Well, I only went and won an RTS! What a wonderful, unexpected bonus after making the most important piece of TV I’ve ever made. My Family, Partition and Me told the story of the Partition of India, the brutal end of the Raj. Not only my story, the story of millions. My motivation for making it was realising, based on the reaction to my Who Do You Think You Are?, how little people know about this momentous period in history.
It’s the party season but, rather than the usual dry sausage rolls and even drier quiche, BBC Scotland’s catering team pulled out the stops for the celebration of 10 years at PQ – that’s Pacific Quay to the uninitiated – on the River Clyde.
I have a love-hate relationship with the building. I love the architect, David Chipperfield, but the vast liner on the Clyde has often felt rather austere and underpopulated.
We made The Review Show there and, most memorably this year, it was the best and most modern-looking part of the BBC’s general-election night.
To quote the Pointer Sisters, “I’m so excited. And I just can’t hide it.” This is not just because I’m having a pre-Emmy Sunday brunch with my long-time mentor and general spirit guide, Andy Harries.
Or because my best friend and business partner, Matthew Justice, is on his way from LAX to meet us at Soho House, Malibu, where we plan to spend the afternoon drinking rosé and staring at Cindy Crawford and her mates.
It doesn’t. For inspiration, I look at Victoria’s own watercolours of Christmas at Windsor. Albert wanted to recreate the Christmases of his Coburg childhood and he put up a tree for each of their nine children, hanging them from the ceiling with tables, called altars, for presents underneath. For all their cosy, domestic image Victoria and Albert, weren’t afraid of a little bling.
The general election coincides with my completing six months at the BBC. There is so much about my old job, as editor of the Independent, that I miss. But, on the whole, I am glad to have made the move, not least because my belief in public broadcasting has grown exponentially.
And for one reason above all. Part – though far from all – of my job is doing news about News.
News – the real stuff, made up of facts, and selected through wise judgement – is in big trouble.
It’s the meetings that kill you. No one warns you about the bloody meetings. Not because they’re bad – more often than not they aren’t, but they trick your brain into thinking you’re doing work when you’re not, not really.
And it can be fun. Sometimes, it takes all I can muster to prevent myself leaning across the table, grabbing my meetee by the hands and whispering, “Thank you for saving me from a life of isolation and giving me an excuse to put on my trousers.”
There is something borderline voyeuristic about being in New York for the annual Upfronts, the week-long jamboree when the US networks present their shiny new schedules to advertisers.
I am not here to attend the Upfronts but – like the NYU graduation ceremony I watch in Yankee Stadium (my daughter is there somewhere among the 16,000 members of the Class of 2016) – it is obvious that Americans do these big events better than anyone else.
I’m in a writing phase at the moment, and the trouble with writing is that it doesn’t lead to an exciting week of activities. Washing out a coffee cup and shouting at Iain Duncan Smith is about as stimulating as it gets.
Watching an election campaign from an academic perch is very different to organising coverage in the newsroom. My university colleagues are no less engaged, but they stand outside the media-political bubble and are usually better informed.
This can make some of their questions more challenging than those of presenters, correspondents or politicians. They seem to think opinion should be based on rigorous research and evidence. Quaint notion.
We have had a team researching media coverage of the campaign that has been published in The Guardian each week.