Fly-on-the-wall TV gets swatted by organisations

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The Independent Online
IF ANY sphere of professional endeavour has not yet featured in either a television drama or a docu-soap, then it soon will do as organisations as diverse as the MCC and the London Underground come under siege from film-makers seeking access.

The transport company receives at least one proposal a week from docu-soap makers desperate to chart what they perceive as the conflict and misery that accompanies Tube journeys. "We have taken the view that we don't want to get in these sorts of films at all," said a spokesman.

"Docu-soaps are entertainment, they thrive on conflict. Everyone knows there are problems on the Tube and a docu-soap would concentrate on those and do nothing to enlighten people about the real issues."

The MCC is also resistingregular requests for access from production companies, who were particularly keen to get behind the scenes during the club's deliberations over whether to allow women to join.

Chris Rea, the MCC's head of marketing, said: "We'd be a hostage to fortune to open our doors to documentary makers. I'm totally adamant that we would not want to open the club to that sort of exposure. Not yet."

The All England Club receives an average of one request a month from film-makers to go behind the scenes in the build-up to and during Wimbledon fortnight. Oxford University and the charity Oxfam both field weekly inquiries and so far have escaped the gaze of the fly on the wall.

Stephen Lambert, former series editor of Modern Times and now director of programmes at RDF television, says that organisations which feel confident about what they are doing tend to grant access. "Getting inside Number 10 is the big one at the moment," says Mr Lambert, who produced the acclaimed BBC2 series about the Foreign Office True Brits. "But trying to do stuff with the present government is difficult. They are pretty wary of fly on the wall."