Behind The Scenes …
Living and working as a TV producer in London, Charlotte Vickers has met countless international chat show celebrities and has just started work on the latest series of Love Island
Chatting to the likes of Tom Cruise and Graham Norton is all in a day’s work for talented TV producer Charlotte Vickers.
“It’s crazy isn’t it! Sometimes when I finish work, I look back and think, ‘Did that really happen? Was I really chatting with Tom Cruise today?’”
Charlotte, a former pupil of Westholme School, currently lives in London but is hoping to move to Los Angeles later this year: “I just love it out there! They make massive shows in America,” says Charlotte, who after leaving Westholme, completed a degree in Theatre Studies at Liverpool John Moore University and went on to do an MA in Theatre and Film Studies.
Keen to pursue a career as a producer, Charlotte started out at Talkback TV, who were looking for a team assistant: “It was my first dip into TV and I loved being involved,” recalls Charlotte, who is currently working on Love Island and has been offered the role of senior producer on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here 2023 in Australia.
“I had started my career on the West End stage, but I really liked the fast pace of TV and the creativity involved. The producers really are the heartbeat of a show – right at the centre of everything, ensuring we get the best content and a successful show is delivered. I realised then I wanted to give it a go!”
Charlotte went on to apply for a job as a runner: “I am so glad I applied and that I started out at the bottom working my way up and honing my craft. Being in that environment, around assistant producers, producers and executives – everyone has a role to play, we were all involved.”
Charlotte’s next job with Talkback was as a researcher working on Eight out of Ten Cats and Celebrity Juice: “I was very much there to support the assistant producer and the producer. I would do the research and suggest talking points for the guests and come up with ridiculous ideas for games. The producers would pick out what they wanted to go with and made it come to life. I would be running around the shops getting props. It was such fun – it didn’t feel like a real job!”
As a freelancer, Charlotte usually works on one show over a three-month spell before moving on – her next job was working on the Graham Norton Show as an assistant producer: “He is one of the most talented, witty people I have met! He came into the office to meet the team and he was everything you would hope!
“It was a great opportunity working with him. As assistant producer, my role was to research and produce the guests on the show. The research involved getting to know their interests, if they had anything in common with other guests, any anecdotes they could tell – what they are happy to talk about.
“It was very successful – it was all about knowing the right questions to ask. I was really lucky as I was looking after Tom Hanks as well as Tom Cruise when he was promoting Mission Impossible.
“He was really nice. I had a lovely chat with him before he went on set – I was very much in ‘professional mode’ briefing him. But afterwards I thought, ‘Wow. This is bizarre!’
“I used to look at the lists of guests who were lined up to appear and I would think OMG! But at the end of the day, it’s work and you have to be professional.”
Enjoying working on different types of show, Charlotte went on to work on reality TV shows: “I like to juggle different shows as I like the variety and the challenge.
“I was working on a dating show, which was my first experience working on location and my first experience ‘on the ground’ seeing how it was produced, which I really enjoyed. It’s storytelling in different ways.
“It’s our job to help the people in the show, to get the best out of them,” adds Charlotte, who was promoted to producer while working on Celebs Go Dating and went on to work with Jonathan Ross on his show.
Earlier this year Charlotte returned home to London after working as senior producer on Love Island in South Africa: “I started watching Love Island a couple of years ago and was completely hooked!
“I had worked with one of the producers before. So, I worked on the Love Island season in Mallorca and got the South Africa series on the back of that, which has been one of the best things I have worked on.
“South Africa was full on – a really fast turnaround, which I like. We were filming and editing as we went along.
“You know it’s been a good episode when you get lots of excited messages on your phone from back home! It’s instant gratification! It’s a lovely feeling knowing that people are really enjoying what you’re working on.
“As a series it was great casting. We get inundated with people applying to go on the show, but they always manage to find the right people – really interesting and great contestants. It’s our job to help them on their journey and tell their story. It’s been a very successful series.
“When you’re working on a reality show you are constantly looking at the content, knowing which bits are good and what will make great TV.
“We do TV so well here, we have world-class producers and America loves UK television and our producers. I’ve been visiting LA on and off for years and I can imagine myself living there, so maybe this is the time to re-locate.
“I want to try and give it a go there. I love living in London but it’s a great opportunity to work in LA if the right job comes up. I have learnt so much working with some fantastic producers in the UK, who have really pushed me.
“It’s a really hard and super-competitive industry and you’re only as good as your last job. Your name and reputation is everything. But, I love it and I’ve had some real ‘pinch-me’ moments – like working with Graham Norton and meeting Tom Cruise!”