In mid-March, Glasgow’s Citizen M hotel hosted an evening devoted to BBC One’s much-loved Homes Under the Hammer, which has notched up more than 1,200 episodes since its 2003 debut.
University of the West of Scotland lecturer and TV producer/director Paul Tucker (Edwyn Collins: Home Again) welcomed series editor Mat Marsters and executive producer Lisa Hazlehurst to a celebration of the daytime property show’s 15 years of success.
Hazlehurst described Homes Under the Hammer as a “juggernaut” in reference to the mechanics of its production.
The show is on air for 80-odd hours a year and is a beast that “never stops moving”. Thanks to a well-oiled production process, however, an episode only takes some 14 days to complete, from shooting to post-production
In 2008, Lion Television decided to shift the main body of production from London to Glasgow in a drive to boost the media industry in Scotland. In 2013, the whole team followed. Hazlehurst described the move as “like refuelling in mid-air”, as it took place while the show was still filming.
Marsters explained the show’s approach to training, which he said has “helped the wider industry as a whole”. It offers traineeships that pair beginners with experienced crew, and trains them in various production areas over 18 months.
Many of these newly skilled professionals then go on to carve out their own paths in the industry, often returning to the show as experienced technicians.
Homes Under the Hammer is loved for its tongue-in-cheek use of music. The editors work with the directors to come up with music that fits the location and tone of each episode – a house with a palm tree in the garden has been soundtracked by Club Tropicana; a high-rise flat by Movin’ On Up. Marsters and Hazlehurst described the music as the “inadvertent trademark” of the show.