Thursday 05 September, 2013
Words from Unsuual's Nick Minter, who is producing the documentary and has spent the last week in Barcelona getting to know Betty, and what sky high life is all about...
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unusual productions brings together the illegible handwriting of the Sony and Bafta winning comedian, writer and broadcaster Jon Holmes, the big ideas of The Radio Academy 30 Under 30 star Heather Davies and the expensive looking desk calculator of media boss Shane Wall.
Between them unusual have over 350632.511 hours* of media industry experience of staring out of windows (Jon), saying “what if..?” (Heather) and filing paperclip purchase requisition forms in triplicate (Shane).
These skills have seen their work appear on every major broadcast network including, TV-wise, BBC 1, BBC 2, BBC 3, Channel 4, ITV1, NBC and on radio all national networks with the notable exception of Radio 3, due to it being technically invisible to the naked eye. Oh and 1Xtra.
Between them they have won 7 Sony Radio Academy Awards, 2 Baftas, 2 British Comedy Awards, a Writer’s Guild Award, a Royal Television Society Award, a Golden Rose of Montreux nomination, a Broadcast Award, a Channel 4 Political Awards nomination, a five metre swimming certificate, two cycling proficiency badges, a lifetime supply of WD40 in a local radio competition** and at least one of them once came second in a gymkhana.
*roughly 40 years
**roughly two cans.
Heather has been named as one of the radio industry’s top 30 Under 30 for two years in a row, and was recently awarded Best Multiplatform Producer at the Radio Production Awards 2012 for her “great production values” and for building “truly interactive relationships with listeners.” She was responsible for BBC Radio’s “most engaged” twitter account of 2011-2012.
Chris Evans called Heather’s recent documentary about the 1948 Olympics “breathtakingly brilliant … one of the best hours of radio I have ever heard” while The Guardian said her documentary about prisoners’ rehabilitation through music was “surprisingly cheery” and “very moving”.
For Unusual, Heather produces audio, video and digital content, working with the likes of Jon Culshaw and Sir Cliff Richard. This summer Heather produced over 20 hours of content at the BBC Edinburgh Festival – working across all BBC Radio with talent including Paul Merton, Nicholas Parsons, Alan Davies, Charlie Brooker, Al Murray, and Nick Grimshaw.
A founder member of Young Women in Media and Sound Women, Heather is a dedicated campaigner for skills, diversity and development in radio and regularly speaks at events including the Radio 1 Big Weekend Masterclass. This year, she is co-managing the judging of the SRAs, and, for the third year running, is managing Festival Radio. Heather also sits on the London Branch of the Radio Academy and produced Tony Blackburn’s birthday event earlier this year.
Heather has also produced a number of iTunes-featured podcasts – most recently The Offside Rule podcast which offers the female take on football.
Originally from Stoke-on-Trent, Heather’s radio career began at student station Fresh Air at Edinburgh University. She then joined the Student Radio Association, helping run the Radio 1 Student Radio Awards and annual student radio conference. After a brief spell at Global Radio, Heather joined The Radio Academy in 2008 to run their Masterclasses and manage their website.
Heather’s very first idea for radio was snapped up by Jon, so this is all very lovely, really. Like when a cat licks your nose (and hasn’t licked something gross first).
Jon is a seven-time Sony and Double Bafta winning writer, comedian and polymorphic media alloy, currently presenting that there Xfm breakfast show.
He’s haunts BBC Radio 4 like a tiny ghost, writing and performing as one of The Now Show team, and his own series Listen Against is “glorious”, “triumphant”, “stunningly made” and “beautifully crafted and scalpel sharp” depending on which newspaper you read. He appears on 5 live’s Men’s Hour and also has his own show on the network, Jon Holmes’s Mob Rule. He also holds a British Comedy Award for Best Radio Comedy.
On TV Jon has worked with Armando Iannucci, Stephen Fry, Harry Hill and Graham Norton. Jon also co-created Dead Ringers and co-writes the hugely popular Royal Television Society and Bafta Award winning Horrible Histories for BBC1. Other TV includes Mock The Week, Have I Got News For You, Top Gear and 2010/2011 Unwrapped.
He is a travel writer for The Sunday Times and his books Rock Star Babylon, The Now Show Book and The History of the World Through Twitter are now also available on a futuristic Kindle.
He was once asked to go on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. He told them to sod off.
Shane has been working behind the scenes in radio for very nearly three decades now, in both the commercial sector and BBC.
It all started in the eighties when his mother asked him what he was going to do with his life, after MacDonald’s failed to get him through his first burgerzamination. “I want to be a DJ” he said.
After a year at Southern Sound as it was then known followed by a spell at the National Broadcasting School, Shane quickly realised that he was never going to be a radio presenter. Ever. So he became the next best thing. A studio engineer. Firstly with the COI, then BBC (in news) and somehow ended up running the technical division at UBC Media for eleven years, which came as a surprise – initially joining them on a six month contract to cover somebody’s maternity leave. This was a good tenure – spent supporting programme makers at every level and in all disciplines.
He worked with producers, artists and celebrities of all kinds, at many locations from the Royal Box at Wembley Stadium to the MTV Awards in Stockholm. During this time Shane spent a great deal of his time working with producers to ensure that technical standards were met for all BBC Radio network programming – including circumnavigating the transition from ¼” tape to computer based systems. In addition he has an excellent knowledge of international ISDN protocols, something that makes his mother very proud.
Sony-Award winning Sarah has worked in radio for the past 10 years, beginning in hospital radio at the age of 16. While at University studying history, she began working at Xfm, making tea for the likes of Christian O’Connell and Richard Bacon.
On graduation she went to work for digital station theJazz, producing a variety of shows from Margherita Taylor to Trombonist Campbell Burnap. After the station closed (which wasn’t her fault!) she went on to freelance for a number of stations including Capital (where she worked with Duncan James from Blue) and at Heat Radio. After two years she was headhunted by Unusual’s sister company Abundant to produce audio press kits and radio ads while running social media pages for film clients including Paramount and Universal.
At Unusual, she works on radio documentaries for BBC Radio 2 (Keep Calm And Carry On: The Vera Lynn Story), BBC Radio 1 (Superfans) and satirical comedy news shows for 5Live (Jon Holmes’s Mob Rule). She also works creatively with Unusual on ideas and pitches.
At the 2010 Radio Festival she won Radio’s Got Talent with her pitch for a documentary Killing Bono – Life in the Shadows of Super Stardom – which led to her making the programme Smooth and Real Radio. Elizabeth Mahoney in The Guardian called “a good, funny story about youthful ambition, especially one that drives young men to dreams of rock stardom.” At the Sony Awards 2012, Sarah won the Bronze Award in the Best Documentary category.
Sarah is the founder of networking group Young Women Working in Media, designed to help young women further their careers in media through lectures, debates and seminars. The group now has over 200 members and Sarah has brought in speakers from all areas of the industry, including sessions with the Telegraph, Inspiring Interns, film screenings with Paramount and a comedy session called ‘Funny Women’.
She can also make exceedingly good cakes.
We make radio, TV, film and online content happen. Our commissions come from as far afield as LA and as close to home as that building across the road.
Recent commissions and on-going projects from the team include:
Every week for 18 weeks, we have been in charge of writing, recording and producing this unique piece of commercial content for Xfm and their client Bulmers.
“Jon Holmes tackles your 140 character weekend plans and turns them into a mighty piece of radio, every Friday on Xfm just before 7pm.”
The Sunday Times
Olympic gaffes and a certain MP’s jungle antics — impressionist duo Jon Culshaw and Jon Holmes give their tongue-in-cheek take on this historic year.
Unusual have been working with sister company Abundant on the UK launch of the latest Danny Boyle film, Trance. We have produced the audio for the Electronic Press Kit, and the UK radio 30s spot as heard on Xfm, Absolute, Heart and Capital over the past week
BBC Radio 2
Sir Cliff Richard finds out the truth behind the world’s most famous Christmas carol: Silent Night. He asks why people find the carol so moving; whether it is really about Christmas, or something altogether different; and we find out just how many different versions can be squeezed into one hour.
An unashamedly festive adventure through the history of Silent Night – a journey that takes us to snowy Austria where the carol was composed in 1818. Here we meet the Silent Night Association – a team of impossibly dedicated super fans who live to spread the word about the world’s favourite Christmas Carol. We are invited around the Silent Night memorial chapel and museum where we discover evidence that, since the early 1800s, the world has been singing just three of the original six verses!
Sir Cliff also hears from poets, musicians and historians about the carol’s lyricism, composition, and global significance. And we hear from a range of contemporary choirs about the challenges of bringing the carol to life for a modern audience.
Broadcast: Tuesday 25th December 2012, 9pm
Zuno provide video e-cards for Facebook. We produced a series of short comedy videos with our dear friends Pappy’s for people to send to their Facebook friends on their birthdays.
Pappy’s is an English funnyman trio, comprised of comedians Ben Clark, Matthew Crosby and Tom Parry. They regularly perform on the London comedy circuit and at comedy clubs nationwide.
Send a Pappy’s e-card here: http://zuno.com/collection/379
BBC Radio 2
Produced by Unusual’s Heather Davies for USP Content
Barry Davies presents the story of the last time the Olympic Games came to London, the Austerity Games of 1948. The veteran BBC sports commentator hears of a games held just three years after the end of the Second World War, amidst food rationing and economic crisis.
On a shoestring budget, and with no government money, the organising committee staged a successful and cost-efficient Olympics. The 4,000 competitors were housed in army barracks and in people’s houses, rather than any Olympic Village. They used existing venues, with Wembley Stadium at the heart of the games. And the BBC became the first broadcaster to pay a fee to televise the sport, paying £1,000 for the rights to film the games.
Broadcast: Tuesday 31st July 2012 21:00
BBC Radio 2
Weekly topical comedy chaos as the man called Jon Holmes bring his unique brand of humour to Radio 2 over the summer.
Jon will be talking to some legendary sitcom ladies, including Nerys Hughes, Sue Pollard, Penelope Keith and Linda Robson.
Find out more on the BBC Radio 2 website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01l34dr
Broadcast Weekly: Throughout Summer 2012
Comedy, sketches and satire presented by Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis, with regular weekly interruptions from Jon Holmes and others.
Broadcast weekly: Fridays 6.30pm / Saturday 12.30
Weekly music and entertainment programme. Radio mischief including the legendary quizzes Ken Brucemaster and Band I Found On Myspace, Or…
Broadcast weekly: Saturday 10am-1pm
Jon Holmes and Miranda Hart host a lively, warm and funny show with special celebrity guests and lots of chat with the listeners.
The theme is Secret Santa – what to give, what you’d like to receive, how much to spend and, most importantly, what would be the ideal Secret Santa presents for the celebrities who’ve made the headlines through the year.
Broadcast: Friday 23rd December 2011
These days the state of the world is analysed, discussed and dissected by its most voracious consumers – the public. Its myriad problems are sorted and solved by The Mob who are never backwards in coming forwards with their solutions and shouting via Have Your Say websites, letters to newspapers, texts to TV shows, and calls to radio stations around the globe. Not to mention the vented views that fill up the blogosphere, the Twittersphere, and all manner of multiplatform outlets ending in the word ‘sphere’.
Jon Holmes dips into the stream of public consciousness that spews over the comments pages of the web and beyond. What would ‘The People’ do to solve the world’s problems? Will Jon Holmes’ Mob Rule? Or are they all mad?
Broadcast: 2010 / 2011
Radio 1′s Access All Areas series continues with Superfans, the story of the obsessive fan, through the eyes of those that have been there and done it – and those who are still doing it now.
Part 3 of 3 in Radio 1′s Access All Areas series. This, together with the previous two episodes, ‘The Tour Bus’ and ‘The Entourage’, is available to listen to until Monday 9th May.
Broadcast: Monday 2nd May 2011, 9pm
In September 2009, at the tender age of 92, Dame Vera Lynn topped the UK album chart, beating Arctic Monkeys and The Beatles along the way. Keep Calm and Carry On is a celebration of the “Forces’ Sweetheart” and her astonishing achievements.
Katherine Jenkins tells the story of a young singer who, in 1944, packed just one dress and a pair of khakis and went to the front line in Burma to entertain the troops. Dame Vera talks candidly about her life and legacy, whilst those that have worked with, or been inspired by her, provide further insights into her extraordinary accomplishments. Contributors include Curtis Stigers, Simon Weston, Val Doonican, June Whitfield, Lionel Blair, and a man whose job requires him to move pianos through the jungle.
The series will feature music from Dame Vera’s enormous back catalogue of timeless classics, as well as the earliest recordings from her very first record label. It first broadcast on Radio 2 in May 2010.
Broadcast: Monday 10th & Monday 17th May 2010 / Wednesday 6th & Wednesday 13th April 2011