I’m on the train back from Dover, where I’ve just been filming the first Make Me Rich (though it won’t be the first one shown). It’s been an exhausting two days. While the money makeover is done in a day, because of filming for TV we have a second day’s filming on top. Yesterday was 14 hours, today 12, and while talking for a living may sound easy, actually it’s full-on constant performing and is exhausting.
Whilst I can’t go too much into detail about the programme (not allowed – it gives the game away) this one caused me some problems. The savings I could make were huge, but this was someone so deeply in debt it wouldn’t hit the sides. Yet the aim of Make Me Rich is to free up people’s cash so they can have something they want (new bathroom, kitchen etc). That’s the format, it’s what ITV wants, and after waiting five years hearing “your stuff is too complicated, we prefer cutting-back programmes” it’s what finally got me my own series.
Yet here’s the dilemma. While I saved loads, of course it’s tough to allow someone in serious debt to go spending. So what do you do? I can’t play against the format because I’m not the boss (contrary to opinion, while I’m presenter and expert, I’m not involved in editing and formatting. The producers put it together, and they’re governed by the ITV commissioning areas) and I want the series to work too.
If it does work then I think it’s incredibly important, of course for me personally, but also because it’s the first time I (or in my opinion anyone) has been given the chance to talk about real money on the TV. (Most ‘money shows’ are, I think, actually psychology shows dressed up). This amount of airtime to show people how to take on big companies is unprecedented and important and can make a real difference – surprising it’s ITV, not the BBC, that was brave enough in the end.
Getting that message, the bigger picture, across is very important so there’s a need for balance. It’s tough though as I’m a purist. I can’t tell you too much about what I did, but the issue, I suspect, is one that will be repeated and cause more dilemma moments for me.