Yesterday evening, I was doing a vox pop for BBC1 Watchdog outside Euston station, on how changes in peak time train times are making some pay more. Then amongst the people walking past was a more than familiar face…
Heading to get a train home to Manchester was my Uncle Tony (I’d seen him earlier in the day) – naturally he came along to say hi. The producer didn’t realise I knew him and carried on filming thinking it was a welcome person willing to talk (doing a vox is never easy – people think you’re selling something and shun you).
So I jokingly turned and introduced him to the camera as my uncle, then asked the question anyway – and low and behold he was the first person we’d spoken to who had been affected by the problem and could even talk about the time change specifics (he does the journey regularly and is a numbers nerd like me so it’s no surprise he knew).
This made things rather interesting, his appearance and response were neither prompted, set up nor pre-arranged, yet can it be used? The BBC rightly has tight ethical editorial guidelines, and frankly I’ve no clue whether it’s permissible or not. It would definitely be inappropriate if we weren’t honest about his relationship with me, but can it be used even with that? It’s for the producers to decide. Personally I think it’s fun and should be allowed, but it’s never easy.