It's frustrating to discover, as most people do after a few years in television, that a good idea is no guarantee of success when it comes to pitching shows to tv networks.
Maybe this is self-evident to most people who watch tv and wonder where the good ideas are, but anyway, there are loads of reasons a network can give you for saying 'no thanks' to what you might think was a dead cert. "We don't like the people who are in it, we don't like the writing, we don't like you, we don't have the slots, we don't have the money, we do like it but someone else is already doing it, it's too similar to another successful show, it's too different from another successful show" and so on.
Peter Fincham, who's now controller of BBC1, best described the playing conditions of this particular game when he said 'it has to be the right idea at the right time from the right people'. E.g. it's unlikely that the people behind Judge John Deed (the maverick sword-fighting judge with a love of fine wine, fine food and middle-aged women) would be successful in pitching a fly-on-the-wall documentary about what it's like to be a real High court Judge. And it's equally unlikely that the makers of a topical news quiz would be first in line to make a new property show for that coveted 'Relocation to Jamie's Property Kitchen Ladder' slot.
Which is disappointing for me, as I have a humdinger of a property idea and maybe the timing is right. If only I was the right person.
It's called Property Snake and it looks at the flipside of the usual "my dream home" property show. We all know the format - someone has a dream to buy/build/renovate a property exactly how they've always wanted it - we see the 'before' shots of peeling paint and crumbling plaster, the arguments over floorings, the tragedy when the RSJ is found to be of too low-grade a steel by the building control officer (I've watched a lot of this stuff) - and finally the completion and the magical 'after' shot with soft focus and semi-pornographic close-ups of a suede-covered refrigerator. The dream is fulfilled....
Ah yes, but then there are the mortgage repayments. The mortgage repayments that tie you to your job for the next 25 years - and all those genuine dreams about writing a novel, making toys out of wood, or telling your boss to piss off, arseface have vanished.
The truth about property is, unless you're fantastically rich or live in a gypsy caravan, it ties you down. I could make this blog a bit more interesting by telling loads of true stories about the outrageous things that all the mad people who appear on television do, but then I'd have to resign and wouldn't make any money out of it anyway and have to sell the bloody house and move somewhere else.
I can't be the only one in this position. There must be an audience out there for this show. People could narrate their stories about the brilliant website they were going to set up that never came to be, the play they didn't have time to finish, the third child they would have had who would have found a cure for cancer, but they re-mortgaged and dug out their basement instead. While these people who have slithered down the property snake tell their stories, we see soft-focus shots of their beautifully decorated houses and alongside the monetary value of their handiwork we see graphic representations of unfulfilled dreams eg. newly-installed wet room - cost £15000 = "abandoned plans for balloon safari."
Now if I could just think of an uplifting ending....