Series guide: Crimewatch production manager

In the second of our production guides on Crimewatch, the BBC’s flagship investigative series helping to solve some of the UK's toughest cases, production manager Jill Jones explains her role in bringing the programme together.

For Jill, the unpredictable nature of the changing transmission dates can present enormous challenges, not just in terms of scheduling but in terms of rotating staff and fitting in with police cases. This is compounded by the fact that the show goes out live. The production manager’s job is therefore a challenging balancing act of a lot of guesswork, good forward planning and a good deal of flexibility.

Jill's team consists of three production coordinators and a part time production management assistant, all allocated specific roles on the days leading up to transmission, such as producing graphics, planning and logistics, and organising studio briefing notes and the studio plan.

"If nothing else, in production management communication is key. Don’t make any assumptions that people will do things or will understand everything." – Jill Jones

In terms of budget alone, Jill has to factor in a mix of chargeable items and things hired in, on top of other costs incurred when items are brought in to meet specific appeal points for cases the police are trying to crack. In all it’s a high risk production, as appeals can vary enormously in scope, meaning more locations, a bigger cast and extras, and greater cost, none of which the production manager can control.

For Jill the show is a logistical juggernaut, but an incredibly rewarding production to be involved in. “Anyone joining the Crimewatch team for the first time cannot fail to bitten by the Crimewatch bug,” she says. “I think if they come with an open mind and a lot of energy, it is hard work, but the rewards both personally and professionally are huge and you gain such a wide experience of every facet of television production, just neatly packaged into one programme.”