Tag Archives: Reality TV

Chapter 5 – Sophie & The Production Meeting

2 Jan

‘Balls, balls, balls’. Sophie sighed. ‘Oh god, there’s just too much to do.’

In front of Sophie, Tom, Kyle The Runner and Victoria lay a pile of treatments, overviews, rough budgets, headshots, CV’s and empty mugs. It was the kick off meeting for scripted reality show ‘Hip Replacement’ which was being renamed, because, the name was ‘obviously a dreadful joke’ and sounded like ‘an depressing view into the lives of 80-somethings’ Ian Langley had informed Sophie by email a few minutes before.

‘Where shall we start?’ Sophie sighed.

The door flew open and Ian strode in. Tall, dramatic, very clean. His hair was slightly silver and cropped short against his dry, over-tanned skin. He was TV rich (as in, not very). He drove a ridiculously large black car with tinted windows. This should have been hot. But, like many senior men in media there were some very serious failings. For one, he had a slightly high pitched voice. He enjoyed telling anyone who would listen that he was a nudest. His legs were slighly too short which made his torso look strangely long – and in the wrong cut suit he looked like a giant dwarf.

On his desk sat a framed photo of himself with a mullet from 1998 – the wrong year to have a mullet, even ironic ones didn’t appear until the early naughties. ‘An embarrassing gift from my old assistant,’ he would claim, handing it to you to get a closer look. He was also topless in it.

‘Hello.’ Ian smiled at Sophie. ‘And you must be Victoria?’

Sophie watched as Victoria blushed and smiled back at him. ‘Yes, very nice to meet you Ian.’ She tucked her hair behind her ears and chewed on a finger nail. Sophie noticed they were chewed down to the stump.

‘Well, we must go for a drink, eh?’ He nodded at Sophie. ‘Lets give her a proper Bear welcome, shall we?’

Sophie didn’t have time for this.

‘Sorry, we’ve got shit loads to do, Ian. Is Penny still around?’

‘Changed that bloody name yet? Hip Replacement? Who the fuck thought of that?’ Ian laughed.

‘Me.’ Said Sophie. ‘A least it’s not called ‘My Big Fat Hipster Challange’ or ‘ The Great British Hipster Revival’ or something equally unoriginal.’ She sighed. ‘We’re working on a new name, but firstly I NEED A FUCKING PRODUCTION MANAGER!’.

‘Jesus, Sophie. Language.’ Ian was thoroughly over-acting his disapproval in front of Victoria.

Victoria looked amused. Tom pushed a CV towards her. ‘Claire Renyolds. PM on 3 BBC feature programs, did some time on Big Brother and was just dropped from a new show due to funding cuts’

‘Tories.’ Ian looked slightly displaced, muttering as he backed slowly out of the room.

‘Oh, Tom.’ Sophie sat down, instantly more relaxed. ‘This is great. And she’s been called? And she’s available?’

‘Yep. I asked her to come in later today. Me and Victoria can prep everything if you like?’

‘Victoria and I.’ Said Sophie meekly. ‘That would be great.’

At that moment fucking Penny walked in and took a seat at the end of the table, Sophie noting the purposeful distance she put between herself and everyone else in the room. Penny had a thick fringe and glossy caramel hair. She had a huge rock on her finger from fiance Gerry who worked in the city doing rich things. Penny was well bred, well brought up, well beautiful and as dull as a night out with Human Resources. Her only fault – a lisp – was impossibly cute.

‘Aw, thanks for coming by. I actually think we’re fine now – amazing Tom’s has got it sorted.’

Penny sighed, slowly, painfully rising back up, and through a forced smile, ‘Oookay, let me know if I can do anything else.’

Sophie continued on. They chose casting agents, possible locations, refined the format. As the morning rolled into lunch, they ordered Kyle The Runner out for sandwiches and by 3pm, and several conversations with Legal, Sophie felt confident they had broken the back of it. They had not decided on a name because they had decided on a set – the set was to be a hairdresser/cafe/bar on a short strip off Bethnal Green Road called ‘The Locks Inn’. It was an iconic Brick Lane business – a cute, retro themed salon complete with barista out front and a ‘nail bar’ out back. It was run by a fabulous woman called Jennifer W. If the staff were not up to scratch they could hold castings and create the dynamic they needed. Sophie pushed away the twang of guilt she felt, reminding herself it would make Jennifer W a lot of money in the end.

‘Guys, this has been great.’ Sophie was tired and her head was starting to pound again. She reached for a couple of neurofen and her phone.

‘Tom can you get everything ready for.. Claire, was it?’

‘Yep, Claire Reynolds’

‘Great. And Victoria, can you type up the notes from today. It doesn’t need to be super neat or anything. I need to… well you guys can go now.’

She waited patiently while they packed and filed everything, and made their way out of the conference room. As soon as the door was closed she made the call.

‘Robyn. Have you got a sec?’ Sophie swung round in her chair to gaze out of the window.

‘Darling!’ Her voice filled with warmth and love. ‘I’ve got a very quick five mins – is that enough?’

‘It’s about Chris.’

‘Oh. Shall we meet after work? I can manage a glass.’ Sophie noted her hangover before agreeing.

‘That would be great. I’m just…’

‘Save it, darling. We can talk then.’

There was something in her best friends voice that told her she already knew. The crushing humiliation weighed down upon on her. She felt instantly nauseous and her chest tightened. How long had Robyn known?

‘Sophie?’ Victoria’s voice came from round the door as she slowly pushed into the room.

‘What is it?’ Sophie snapped, angry at the interruption and too teary to turn around.

‘I just bought you a coffee. I’ll can leave it here?’

‘Right. Thanks.’ she replied flatly.

The door shut softly. Guilt on top of pain turning to anger. It had been 3 years and it still smacked.