British Airways World Traveller

Agency: Spafax

Brief: To give passengers a unique inflight experience, by showing them specially-made, airline-branded television programming. At the same time to use the opportunity to publicise new routes.

Solution: The logical genre for original programming was the travel show. The plan was to feature a different destination each month, selected according to British Airways’ priorities for promoting new or expanded services.

My role: Producer, writer, director

Comments: This was as much a landmark series for me as it was for British Airways, and despite its vintage I felt that I wanted to include it in this review of my work. I was Spafax’s head of production when we sold BA on the idea of making these travel programmes. At the start they were made on a shoestring: I would travel to the destination with just the presenter, and work with a local cameraman; I’d act as sound recordist myself. The very first was Barbados, with a then novice Emma Forbes, who was brilliant, and clearly destined for a bright televisual future. Sometimes I’d use a presenter from the destination country too. (The very best was a young Matt Lauer – who needs no introduction to anyone reading this in the States.) I would fly, on my own, with all the camera and sound equipment, and start filming the next day with a cameraman and presenter I’d never met before. It could be stressful!

As the series continued the length of the programmes grew, and eventually we were making them with a crew – cameraman and sound recordist – that flew out from London. After the first few it became clear that as head of production I couldn’t personally afford the time to make a programme a month – much as I would have liked to. I then began to share the producer/director role with Sarah Cable, who I name-check here because she is one of the most talented people I have ever worked with.