Fiona Clark definitely knows a Limousin from an Aberdeen Angus. (They’re cattle. Just saying…you know. In case…)
She’s from Turriff, at the heart of farming in North East Scotland, but now lives in Aberdeen – her base from which she launches journeys around Scotland to make short films for BBC Scotland’s TV programme Landward.
You might not think it, judging by her curls, but she’s also battle-hardened, having spent 18 months as a director on Countryfile, BBC 1’s countryside programme – a hugely high profile show that regularly pulls in 6 million viewers.
Fiona’s been diaried to give a podcast interview for some time, but whenever I caught up with her by phone to check in she was always on a shoot at one corner of Scotland or another.
That’s the nature of her job. Her and two other directors (along with their series producer) have to make a TV programme that appeals to its core audience, but is also interesting enough for general viewers (in a bid to hoover up more eyeballs…that’s not the best metaphor, I know.)
Here she’s participating in the Saskatchewan Centennial Canoe Quest – a million miles across Canada in a kayak, and she broadcast live at 3am when everyone else was sleeping!
It’s not always such nice weather on a shoot. Wind, rain and snow are common challenges to overcome in TV.
Whether she fetches tea for the crew or not…I didn’t ask.
Fiona’s a classic example of someone who’s played to her strengths and consistently made contributions by explaining to the nation (and anyone who will listen, and latterly watch) how Scotland’s countryside works.
And in this episode of the I Am Do Filmmaker podcast I attempt to find out how she works: What are the processes she uses to put together a 5 minute short film.
Landward is produced out of the BBC in Aberdeen. The team consists of a series producer and three directors. They are assisted by a production co-ordinator, and the technical crew on shoots, as well as the editors back at base.
The half hour programme will usually consist of three topical, 5 minute items, often there are two strand items (they might be part of a series which run every week, for example) and then the remainder of the time is for presenter links and weather.
Watch the programme at 7pm, Fridays on BBC 2 Scotland. Look out for Fiona’s credit and see if the team tackles and manages to explain the Common Agricultural Policy!
You can find images of Landward in action, of the presenters, reporters and some of the production by doing a Google image search. It’s useful to get more of an idea of the programme itself.