There’s a family feeling at UKTV’s head office in Hammersmith. Although the company runs 10 channels and offers a vast range of content, the company itself is quite small.
The offices, which houses UKTV's 270 staff members, are spread over two floors in Hammersmith and offer an quite the range of amenities.
A large staff kitchen and communal lunch area takes up a large part of the lower floor - training on how to use the hulking coffee machine is reportedly an essential part of any new staff member's induction.
Hidden away through a filing cabinet is a room designed to look like a train carriage, designed in 2014 by one of the teams at UKTV in an inter-departmental competition, while scattered across the company are quirky touches like a giant macaw and a suit of armour.
Accessed by a secret code in the lift is another floor which houses UKTV’s onsite studios, comprising a screening room, small film studios, recording booths and a sleek kitchen studio.
The RTS is here, turning slowly green with envy, to meet UKTV Senior Producer Celia Bayne.
Celia is a Senior Producer at the relatively new UKTV promos department, responsible for some of UKTV’s biggest channels including Dave, W and Play.
Her job, she says, is to “manage the team that works on the promos for my channels to make sure that they are produced and delivered on time and to budget.”
“The biggest question we get”, she adds, “is how quickly we can create something, and that’s very hard to put your finger on. It’s all about knowing the right people.”
She recalls a recent promo that the other promo team made: “They did a shoot for Gold recently with bunnies and made miniature sets that bunnies can run around in. That takes weeks of design work.”
Day to day, Celia is balancing a hectic workload: “Each month we have a ‘make’ list of around 34 promos, and we can’t really go over that. That’s what we’re producing every month.”
For Celia’s team of about nine – a producer, two coordinators, a creative manager and five creatives – that is a lot of content to create, which means that the smallest delays or changes can prove to be major problems.
“It’s a domino effect” she says. “Because we schedule a whole month of ‘makes’, it is really tight. There are five creatives on the team and their schedules are really strict so as soon as a date moves then everything shifts.”
“Being organised and flexible is essential to being a good producer” Celia advises.
“Things change a lot and sometimes it can be a stressful job but you do get used to it and to thinking on your feet. I always think, you can’t say no unless you’ve got another option. You’ve always got to be able to throw a few ideas out there.”
Being the voice of pragmatism all the time must surely be exhausting?
Celia laughs. “The creative team and the production team work really well together but they always think we’re the stick-in-the-mud because we’ve got to say that we don’t have the money or don’t have the time.”
“I always say there are three factors: we can either do it quickly, cheaply or well, and you can only ever do two of those at a time.”
UKTV says it is passionate about supporting and developing their staff, and Celia agrees.
Since she joined UKTV she has volunteered to take part in a number of schemes that the broadcaster runs, mentoring 18-24 year olds who are seeking entry to the TV industry, and visiting a local school to read to one of the children.
“I got to the stage where it was really busy but I thought I needed something more. There are lots of opportunities here and I wanted to take advantage of that.
“We walk over to the school and then just sit in the library with the kids for half an hour and find a book and help them read. The kid I read to is six. He’s so funny, he won’t read. He just likes to be read to.”
“It’s funny going from that calm where you’re reading and then back to work and the sudden chaos. The worlds are so different” she reflects.
It is clear that Celia is immensely proud of her offices and her company.
“We all went to the cinema yesterday for a half-day screening of Quantico, our new show”, she says. “It’s so that everyone in the company gets to see the content because it is really important that you can actually feel confident about what we’re putting on our screens.”
Photos courtesy of UKTV