|The story so far...|
Fortunately, I am lucky enough to have two wonderful execs - BBC commissioning editor Clare Paterson and executive producer Jane Merkin. Both have been a great support throughout a somewhat surreal production period and, to our relief, they were enthusiastic about the film so far.
Above is a tease screenshot of the film being edited, with the playhead parked on the opening shot of the film (right) after the title sequence. The picture in the middle is from a sequence towards the end of the film of a fascinating procedure we filmed at the University of Leipzig three weeks ago with world brachycephalic expert, Professor Gerhard Oechtering. The film is a mix of reprise material from PDE, updates on those stories, plus some totally new sequences which we're excited about.
I see that some are claiming that there won't be any reprise material from the original film in PDE2 - not the case at all.. (if the "Let's Resolutely and Always Get the Wrong End of the Stick" Facebook group wants to double-check with the BBC, I am sure it will be more than happy to confirm.)
The Kennel Club told us before Christmas that it did not want to do a filmed interview for PDE2. We were disappointed. If the KC was getting slightly more savvy media advice it would have realised that the amount of scrutiny the first film was subjected to meant it was in a strong position in terms of ensuring that its views were super-accurately represented in the sequel. The broadcasting watchdog Ofcom found no overall unfairness to the Kennel Club in PDE, but it did rule that we should have given the KC a better right of reply on certain points. No one on the team wants that to happen again and a great deal of care is being taken as a result.
Anyway, having turned us down for an interview, we then wrote to the KC offering them (as per BBC editorial guidelines) a written right of reply to certain points we are raising in the film - points that were sent over to them. We were pretty confident the KC would accept this offer as it is usually seen by individuals and organisations as a very safe way of responding to allegations. (Editorial guidelines have very strict rules about the way these are handled.) But after mulling this over for a couple of weeks or so, the KC called on Monday to say that it had decided to not even offer any written statements to include in the film. No doubt this news will prompt a deluge from the Anons cheering the KC for its decisions - but, on the whole, this tactic tends not to play well in the general media or with the public.
I imagine the KC's tactic at the time of broadcast will be to try to make this about personalities rather than the issues. Or perhaps just to keep its head down.
I am not sure it can be very confident that either approach will work.
I feel genuinely sad that the KC - and others in the dog world - insist on seeing it as "them and us" and, particularly, for taking it all so very personally; for being offended that I and others have been so impertinent as to highlight breeding practices that are causing harm. For me it has always, and only ever, been about the dogs.
Actually, when I interviewed Sheila Crispin (Chair of the Dog Advisory Council) a few weeks ago, I told her (with, I admit, some small intention to provoke) that I was somewhat at a loss as to why the KC had not sent me a large bunch of flowers after Pedigree Dogs Exposed aired. (After all, didn't it give them an excuse to hasten reform they claimed was already in the pipeline?)
Sheila thought this was very funny. She has an infectious chuckle so it makes me smile every time I see it. As it's unlikely to be included in the film, here's the clip..