Matt Edmondson introduces his new show, TV OD...
Hi Matt. Could we start off by asking you to describe the format...
Sure. It's a comedy entertainment show. The best way to describe it is "it's a funny Points Of View". So we'll be taking people's comments about what's been on TV that week, and that's all tied up with me doing what I've done on other shows in the past like The X Factor and The Apprentice, and that's taking a TV show, finding clips from it and reviewing it and re-capping it in an amusing way.
I guess the closest thing it is similar to visually is TV Burp, in terms of it's a man doing jokes with clips from TV shows. It's a little bit more in-depth than Harry Hill perhaps was, in that we'll take a show and go through it in more detail than he would, and also looking at what people have been saying about it in the world of social media.
Some people have read the press release and gone "oh, it's a bit like Gogglebox", but actually it's really not. It's probably closer to what Charlie Brooker or Harry Hill does. I guess the Gogglebox element is that we are looking for other people's opinions to go alongside my authored comedy stuff.
So are you the only one on screen Matt?
I'm pretty much the only person on screen, but we have got a couple of characters.
Rose Johnson, from the sketch group Birthday Girls, plays a character. We asked lots of up-and-coming comedians to come up with characters, and she came up with one which is really good. Her idea was to look at inadvertent smut on TV, so she's got a character without a broadband connection and thus the only way she can get her rocks off is by watching terrestrial television. So she finds smut in seemingly innocuous stuff - she's very good at playing that character.
We've also got Jamie East. He used to run the website Holy Moly and be on Big Brother's Bit on the Side. He's now the presenter of Game Of Thrones' Thronecast. He's going to be a character that - and bear with me why I sell this idea to you, as it sounds dreadful, but it is funny - he is the voice of a watercooler that travels around the country and talks to people about what they're watching on TV, and interacts with them. So it's sort of like vox popping people, but they come to the watercooler. The watercooler has its own defined personality. The face you're probably pulling now is the same face the production team made, but we shot it and it's come out brilliantly. I think it's the funniest thing in the show.
The rest of the show is me doing the re-caps with the aid of social media commentary. We'll also have guests. Some will be from shows that are in the furthest reaches of the EPG, and some will be people have been on TV in a high profile way that week, and we'll confront them with the social media commentary around that show.
Sounds fun. Harry Hill has said that TV Burp almost ruined his life as he had to watch so much trashy TV. Are you worried this will happen to you too?
Harry did TV Burp for over 10 years, so I think after 10 years you might slightly get ground down. I think the slight difference with Harry though is that the kind of joke that he was writing - i.e. a lot of it was sight gag driven - meant he had to spread his net really wide.
The difference with us is we're being slightly more focused and direct about what we're looking at, so we will take a show and we will do that show, and then we'll never discuss it again. We'll look at a show like Ex On The Beach - which is dream fodder for us, because it does exactly what it's meant to do. MTV have nailed it - it's got great characters in it in terms of me, as a writer, being able to mine that for an additional layer of funny. Also there's a tremendous level of social media activity around that show - people love it, people hate it. So, yes, a show like Ex On The Beach might be a thing that Harry would have done two comments on in Week 1 and then come back to it in a few weeks' time and do some more. We're not going to do that - if we do it, we'll do a dedicated 3 or 4 minutes on it... and leave it at that.
So that means we can be a little bit more selective about the joke writing process and volume of television we have to watch. There's less fishing. That's my preferred way of working because I've always been given episodes of something like The Apprentice, which I have to do funny re-caps for. You'd get to Week 6 and be like 'well I've done every joke I can think of about the way Alan Sugar says stuff, and I've done every joke I can about the fact the voiceover guy always does a pun or whatever'...
What Harry did was incredibly ambitious and brilliant and he was obviously fantastic at it, but I can see how that'd ruin your life because you're constantly having to search for the sight gag or one-liner.
When not working on a show like this, what do you choose to watch normally?
I've got a broad taste in TV. I love big entertainment shows, partly because they do what they do really well, but also because there's that social media side. I love watching The Voice and making jokes about it and reading other people's tweets, comments and jokes. The same goes for Britain's Got Talent, The X Factor and all those kind of things - I love a show where everyone is watching it together and making it a more rewarding experience.
I also love things like Modern Family and Game of Thrones. I loved The Trip To Italy with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon - I think that's brilliant, but equally I can watch something like Ex On The Beach and go 'maybe this isn't made for me' but it sucks you in. Some people may say it's the zenith of reality TV, but my god they've cast it well and it knows what it's doing.
Sometimes they're the hardest shows to make. The Apprentice for example; they shoot hours and hours of that show and then they cut it down to just an hour, and in that hour they include the best bits, the funniest bits and build it up with music, eyebrow raises, helicopter shots and make moments of comedy... the challenge is 'how do I go beyond that layer of comedy that exists to find another layer of comedy?'. You've kind of got that problem because the producers know what they're doing and what's funny and so you have to go, 'ok, what's my angle that isn't their angle?'. I don't want to just take their joke and play it out, I want to say what we found funny about it.
When you were working on the journalism side of things, you had pretty much free reign to be rude about people without consequence, but if you're rude to people now there's a chance you might awkwardly end up meeting them at an industry event?
Most of my stuff won't be offensive. I'm never going to say 'this person was on TV and they're shit at their job' - I'm just not going to say that. I will tease them and play around with their show, but it's the sort of stuff that if I met them I hope they'd find that funny and delightful and endearing and not offensive. The 'Get Out Of Jail Free card' with TV OD is, of course, that our show will be using real commentary from social media too - some of which will be positive, but some will be negative... so if someone doesn't like Andi Peters' new quiz show we are going to put that opinion on screen. It's not me saying it, it's what other people are saying. Equally I'll put on someone who loves it to balance it out though.
So I don't think personally I'm going to be liable for that much in terms of people saying 'you said an awful thing about me on TV OD'. They might go 'oh those comments people said on TV OD were not very nice'... but I'm there to represent the whole spectrum of comments. There's probably more risk of me saying something on the radio than there is on this show.
TV OD is for ITV2. You've been working with that channel a lot. Do you consider yourself an 'ITV2 person' now?
Um... I don't know really. I like the channel and they let me make the sort of shows I want to make. I don't really know where else I'd sit on TV at the moment.
I used to be on T4 so I was very much a Channel 4 face, but now T4 has gone and they're not really doing much in the youth and music area I'm not. I've had options and offers from the BBC in the past but never the kind of shows I've wanted to make.
TV OD is the format I want to do - it's an idea I've had that ITV2 have said 'yes, we'll let you make that show', and they've been fantastic at letting me go off and make that with the people I want to make it with, in the way I want to make it. They're very trusting that I'll be able to deliver.
So I think they get me as a person, and I don't think there's anywhere else better for me to be than ITV2 right now, but by no means am I exclusively signed to that channel. I work for BBC Radio 1, I do the voiceover for a magic show on BBC Three, I've done voiceovers for Channel 4, and if the right vehicle came along on another channel I'd obviously want to do that, but right now the projects right for me are the ones I'm making for ITV2.
Speaking to you Matt, it's clear that you're very passionate about TV OD. It's not just another show for you.
I think with anything like this, you have to put as much as yourself into it as you possibly can do. Plus, I don't really enjoy or get much reward out of just turning up and presenting a TV show. I'd much rather have an idea, execute it in the way I want to execute it, write it and hire loads of brilliant people who can help me do what I need to do. That's much more satisfying and rewarding job than just turning up and reading a script.
I think you have to put the hours in. You get the sense when Charlie Brooker is making Screenwipe that he doesn't do much else, he spends all his time making that show. The same with Harry, and the same with people like Jon Stewart - he must eat, sleep, breath and live with news clips. The same as Russell Howard when he's doing his Good News show too.
I think you've got to get involved as much as you can do, because if you put out something that people go 'meh' to or 'that wasn't that funny' then you've only got yourself to blame.
Trust me, it's going to be good and it's going to be funny!
Does TV OD mean the end for your other ITV2 show, Fake Reaction? Or might we see another series?
'I don't know' is the honest answer. I guess that's in the hands of ITV2 - they will decide if they want to do any more. I think they like the show, but - I don't know - they might want to put something else on. There was a gap between Series 1 and Series 2 where we didn't know if they were going to recommission it, and I guess we're now in another gap before they either tell us 'yes' or 'no'. I'm not worrying about it at the moment, right now TV OD is my focus. If it happens, brilliant, if it doesn't happen that's their prerogative.
TV OD is on ITV2 on Thursdays at 10pm. The below video goes behind-the-scenes as Matt films the trailer: