BAFTA winning exec producer Cat Lewis set up Manchester based Nine Lives Media in September 2007 and the company makes documentaries, drama documentaries and current affairs for the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Channel Five, TLC in America, BIO, C&I Network and Sky Living. She is Vice Chair of PACT. From 2001 to 2007 Cat set up and ran Unique Factual, the northern division of Unique TV. Before that she worked as a producer/director and series producer for Granada TV. Cat was an on screen news reporter for the BBC in the north west for three years. Her first TV contract was with Tyne Tees TV as a sixteen-year-old presenter of Britain's first Sunday morning kids' show, produced by Malcolm Gerrie. She then read English & Drama at Bristol University before taking a post grad in Broadcast Journalism. Cat then became a BBC Production Trainee in 1988. www.ninelivesmedia.co.uk
21 comments By CAT LEWIS
Fatima's fantastic to work with and commissions great ideas.
Bravo to Alex, Ian and Channel 4. The biggest barrier to diversity and social mobility within TV today is London’s iron grip on the jobs, the money, the power and the influence. In September a survey of people living outside London by the Centre for London think tank revealed 78% now believe living and working in the capital is unrealistic for them. No industry that prides itself on being a creative meritocracy can afford to cut itself off from such a huge percentage of the population. TV needs to be accessible to the brightest and the best whatever their background and wherever they live.
Fantastic result and very well deserved by Ben Frow and Greg Barnett for commissioning fabulous on screen talent to front an innovative fact ent format. Great news for Elephant too. I'm so glad the Bafta jury made this decision.
Sally Wainwright (Happy Valley & Last Tango in Halifax) Nicola Shindler, John Thompson, David Nicholls (One Day) plus multi award winning Paul Abbott (Shameless, State of Play & No Offense) have all signed up. This is the quote from Paul Abbott:- “It’s incredibly important that Britain has thriving creative clusters outside London with on-going, meaningful TV production happening within them. That’s the only way people from all sorts of different backgrounds get a chance to make TV, which does translate as diverse rewards for the audience, the main beneficiaries. It has to be a creative meritocracy. Regulation was put in place to balance the scales, but the numbers are still quite embarrassing. It needs fixing.” Paul Abbott
If you want to read the full Indie Club submission to Ofcom - you can click through to it at the bottom of this page. Please do sign your support if you also believe that what our MPs voted for - the legislation in the Communications Act 2003 sections 286 & 288 - should be reflected in the criteria Ofcom uses to determine whether programmes are 'Made outside London':-
The whole country is diverse Patrick - especially cities like Manchester and Bristol - so it's all about who indies - in or out of London - employ. 40% of Nine Lives current production staff have a BAME background. Using the quotas to build production bases - now often called 'creative clusters' - is at the heart of sections 286 & 288 of the Communications Act 2003. Are you calling for that to go back to our MPs to debate?
Here's a link so you can read the Indie Club submission in full:-
The key for growth is not moving companies but genuinely outside london companies being supported.
Rather than satellites which are just sausage factories used for churning out london based companies output with no development teams and creative directors working for them.
One of the most interesting points Karen Bradley made in her speech this week is that MediaCity now employs over 7,000 - more than when Salford Quays' docks were at their height. That's what the government wants - not just the lift and shift of big brands which leave too little long term legacy - but instead, genuine job creation outside London. They also want more TV programmes which reflect life outside London to help unify the country.
I've always worked hard to always ensure around 16% of my colleagues are from a BAME/non British background since I launched in Sept 2007. That's why Nine Lives has twice been shortlisted for CDN's Best Indie. We're also Manchester based - and I've worked really hard in loads of ways I won't bore you with to ensure more programmes are made out of London. However it's good Broadcasters are now hopefully showing much more genuine commitment because they have the last say on who is on screen and who are the senior programme makers on the shows they commission. Everyone's got to work together this time to make it happen.
As many people know, the phrase 'hideously white' was first famously used by Greg Dyke to describe the BBC's management team. The very sad reality is that Greg was speaking back in January 2001 - thirteen and a half years ago. Despite various initiatives being tried to rectify the situation, our industry has got worse not better. I don't think the people who work in TV are racist, but I do believe we all need to take this problem really seriously and that radical interventions are needed, otherwise in another thirteen and a half years time the situation still won't have improved and even more British people will not feel part of our society. TV plays a very important role in unifying countries, so its crucial the population as a whole is represented both in front of and behind the camera. It also means you make much better programmes.
Having just returned from two weeks in America, it is frankly embarrassing to see how hideously white British TV is in comparison. We all know money talks, so this idea should be adopted to quickly adopted to try to resolve this really fundamental problem with our industry. America has quotas and they work. TV is really important to our national identity and if a growing percentage of the population just don't see themselves reflected on our channels - they'll quite understandably feel alienated from British society.
I pay bonuses to my Nine Lives' production staff and freelancers when they come up with a programme idea which is commissioned, and as a result I receive lots of great programme ideas each day. It's great for people's CVs too. Two of my 26-year-old APs have each had three different programme ideas commissioned.
You've done a great job as Editor of Broadcast Lisa. You deserve particular congratulations for the Expert Women campaign which I'm sure is making a real difference to women in every industry. Good luck in your new role.
I'm sure all producers, including me, totally love the instant viewer feedback on their TV shows Twitter offers and it's starting to be easy to predict the ratings via the number of tweets your programme generates on TX. Keep up the good work Alex!
Transparent TV's programmes are excellent and totally justify their place on Channel 5 on their own merit. I just wish we'd come up with some of their ideas first!
Jay Hunt has made a massive difference to regional indies like mine, Nine Lives Media in Manchester. Even though we have made successful programmes for network BBC channels for years, we found access to Channel 4's commissioners very difficult prior to her arrival. I really respect the way Jay has improved access to the channel by personally meeting many indies and programme makers from all around the UK.
You're doing a brilliant job in keeping these important issues in the Broadcast news agenda Lisa. It's much appreciated by other women in the industry.
Fantastic news. Chris is one of the nicest people working in telly.