Wild Isles, and the challenges of TV or film hooks
Kicking off last night on BBC1, Wild Isles has understandably commanded a lot of press and PR attention. It’s a big-deal — a major BBC wildlife documentary, the largest-scale to ever focus solely on Britain, which also links to the sustainability concerns and COL crisis-fed focus on staycations.
As so often with TV (especially BBC) shows, obtaining advance information or broadcast dates for Wild Isles proved difficult. Once I got the commission to write a round-up for The i, travel editor Sophie Lam forwarded me an official press pack from a BBC publicist; the email chain suggested that she’d had to be proactive even in securing this. Getting one as a freelancer would have been more complicated; and I think still more so for a non-journalist.
There are usually other ways to get advance information, however. When it comes to filming locations of high-profile films or TV shows, Twitter posts by locals about their filming in X or Y tend to be waiting if you search hard enough. Last year, I pieced together the forthcoming Little Mermaid film’s chosen Sardinian beaches in this fashion.
Otherwise, and unless you happen to have a client who was involved during the shoot, I reckon your best bet is going to the production company behind the film or show. This itself should be discernible via Google or, for films, via the Internet Movie Database. The production company — Silverback Films in the case of Wild Isles — will have fewer staff, making it easier, in theory, to speak to the right person. They might be reluctant to share information (e.g. the probable broadcast date), but if you promise it won’t be published earlier than permitted and make clear that fantastic publicity may follow, that might prove irresistible.
All this is important because time is crucial here. I received a few Wild Isles press releases from on-the-ball PRs last week, but each of them (understandably) arrived too late for consideration for my article in The i — which was submitted on Friday 3rd March.
What Richard Thinks…
“A fun, one-off trip here, with added Andrea Bocelli, and a sensibly punchy release — so an all-round good job by Katie.”