The making of BBC Four's Punk Britannia
In February Rebecca Mounsey completed her contract with the BBC's Production Training Scheme - eighteen months of training and working in placements across both TV and Radio productions. BBC Four's Punk Britannia is her first production working in her new role as an Assistant Producer.
Brian James of The Damned (photo: Andy Dunn)
Punk Britannia is a new three-part series on BBC Four that spans from 1971-1981 and maps some of the uncharted as well as the more familiar territory of this thoroughly British movement.
In the first in the series, we look at those who started it all with a fresh take on 50s rhythm and blues and electrifying stagecraft from bands like Dr Feelgood. The second episode looks at the teenage upstarts that broke the mould and were at the heart of the punk explosion of 1976-78. The final part of the series explores what happened next: the era of maverick indie record labels, post-punk and new wave.
During the course of the BBC's Production Training Scheme, I had worked on projects varying from royal weddings to the Hackney riots, from a history of Pixar Studios to a history of homosexuality. I've also had more training than I could shake a proverbial stick at! I had hoped that when it came to an end I would be able to find a position that would feel like a new challenge and be a project that I could feel at home with and passionate about.
In my first role as a bona-fide Assistant Producer, Punk Britannia has been a dream project to work on. I mean this quite literally, and not in the clichéd sense. I've had the opportunity to meet some long-time musical heroes and been able to ask and hear, first-hand, the ins and outs of one of the most exciting times in rock music.
Working on the series has taught me that no amount of training could compare to the immeasurable amounts that I have learned from watching, listening to and getting stuck in with an incredibly talented and generous production team. Each of whom has inspired me and brought something unique and brilliant to the table and I'm very proud to be cast alongside them all.
The fact that we have spent so much time together since February and are still pretty chipper, is testament to how much fun we've had. Whether it was travelling with, filming, researching, or even being locked in caravan site with each other - we have had a crazy time and inevitably become firm friends over shared anecdotes and a pint or three.
At the age of 27, I'm not as old as punk itself and maybe it's because there was no such movement for my generation, that we still look back enviously. The one thing that is truly fantastic about working on this series has been that despite punk being 35 years old, it still feels fresh and exciting. What's really heartening is that the artists who were right in the thick of it still feel as passionate and enthusiastic today for what the movement was and what it has achieved. Those teenagers of 1976 might have felt like they had "No Future" - but through their music, political expression, shock and outrage they created a legacy that we are still fascinated by to this day.
No Future? Not so.