Working with contributors

Members of the public crop up on our TV screens all the time. Watching the lives and opinions of ordinary people unfold in the public arena seems to capture everyone’s imagination.

We’re all very used to seeing these ‘real people’ wrapped up, formatted and branded in slick TV packages. But how do programme makers ensure they treat contributors honestly and with respect while asking them to do something which is often well outside their comfort zone?

Joining Hazel Marshall in the studio to discuss working with members of the public that help us to tell a story or investigate a subject are Stuart Bernard and Tom Bateman.

"To endlessly mess people about isn’t ideal." – Tom Bateman

Producer/director Stuart Bernard made the final episode of the BAFTA award-winning BBC Three series Our War and has worked on a range of observational and structured documentaries as well as The One Show. Among the contributors he has worked with have been children, the elderly, farmers, NHS staff, people with serious illnesses, high-ranking military officers and Romany travellers.

Tom Bateman started out in commercial radio. He is currently an output editor on the Today Programme and was previously at Radio 1.