My Life In Media: Peter Bazalgette


Peter Bazalgette, 51, is the great grandson of Sir Joseph Bazalgette, who built London's sewer system. He graduated in law from Cambridge University. In 2002 he was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Television Society. He has two children.

Peter Bazalgette, 51, is the great grandson of Sir Joseph Bazalgette, who built London's sewer system. He graduated in law from Cambridge University. In 2002 he was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Television Society. He has two children.

What inspired you to embark on a career in the media?

Having no alternative, following a very poor law degree. And the dinners I had to eat in the Middle Temple were execrable. Finally, my father told me that journalists were ghastly types who hung around in pubs. That sounded ideal to me and I joined the BBC News Training Scheme.

When you were 15 years old, what was the family newspaper and did you read it?

The Times and I did read it. It had ads on the front page and was still the sort of paper that required ironing by a butler. We also took the New Statesman - my father said he needed to know what the lefties were up to.

What were your favourite TV and radio programmes?

The Frost Report, The Man From U.N.C.L.E, Late Night Line Up and the moon landings. Radio 1 was in its glorious infancy. Was it all better than today? Of course not - everything is better now. Then there was no choice, clunky camera work and pretentious drama made by thesps who hadn't yet realised that television is a different medium to the theatre. Civilisation launched at that time and was only watched by 900,000 aesthetes - so don't believe what the wrinklies tell you about a Golden Age. They were all in the pub or watching Bruce Forsyth.

What is the best thing about your job?

Capturing people's emotions. Television remains the mass medium and with interactive technology has become wonderfully responsive.

And the worst?

How can you answer the question? I enjoy a serene existence in the sunny uplands of mediaville.

What's the first media you turn to in the mornings?

Radio 4's Today programme, followed by the Financial Times (the tabloids are a treat in store at the office).

Do you consult any media sources during your day at the office?

In addition to the tabloids, the MediaGuardian website, www.broadcastnow.co.uk, and the streaming of Endemol reality shows.

What's the proudest achievement in your working life?

Inventing TV formats that have become hits abroad - from Quebec to Helsinki, from Sydney to Rome, with the pleasure of being ripped off many times in between.

And your most embarrassing moment?

Including the words "Queen", "Stallion" and "Climax" in one sentence when working as a sub in the BBC Radio newsroom in 1978.

At home, what do you tune in to?

Channel 4 News and Newsnight.

What is your Sunday paper, and do you have a favourite magazine?

The Observer and The Sunday Times. Magazines: The Spectator and Private Eye. I can't see the point of cuttings jobs such as The Week and The Economist.

Name the one career ambition you want to realise before you retire

Never letting it be thought that I have retired. Alcohol, cosmetic surgery and raw ambition should keep me going.

If you didn't work in the media what would you do?

Vanity olive farming.

Who are your best friends in the media?

Anyone I need to sell programmes to - currently Lorraine Heggessey, Roly Keating, Nigel Pickard, Kevin Lygo, Dan Chambers and James Baker.

Who in the media do you most admire and why?

Kelvin MacKenzie - the greatest ever editor of The Sun.

CV: THE TV SHOW CREATOR

1977: Joined the BBC as a news trainee. Worked as a researcher on That's Life, then as a features reporter and ran a corporate video company.

1983: Helped to create Food and Drink for BBC2 - now the UK's longest running food show.

1987: Founded Bazal - one of Europe's biggest entertainment groups. Hits include Ready Steady Cook, Changing Rooms and Ground Force.

1998: Became creative director of Dutch production house GMG Endemol Entertainment.

2000: Brought Big Brother across the sea from Holland. Received the 'Indie-vidual award for outstanding personal contribution to the Independent Sector' at the Indie awards.

2001: Became non-executive director of Channel 4.

2002: Appointed to the chairmanship of Endemol UK.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
News
Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
Sport
football
Life and Style
Agretti is often compared to its relative, samphire, though is closer in taste to spinach
food + drink
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Kelly Osbourne will play a flight attendant in Sharknado 2
people
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
The dress can be seen in different colours
i100
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Junior Business Systems Analyst - High Wycombe - £30,000

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Junior Business Systems Analyst role...

Guru Careers: Talent Manager

£30-35k (P/T - Pro Rata) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienc...

Sauce Recruitment: New Media Marketing Manager - EMEA - Digital Distribution

£35000 - £45000 per annum + up to £45,000: Sauce Recruitment: The Internation...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing / PR / Social Media Executive

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A thriving online media busines...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?