Watchdog doing prevention – an exciting rarity

I’ve just come back from the editing suite for BBC1’s Watchdog. I’m presenting a 5 minute package tomorrow (Tues) followed by a short interview in the studio.

This is a rare exception for Watchdog. The piece is about how to switch to cheaper gas and electricity on the back of the British Gas price rise. It’s actually quite revolutionary. As you know I’m a ‘preventative’ journalist – I talk about how to do things cheapest and best – whereas Watchdog is a curative programme – solving problems, so this is a very unique first, and rather exciting for me.

Yet having just seen the producers’ cut, the info is very simple. Most MoneySavers will find it unextraordinary. Some may even accuse it of being dumbed down (see the gas & elec article for the full story). Very simply in the end the piece just shows me taking the case study, Suzie, through how to do a price comparison then talking to her mum about Staywarm. It’s a difficult judgement for me.

Of course I’d like to talk about cashback comparison sites, the way the sites work, how they make their money and much more, yet the programme producers say “50% of people have still never switched, it’s more important to slowly go through the raw essentials”.

In the end I think it’s a nice piece, and cutely uses Suzy’s 12 year old daughters to make it more fun. I have roughly 1 and a half minutes afterwards in the live studio interview to try and mention cashback sites, the fact that if you have switched you shouldn’t now (though if you haven’t you should), capped tariffs and a bit more…. it’ll be interesting.

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