When the TV boys are in town ... fables from the media world

Share
Related Topics
The world of television is a mystery to many people, especially to those who work in it, so today I am bringing you some extracts from a work I have recently come across which seems to shed some light on it. It is called Fables from Media World, and that is just what it is: a series of simple, sometimes rather beautiful fables about the people who live in the strange world of film, television and radio.

Here are several little tales from this unusual collection. See what you think.

The Lady who Walked to India

Once upon a time there was a lady walking into her local village in Burma carrying a very colourful parasol just as a film crew from Europe was shooting a sequence for a TV series to be called Around the Pacific Rim with Michael Palin Again But a Bit Further Away From the Centre Than Last Time. The assistant director noticed her and persuaded the director that she would look good passing behind the shot they were shooting.

"OK," said the director, "but for God's sake tell her not to look round at the camera."

"She says that is fine," said the translator, "but she wants to know how far to walk."

"Till we tell her to stop," said the director absently.

The first take was fine, and the film crew packed up ready to move on to the next location. It was only then that the sound man noticed that the woman was still walking, five hundred yards down the road.

"Shouldn't we go and tell her to stop?" he said.

"Not time," said the director. "Anyway, she'll realise."

But the lady had more moral sense than the director. Three months later, she reached the border of India, 400 miles away, where she died soon afterwards.

Moral: When the TV boys are in town, leave your coloured parasol at home.

The Man in the Shop

Once, there was a man in a shop buying flower seeds. Everyone else in the shop was a film crew, filming the shop, for this was where Rupert Brooke had once bought a tennis racket before the First World War, or perhaps where Ted Hughes had once bought some black ribbon to tie round his arm when a pet had died - anyway, it was for an arts documentary which you almost certainly didn't see, and the man buying the seeds was filmed in the background because he looked very authentic.

"What's this for?" he said.

"It's for a documentary on Siegfried Sassoon," said the PA.

"Ah!" said the man with the seeds, who had never heard of him. "And when is it coming out?"

"In January," she said, for PAs are always female.

"I'll watch it," he said.

And so he did. But his bit had been cut out.

Moral: If the people that run TV companies realised that everyone in the world has switched on at least once to see themselves on the telly, and always been let down, they would realise why nobody in the world ever trusts them on bigger matters.

The Man Who Listened to Noises

If you have ever made a television programme outside, perhaps about sheep in the Welsh hillsides, you will know that every now and again, just as the director is about to shout "Action!", the sound man will say (quietly), "Sorry, aeroplane coming." This means that the noise will make it impossible to film for at least five minutes, by which time the sun will have gone in again and the sheep will have moved.

Well, one day a TV director was having this trouble when he said in his exasperation, "Why can't I make a bloody programme about a sound man who has constant trouble with aircraft noise? Then at least we could go on filming when a plane comes over!"

This was overheard by a senior TV executive, who thought it would make a rather good off-beat programme to film a story based on the troubles of a sound man. So they wrote the script and got the actors (and a different director from the one who had had the idea, for which he never got paid or the credit) and went back to the Welsh hills, which are gratifyingly full of low-flying aircraft, to do the story, which was to be called: Sorry, Aeroplane Coming.

They set up the first scene, in which the actor playing the sound man arrives in his car, but just as a plane came in sight and the scene was about to be shot, the real sound man put up his hand and told them to stop.

"I'm sorry," he said, as the plane screamed overhead, "but I'm getting sheep noise."

Moral: Well, at least someone in TV has still got standards.

More fables from the land of media soon!

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Shirley Shackleton, wife of late journalist Gregory Shackleton, sits next to the grave of the 'Balibo Five' in Jakarta, in 2010  

Letter from Asia: The battle for the truth behind five journalists’ deaths in Indonesia

Andrew Buncombe
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella  

Sure, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella

Chloe Hamilton
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album