In July 2019 I answered a phone call to a number I did not recognise. It was a television production company that said they where interested in doing a story on bees. OK tell me more. 
The production company was Electric Ray. They had been commissioned by the BBC to create a ten part series for afternoon television. Each episode would have three contestants all with very different jobs. Each contestant in turn would host and show the other two all about their job and get them to do it. Before the shooting began the there was along paper trial to be completed for for compliance, visits to locations and risk assessments. I should say that at this time and right up to meeting the other contestants on the first day of shooting we had no idea what job we would be doing. Eventually a date for the three days of shooting was arranged for September 2019. 
Day one, we all turn up to a location in Kettering town centre at some unearthy hour in the morning. Dress for business they said. We were met by the production team led by producer Mark. I was introduced to Jade and Sarah. It was at this point Jade's job was revealed......An estate agent at Oscar James. Click HERE for their website 
As you will see in the program we are led through a series of staged pieces that demonstrates Jade's job. Following a very scant instruction we are set on customers as we set out as rookie estate agents. 
The format of the program has cutaways where Mark asks us what we think we will do, how we got on and asks the host about our performance.  
We see three different houses and get scolded by Jade. We are just not focused enough. To be fair we had only being doing the job for an hour and there is more to the job than it first appears. As with anyone that is good at their job it looks effortless.  
As the day progresses we get to know each other. Jade, as the first host, has a tricky job as we were complete strangers and all doing this television stuff for the very first time. At the end of each day the two rookies have to rate the host's job. The criteria are; mental demands. physical demand and work conditions, score are out of ten. The host with the highest score wins £1000.  
When shooting is completed I get sent to my hotel near Birmingham and get to bed at 2am.  
Day two with Sarah, a street food vendor, owner of "Full of Chaat". Click HERE for Sarah's Facebook page We know something about how the television folk work. Jade and I do as we are instructed preparing the vegetables and food. We are told all about the food safety and hygiene regulations, which was interesting to me. We crack on but not fast enough. Time is ticking. Sarah's business partner Keith, is brought in to get us back on track. Top bloke by the way. 
Off to the venue to sell the food. We set up the stall. Jade has a problem with the fryer switching itself off. That gets fixed. the payment terminal has a hissy fit. That gets fixed but by then a huge queue has developed. Now we have to try to serve them all! Luckily Sarah's friend Claire is called in to sort us out.  
Service over we pack up the stall and go back to Sarah's unit to do the scores. Sarah is left to clean down. I leave to get ready to host on the next which is a Saturday. I fall into bed about 3am on Saturday!  
Day three starts at the agreed time of 8am at the tank room. After 9am there is a phone call saying the production team are pooped and can we start at 11am? How do you say no? 
Everyone duly turns up. Before we start we find out we have to do a green screen thing. Its what just see at the start of each episode. We then do a piece in the depot about making and cleaning the frames. Sarah is not overly impressed with this. We move on to the apiary to fettle the bees. I had prepared a picnic for all of us. I need to look after the inner man. At 3pm there is a minor mutiny as I call a halt and demand we have some lunch. After a short but lovely picnic sat in a field in North West Leicestershire we ( I ) am ready to face the remainder of the shoot. We find out Jade is a bit shy of the bees. The late start and the filming means the hour is getting late and we still have to collect a set of hives in the next county. At this point we find the production assistant has got the big van van stuck in the mud. Mainly because he parked where I told him he should not. Luckily Degsy my Series 3 Land Rover was well able to tow the stricken vehicle back to the track. Now to reattached the trailer from the soft ground.  
Collecting the hives ends up being done in the dark. It adds a bit of jeopardy to the piece. It does not help that a bunch of vermin shooters and a chap that lives near the hives turn up out of the dark to see what all the lights and commotion is about, giving Jade a heart palpation. We get the bees settled back at the apiary. Its really late now, after midnight. And we still have to do the scores and the reveal of the winner. By the time we have done that its 3am again. 
I had stowed away a bottle of bubbly for the winner. We pop the bubbly after the cameras had closed for the last time. Drinking whilst filming is not permitted. I bet there are some stories connected with the creation of that rule. Jade and Sarah go off to their hotel. Its the local Brewers Fayre one junction up the motorway. The production team had disappeared back to London straight after filming was done leaving Mark and Anna stranded. I run them to the hotel which is the same one as Sarah and Jade. As we turn into the car park we find Sarah and Jade having a glass of wine before bed. Its 4.30am Sunday. I order and few drinks and we chat until the sky starts to brighten up. I rolled into bed about 6am and I am back up at 8am because I had an colony visit to host.  
Click HERE for our episode. It is on Iplayer and available until the end of August 2020  
You can provide direct action to help The Bee Farmer help the bees by becoming a patron. Click HERE to find out more  
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Tagged as: BBC, Case study, Misc
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