What’s the concept of Notts TV?
Rob: Nottingham is an extremely creative city, going right back to the textiles industry and we really want to capture that atmosphere. There’ll be a fun element to this channel, but more than anything it’ll be relevant to where you live. There’s nothing like that at the moment.
Craig: Obviously there’s still a long way to go before we start putting schedules together. But our plan for the first year is to broadcast for eight hours a day; starting around 4pm and moving
through to midnight. Then from year two or three, if everything’s going well, we hope to increase it to something more like eighteen hours a day. So we’re aiming for a lot of coverage.
You’re already thinking years down the line about this, then?
Craig: We have to, it’s a twelve-year commitment at the very least. We’re trying to be sensible to start with and make sure it works. But we hope that by year four or five we might be back to the old days, with a big setup like Carlton TV had here in the eighties. They filmed and produced shows for the rest of the country, all the game shows like Family Fortunes, Blockbusters and Bullseye. Plus dramas like Boon and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.
Some people associate local TV with low quality…
Craig: It doesn’t have to be like that. The technology is there, the talent’s there, and so is the will to do it. We can sense people wanting to be involved as it’s a great opportunity.
Rob: We don’t want it to be rubbish. We don’t want it to be typically local with wobbly cameras. We’ve got a very high quality threshold, which will go out to all programme creators. If we’re going to put it out it has to be good. It also has to be very Nottingham.
So the local news coverage will be provided by the Nottingham Post?
Rob: Yes, they were partners in the bid with us, so we’ll have access to their journalists and their stories from the beginning. But we’ll also be setting up a newsroom at Nottingham Trent
University, who are also partners, and we’ll have their broadcast journalism students working on it. This will give them a chance to hone their skills in a professional environment.
There’s also a lot of TV and film expertise in-house at Confetti already too...
Craig: Yes. As well as the hundreds of media students we have, we also run a film company, Spool. They’ve worked on a lot of films you’ll have heard of like This is England, Dead Man’s Shoes and Tyrannosaur. We were watching this year’s BAFTAs and when Tessa Ross won the award for outstanding contribution to British cinema, three of the ten films in the showreel were films we’d worked on. We do loads of other stuff too from music videos to adverts. We also worked on a kids’ Christmas film with David Tennant recently called The Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger, I’m sure your readers would have seen that; it’s edgy stuff.
Craig Chettle and Rob Pittum of Notts TV - photo by David Baird
How many local jobs do you think Notts TV will generate?
Craig: We’re working on the basis that there’ll be a core team of around ten to twenty people to start with. That might grow to twenty or thirty jobs after a year or so. But while there will be
direct jobs, there’ll be hundreds of others too. We’ll be reaching out to local creatives who are already producing quality content and looking to commission them for freelance projects. Then
there are all the other things we’ll need. TV is a big industry and at times we’ll need to bring in everything from joiners to caterers to help us.
If local creatives want to pitch ideas for shows, how do they get in touch?
Craig: People should visit our website nottstv.com. We’ll be advertising sessions on there, with other announcements coming through LeftLion and other local media. We’ll be commissioning ideas throughout this year and bringing presenters and writers on board. We’re trying to bring different creative communities together. This is a great reason to collaborate.
Rob: We want people to approach us with ideas and talk to us about making stories. We also want to give people in different areas cameras, so we have dedicated journalists in every part
of the city, filming their own stuff. My vision is that this channel will be very interactive and scream Nottingham all the time.
When you won the bid in October 2012, it was briefly revoked. What happened?
Rob: We were told very little about it to be honest. But what they did say was that it was nothing to do with our bid, it’s just that they needed to go back and look at the bidding process. This is part of a national scheme with twenty-one local TV station licences being awarded. We were the first contested one and after ours they had to deal with some bigger battlegrounds like London. I think they just spotted a flaw in their process and decided it needed tweaking to make it watertight. We didn’t do anything differently, we submitted exactly the same documentation second time around and won it again.
Craig: It was only suspended for a week, but it felt like a month at the time.
Explain the national scheme this is part of...
Craig: When OFCOM originally published the opportunities, there were twenty cities covered and then Sheffield chipped in to make twenty-one. I get a sense that we’re one of the more
ambitious about local content generation and some of them will probably buy in stuff in from all over the place, which is fine, but that’s not why we did it.
Rob: Obviously this means that if we produce programmes that are particularly good, there’s a chance that other stations might want to pick them up too.
If budget wasn’t an issue then what would be a dream Notts TV programme for you?
Rob: I’d love to do a live breakfast news programme from the Market Square every day. If the laws of time weren’t an issue either we’d have an evening chat show hosted by Brian Clough.
Craig: I’d love some kind of Big Brother thing with Su Pollard, Sir Paul Smith, Alvin Stardust and Torvill and Dean. Just imagine how entertaining that bunch would be.
Anything else you’d want to say to LeftLion readers?
Rob: Let us know what you want to see us broadcast, because that will actually play a part, without a doubt.
Craig: Get involved. Your readership are exactly the sort of people we want on board; the people who work at LeftLion, the writers and the other creatives. There’ll be programmes for 40-70 year olds but there’s also an ambition to get a younger audience really plugged in and to broadcast relevant content for them.
The men behind Notts TV
Craig Chettle (Notts TV Chair)
- photo by David Baird
• Managed European tours for London Beat and Tindersticks.