Must-See TV Sell It To Me

I caught a TV review slot I would never normally seek. It did not seem one run with any great informative intent. More to display the insouciance of the so-called reviewers in a manner that made me wonder whether I’d be relieved of my lunch money.

Yet the odd rose did bloom from the manured field that is so often BBC Radio 5live.

Especially here with their audience involvement feature (well, it is 2017), “sell it to me”.

The idea being to entice the “pros” to watch what you love. Here’s a warm-up pair (from the all-American output, I note) that came in early as the show progressed;

You guys should be watching Finding Bigfoot on the Discovery Channel. Four people roaming around the Pacific Northwest of America looking for an animal that doesn’t exist.

This Is Us is absolutely amazing. Prepare to have your heart pulled out of your chest then for someone to go back in to check if they’ve missed anything. Cried at just about every episode. The last time I cried at TV was when Take That split.

“Incredible” pitches which the studio loved from “legendary texts”.

Then at the end of the 45 minute show, the official ‘sell it to us’ segment. A thirty second pitch where down the line there’s “three amazing listeners who are going to try and sell it to you … what is an amazing bit of telly that cannot be missed and then we … will be given the job of watching it over the next seven days”;

I want to sell you Thirteen Reasons Why. I didn’t really know anything about the programme before I started watching it. And have spent the last 13 out of 36 hours watching the programme. Completely obsessed by it. Couldn’t stop hitting ‘next episode’. Got a gripping story. The characters are amazing and it builds to an unbelievable finish. So you definitely have to get on it.

House Of Cards I’ve just absolutely binged on and I can’t wait for the new series to come out. It’s really kind of one of those million-dollar Netflix series that have cast Kevin Spacey, and kind of casts him as this really typical dark side of politics. And one of his quotes – if this doesn’t get you watching – he says “the road to power is paved with hypocrisy and casualties and never regret”. And really plays that dark side of politics [that] I absolutely love. So definitely watch it.

Feud: Bette and Joan. It’s not yet on but I’ve just watched it in America. Amazing story about the legendary rivalry between Bette Davis, Joan Crawford. Done by Ryan Murphy. Got Academy Award winners. Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange. One of them will win the Emmy. The last episode about the Oscars was just amazing. The twists and turns of what actually happened on that Oscars Night, and the way Ryan Murphy has done [it] is just stunning. And just wait ’til it comes out on British TV.

Cue purrs of excitement. “That’s a good selection”. “See, all of those I’d just watch for pure enjoyment”.

Here’s a trio to tips to take from these for the pitch of a solution seller.

i) no narration

To shine do not fall into the number one commonplace trap of merely reciting the plot. The second (“dark side of politics”) and third (“legendary rivalry”) get a mere index. The first, nothing at all.

People thinking they can inject a wikipedia-style narrative description with enough enthusiasm to create action are deluded. In Arts as it is in Sales.

ii) shared emotion

The moments that stick share something. And I’m not talking about using the word ‘amazing’. A standout element that suggests an emotion. The feeling you’ll experience and maybe share.

The obsession which can’t stop bingeing. The surface futility of searching in vain. Behind the scenes catfight twists and turns.

iii) left-field hook

And finally, I think you get left with a firm sense of an over-riding theme from an unexpected moment with the winners.  There’s a definite left-field hook.

The Spacey character quote is a belter. The 13-from-36 metric. Sobs when Take That split.


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