Saving the day for C4's Faking It

RDF Television   |   Case Study

Background:

  • Faking It, is an award-winning Channel 4 documentary series, also broadcast worldwide, and produced by RDF Television
  • The series is a transformational battle against the odds as individuals are plucked from their natural habitat and, with the help of expert tuition, given four weeks to master a skill well enough to fool a group of expert judges. Programmes have included the likes of punk rocker to classical conductor, solicitor to Garage MC and Navy officer to drag queen
  • In this particular programme, the subject of the documentary was a 29-year old newsagent and mother of three, Jatinder Sumal and she was being mentored by two TV presenters - Claudia Winkleman and Alex Stanger - along with newspaper editor, Piers Morgan
  • The goal was to fool a panel of industry experts into thinking that she was actually a professional showbiz TV reporter - the "test" was to take place during a live interview with a pop band on breakfast show, GMTV alongside three professional TV presenters. All of them were to take the same test and judges then decided who the "faker" was out of the presenters in front of them
  • After a month of mentoring, producers were increasingly worried that Jatinder may not be able to "pull it off" and Jatinder herself was struggling. The live test on GMTV was to take place within days and she just wasn't ready
  • One of the mentors, Claudia Winkleman, suggested that the producers should contact us for help

Solution:

  • A day's intensive coaching at our studio venue to restore and build up confidence and competence
  • The content mirrored all aspects of the eventual "test", including earpiece use, a live link from a studio presenter to Jatinder on location and interview technique. We also ensured that she knew how to "interact" with the crew to further enhance the illusion of being a professional reporter

Results:

  • A knock-out success. In a first for the programme, not one of the industry judges - including TV executive, Janet Street-Porter and presenter, Kate Thornton - guessed that she was the "faker". They all thought that one of the other three professional presenters was the imposter, but none of them guessed it was Jatinder
  • She delivered a flawless live report and interview with pop duo, The Appletons
  • Immediately after learning she'd pulled it off, she called us to say, "I couldn't have done it without your help!" and producers described her coaching session transformation as "the turning point"
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