling a Korean T.V. executive they need a workshop, they bled us dry of our expertise and now have shown the world they can do Formats as well.

There’s a market for selling intel ask K7media, freshly expanded into new offices in central Manchester, red phone box and all. The only trade on information today is about who is doing what and where. Netflix has bumped the holy grail of I.P. ownership into touch, sell a fact ent to discovery and that a worldwide sale so no secondary stream there. So there may be more content being watched, more opportunity to find a home for our content than ever, but how do we make it pay our mortgages?

The SVoD was thought to have been the opening up of a route to the audience free of the traditional gatekeepers, of course, all we have is new gatekeepers. Its the BarcroftTV model that is really bucking the trend, doing what Jon de Mol failed to do, creating a content model that self publishes to your tube and makes the finances work. Like JOnwhoi tried to own the production house and channel. Isn’t that a tradition broadcaster anyway? When the BBC started a producer would walk up to the controllers’ office and say, “I’ve found two comedians doing the circuit can we give them a T.V. show?” controller says yes and Morecambe and Wise are born. Peter Kosminsky thinks SVoD’s have created hyperinflation in drama, and that will eventually drive drama out of PSB’s (he means the BBC). Paying 7 figures an Episode where the BBC can just scrape together the low 6s. Incidentally, if the latest sci-fi outing of AnotherLife is an example of this great new drama explosion, we are doomed.

All of which brings me back to my initial thought, is I.P. a thing anymore? Well, it should be a thing, a person who creates something should keep a portion of the rights; otherwise, we are going to be left without incentive. It’s more a question of what is that I.P. is worth. As the audiences broaden worldwide and SVod’s and subtitles become far more global, we are going to see the multiple income streams from local production diminish. Yes, International versions of shows made for a more traditional broadcaster will, of course, continue to be made. Netflix, Apple and Amazon may carry their own localised versions of shows perhaps geoblocking to provide a more globally segmented offering.

But it could all be to no avail because the clock is Tic Toc ing for this current generation of cord cut natives watching barcroftTV, Vice, Joe media and BBC3,  then the content creators will have truly smashed the grip of this pesky gatekeepers. I was once heavily criticised for having an anarchic view of the “gatekeepers” people said they actually worked with the creators in partnership and I shouldn’t be so critical. I suggest you watch “How to Break into the Elite” on iPlayer. The T.V. industry comes across as one of the worst for a bias toward the upper-middle classes in terms of recruitment not only that it’s an industry rife with nepotism. It’s shocking, and Channel 4 is even worse than the BBC. T.V. is now something to do,  a cool industry. The days of passionate people driven by creativity are gone. I wanted to direct since I was six, an ordinary lad from a single-parent family, state school and dyslexic, thank goodness I had a charming R.P. accent, if I’d have come from South London there’d have been no chance, if I was a PoC totally no chance, unless I was a PoC from Eaton and Oxford. It’s a national disgrace.

Everyone deserves a voice, and we should create a society of equals, with Boris at the helm leading that cabinet we have no chance. We shouldn’t be celebrating equality until we get the first black prime minister from Brixton, state school and with Russell University 1st. The same goes for T.V. until we regain passionate, creative leaders who didn’t just think T.V. was an entry pass to Soho House and a better option than P.R. or the City. I joined T.V. when it was a leveller, it didn’t matter if you were Oxbridge, Eaton or Roundwood Park secondary modern,  we all had a voice, perhaps that’s what made ATV Elstree so very special.

Oh and I.P. is a thing it’s just not worth such a lot, and yes formats are still a thing, we just don’t act like its a British thing thank goodness.

Jonathan Glazier

Executive Producer & Director, Writer and Creator former BBC head of format entertainment.

The Great Hack

the great hack

The Great Hack is a superb watch, compelling even if you forget the implications of the story because the characters are fascinating. In particular, Brittany Kaiser, why does a Bernie Saunders voting, former green peace advocate and brilliant woman end up working for the Trump campaign through Cambridge Analytica? Was she seduced by the anarchy and power of the undoubtedly charismatic Steve Bannon, or was it her family’s dire financial circumstances? This is something the film doesn’t address in any depth. Nor does it look at how all the leading players at Cambridge Analytica have simply started up precisely the same kind of company after dissolving CA. Although we do get the impression they filed for bankruptcy to avoid their legal responsibilities. The money and power screams of an Illuminati conspiracy theory. All that said this is a must-watch show, brilliantly made. Chilling imagery of our data being collected and shots of those “innocent” quizzes we have all clicked on Facebook bring home the reality of data collection. There’s one caveat I’d add, who did anything wrong? Sure the ownership of our own data is something we should all debate. But all recent elections target the swing vote. All parties seek out the “persuadables“, why is it so shocking and called election influencing when it’s been happening since the mid-’50s. Once upon a time, it was Mr Murdoch who was the alleged kingmaker. Yes, the stories used today to target the swing voters are despicable, mostly false but very effective, why are we so surprised? I think the most insidious thought being the platforms we use to post cute cats are the ones being used to split society apart and the fact that Russia and other foreign powers are using the same techniques to subvert our democracy. Vice wrote an excellent review here, saying the great hack mostly missed the point. That point being, we are entering into surveillance capitalism, but that’s been the case for years, the powerful have been keeping the masses in their place using every trick in the book. Supermarkets have been employing psychologists for years placing impulse buys in precisely the right place in the store etc. The infamous “torches of freedom” smoking campaigns designed to get women to equate smoking with their emancipation in the late 1920s were an example of early manipulation by large wealthy corporations using Edward Bernays and the psychoanalyst A.A. Brill. So while it is a must-see “The Great Hack” is really about the modern-day techniques being used today, the fact that it’s got so much easier to farm data thanks to the large internet corporations. I think we all half expect our governments to hold data about us, perhaps our banks and medical institutions, suddenly we discover a bunch of college kids with an app have 100 times the data, and we gave it up ourselves so easily is a shock. If I am honest, I don’t know why we actually give our trust so easily to governments, medical institutions and of all places banks.

The Last Alaskans

The Last Alaskans

The last Alaskans is a remarkable series. We all know the pain of getting quiet reserved people to talk on camera. This is where this series really succeeds for me. Seeing these people, particularly the men open up in such an emotional way is heartwarming. These are the last 8 or 9 families living in the Alaskan wilderness, once the last children of the current permit holders die, no more permits will be issued. Contrary to popular belief is is possible to fail capturing spectacular scenery, this series does not fail, it is beautifully shot. The drone shots are lovely and the IV and cabin interiors take you right into their lives.

For me though it’s the story telling that succeeds so well and that centres on relationships. The relationships within the families and the families relationship to nature. I am no supporter of hunting or trapping, this show does help square some of those issues. For these families it is about survival and actually their relationship with nature actually does help preserve it, probably much more than most non hunters. But don’t judge me take a look at this gem of a show.

Love Island UK v USA

Love Island

As love Island breaks ratings records in the uk it’s interesting to see the US version struggling. Is Love Island one of the many ideas that just doesn’t translate? And why is that? Certainly the US VO lacks the wit and charm of Ian’s fantastic effort here. Also the US version to me feels more like unscripted drama, or a game show with people really chasing fame at any cost. The UK version actually feels more authentic, yes I did say that! But the inmates actually seem to be searching for relationships while acknowledging the Love Island “experience.”

All this against series 2 of the rebooted Temptation Island producing solid ratings. I was at FOX for the first outing but had left by the time of the UK version. I am fascinated by cultural differences particularly between countries that share language and seemingly so many other touch points. Yet still there are major differences that polarise our cultures. It highlights the fact that cultural differences are random and often hidden. A common language helps us identify and understand. But it also shows just how much care is required when language is also a barrier.

One Life Two Narratives


I’d like to share a recent observation and its relation to false news and modern reporting. In this world of instant narrative commentary being shared to the very palms of consumers, the need for accuracy has never been greater.

The illustration I use is a very simple one and is a result of the recent Wimbledon tennis match between Serena Williams and Alison Riske. Ms Riske was interviewed before the match, it was a really good interview and she came across as an open and engaging young woman. 

She explained how she hated being told to practice and train by her father but was now enjoying the game and her success.  She further explained that her father was ex-secret service on the Presidential detail and had been an FBI investigator. It painted a picture of a strict father, highly self disciplined, and during a discussion about her fiancées first meeting him, potentially quite a daunting man. It was also clear that she has a great relationship with him.

The key piece of information in the context of this piece was she mentioned that as a public servant her dad retired when she was as only five and he was looking for something to fill his time, she became that project.

All of which gave me an interesting and engaging back story to take to the impending match with Ms Williams. As with so many things any engagement with the participants adds to the viewers enjoyment, I know about Ms Williams and now i knew about her opponent.

It was a good match and after a great fight Ms Williams prevailed. I hope Mr Riske was not too hard on his daughters loss as it was excellent performance.

What really interested me was a comment made by the match commentator. He said, 

“of course her dad gave up everything to coach his daughter.” 

This would appear to be mis-interpreted piece of information. It may have come from another source and he was simply repeating what he believed. However, it came to be it gives Ms Riske’s backstory two entirely different angles. One the doting father enduring hardship to coach is daughter, the other a father who having retired early and possibly a bit board had decided, perhaps inspired by Serena’s own story of home schooling and parental coaching, to fashion his daughter into a star of the sport.

These are two entirely different stories, in the grand scheme of things probably only matter to Ms Riske and her immediate friends and family. But imagine if these two narratives were played out during the Bay of Pigs, the current Iran, UK and USA axis of tension, or at any time in the Brexit negotiations. Where a potentially benign situation is made toxic because of simple inaccurate representation of the facts.

As we all share and comment on everything from our best friends last meal, to the resignation of the UK’s ambassador to the USA we need to interrogate our reasoning, our arguments or our interpretation to ensure they represent reality, truth and have integrity. It is time consuming and requires thought in place of a mouse click on share. I fear that thought is being lost as the ease of commentary becomes ever simpler and ultimately thoughtless.