Sunderland University students help produce pilot quiz show

STUDENTS from the North East have helped to film and produce a pilot for a quiz show being developed for TV.

Hot Seat gameshow at Sunderland University's media centre
Hot Seat gameshow at Sunderland University's media centre

STUDENTS from the North East have helped to film and produce a pilot for a quiz show being developed for TV.

The 45-minute pilot episode of Hot Seat, which is in development for a major UK broadcaster, was shot at Sunderland University’s TV studios.

The students have been involved at every stage of production, from casting and rehearsals to the filming, special effects and editing.

The pilot was directed by Tom Gutteridge, one of the region’s most influential TV executives and a Journal columnist, who has won numerous international awards, including an Emmy.

His Newcastle-based production company Standing Stone created the format and decided to approach the university when the UK broadcaster asked them to develop the show for a possible network slot.

Tom Gutteridge, who is chief executive of Standing Stone, said: “This was a perfect opportunity for a collaboration between university and industry.

“Sunderland has terrific facilities and very enthusiastic students and staff, and we added some professional expertise and the format of the show.

“The result was something that was virtually indistinguishable from a broadcast quality production, which is amazing for a first pilot. The broadcaster was seriously impressed.”

Students worked with industry experts in design, lighting and editing and acted as camera operators, sound assistants, runners, floor managers and editors.

Teesside-born TV presenter Kirsten O’Brien fronted the pilot, which featured contestants from across the region.

Kirsten said: “This was a unique joining of forces, because the students got the opportunity to do everything you would on a genuine television show and the production company came away with a top-notch pilot.

“You wouldn’t even know that they are students – they have been exemplary in the way they have worked.”

Michael Gorse, a 19-year old broadcast media production student who worked as a production runner on the pilot even came up with ideas to change aspects of the game show in order to better suit the audience.

He added: “This has been a great experience for me, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.

“It’s my first media placement, but I have already been in touch with my tutors and placement co-ordinators about doing more work. This can only help my dream, which is to work in live TV.”

Jason Legget, head of media convergence at the university, added: “The university has fantastic links with key players in the industry, and Standing Stone is one of the region’s very best.

“I think the willingness of the university to work with industry and how positive and receptive our students are is key to why companies seek us out in the first place and work with us on a regular basis.”


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