Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Columnist

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Columnist

Article excerpt

Byline: KEITH HANN

DO you remember the hall of distorting mirrors that used to come to the Hoppings every year? That, I discover, is very much the experience provided by an appearance on TV.

I realised that I had put on a little weight. In my more honest moments, I might even admit to being rather fat.

But it took a documentary film crew to make the unflattering revelation that I am not only possessed of a vast corporation, but that it actually moves about independently as I walk.

This is, for me, the most depressing aspect of "Iceland Foods: Life Inside The Freezer Cabinet", which begins its run on BBC2 at 9pm next Monday.

My own bit part in this series as Iceland's PR adviser was somewhat inflated by the fact that filming coincided with the Horsegate food "crisis".

The robust language I used at the time is apparently mainly responsible for the programme's post-watershed slot.

Overall, I think the impact on my future career prospects was neatly summarised by the Iceland director who assured me that it would be a great break. "There will be lots more people wanting to work with you once they've seen this," he said. "Not doing PR, obviously."

The "reality documentary" is, it seems, a great growth area for broadcasters, perhaps because the "talent" performs for free.

They have already shown us everything we could possibly want to know about airports, airlines, railways, call centres and Greggs the bakers. Next comes Iceland, and soon every retailer will want one.

I think there is a lot to be said for shedding light on the workings of businesses, but I'd be glad if the film-makers spread their net to other areas, too.

In particular, I would simply love to see a fly-on-the-wall documentary following the process of building a wind farm. This already has all the ingredients that made the "Alien" film franchise such a box office success.

The structures are repellent and it seems all but impossible to kill them off.

In August my stomach and I were photographed among a happy band of local residents outside County Hall, after Northumberland's planning committee unanimously rejected an application for a large industrial turbine at Follions in Whittingham Vale, on the edge of the National Park. …

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