Series guide: Crimewatch producer/director

Our fourth film in our Crimewatch series, part of our production guide for anyone wanting to work on Crimewatch or similar programming and roles across the broadcast industry, features producer/director Rhys Roberts. He explains his views on how important his role is to the success of the programme. 

“What we're doing is to help the police catch the people responsible. You're making a film that will get people to ring up and give information.”

For Rhys, one of a team of producer/directors on Crimewatch, his role is pivotal to the core remit of the programme – bringing people to justice.

Using a mix of presenters and detectives working together to front appeals to the public, Rhys is responsible for delivering the reconstructions which are the most impactful part of the show for its millions of viewers.

"It’s public service broadcasting at its heart and you have to have that at the core of your thought process." – Rhys Roberts

Choosing which case to reconstruct is by no means easy, as reconstructing real crimes on screen can lead the public’s view and their recollection of events. As Rhys explains, “We want people at home to ring up if they’ve got information, so when we film things we’re very much mindful that we want it to be a true representation.” This can be gory, violent and is often upsetting, but ultimately it helps to underline the true nature of what may have happened to a member of the public.

Filming reflects the nature of the subject and Rhys explains how the kit and shooting style make the reconstructions more powerful – faster paced to convey the ferocity of some events, and with careful close-ups to show reactions and the emotional impact of a crime.

Presenters are equally involved in the production, and Rhys gives them a thorough briefing to make sure they have a full understanding of the background to a story. He also supports the senior investigating officers working in the studio, so that they’re fully across the appeal points in the studio script and so that other officers can make the best of any phone calls that come in.

“What makes my evening is after the programme we have a debrief, and an officer will say we’ve sent officers to an address and we’ve arrested somebody,” he states, as for Rhys bringing people to justice is what the show is all about. “It’s public service broadcasting at its heart and if you want to do that then you will succeed on Crimewatch, but you have to have that at the core of your thought process.”