The idea for The Hoff: When Scott Came to Stay was cooked up by myself and the development team at Summer Films, along with Laurence Hill, a celebrity producer. The concept was simple: take a well-known UK celebrity and get them to live alongside a global superstar they have idolised since their teenage years. We wanted to convey the idea of a journey from idol worship to, hopefully, friendship. Key to the show was that the UK celeb would have unprecedented access to their idol, giving them the opportunity to scratch beneath the superstar exterior and find out what really made the star tick.
Over the years I had worked on many projects with executive producers Southan Morris and Rob Farquhar. The most recent was Gethin Jones' Danger Hunters for Virgin 1. So it seemed natural to take this idea to Mark Sammon, Virgin Media Television's head of commissioning. He immediately saw how this would work as a bold factual entertainment show.
To kickstart the series we wanted to find an icon who had had their fair share of headlines, but had also managed to retain a cool yet kitsch fan base. With this in mind, who better than 80s superstar David Hasselhoff? Working closely with Sammon, we looked for a UK celebrity who had grown up idolising David. This fan needed to be a strong character in order to hold their own against the might of the Hoff.
We found the perfect candidate for our British fan in Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills. His dedication was clearly demonstrated by the “Hoff Day” he had created on his drivetime show. I liaised with David Hasselhoff and his management team to set up a structure that would reveal Brand Hoff alongside his private persona.
We wanted to carefully balance Hasselhoff the action hero with the more “mundane” at-home personality. Although we had Hasselhoff's schedule, we decided not to tell Mills what was going to happen so that his adventure would retain a spontaneous, raw quality.
As soon as we landed in California we were thrown straight into the action, accompanying Hasselhoff as he jet-skied in the same location as the original Baywatch shoot.
The Hoff was not about to let us rest and with the jet lag becoming a real problem for Mills, we took a private jet to Las Vegas for one of the most bonkers nights of our lives as the Hoff ran riot, leaving us to chase release forms from all the people who stopped to say “hi” to him. After the madness, we followed him back to California to film some Hasselhoff at-home time.
With just four days to shoot, each day was very long, but all went smoothly thanks to a small but hard-working crew. The resulting programme is a journey that strips away The Hoff's layers to reveal a caring, sensitive and often misunderstood man.
THE HOFF: WHEN SCOTT CAME TO STAY
Production company Summer Films
TX Living TV, 6 April at 10pm
Executive producers Southan Morris, Rob Farquhar
Line producer Natascha McQueen
Director of photography Chris Smith
Series producer Kevin Lane
Summary The first in a strand of factual entertainment documentaries following a British celebrity who lives with their all-time idol for a while
My tricks of the trade
Pencils and paper (lots) to rewrite the schedule on an hourly basis
Cooler box filled with food and Coca-Cola for tired and overworked director of photography
Ability to survive a week on two hours' sleep a night
Release forms (like cutaways always think double the amount and add 40)
Patience and understanding