Blog piece: ITV VIP hits Leeds

TomaszAs a die-hard Emmerdale fan I can say that, with my hand on my heart, I have never ever actually watched an episode of the soap on TV before. Great start for a blog, I hear you say? No, not really, but it does get better, promise!

But, let’s be honest, whether I watch it or not makes little or no difference, because the fact is, is that around 6 million people watch each episode, reaching about 21% of all individuals in an average week, so whilst I’ve never become hooked on the programme, there are a hell of a lot of people that have been over the years (and continue to be). For me, the real value comes in utilising such an asset to speak to the audience my clients wish to eventually sell products or services to.

So, the day started with me turning up earlier than most to the Virgin Lounge at King’s Cross to be welcomed by a real Upper Class reception of pastries and drinks before heading off to Leeds on the train (while I’m not sure I can get away with starting every work trip with a glass of bubbles, I felt it rude to not at least have a glass this time around). The day that followed was a real pleasure to be a part of, starting with the hugely enthusiastic guided tour of the Emmerdale Studios. It was amazing to see that, at least to me; it seemed so much bigger than the Corrie set we had previously visited in Manchester earlier this year.

At the risk of sounding overly excitable about it all, I was really impressed with the professionalism of all of those working behind the camera putting together the elements of the different sets and this was epitomised on the next stage of our day when driving out of the city to visit the purpose-built Emmerdale village. If I was lost in the countryside and stumbled upon the village, then I’d be seriously disappointed to find that the pub didn’t actually serve a functioning bar inside and worried that a village so small had a grave yard so big!

Hearing from various members of the production and editorial team throughout the day just highlighted how much time, dedication, attention to detail and overall investment goes into making a show like this successful, in what is already a pretty bloody competitive arena in the UK soap scene. From helicopter crashes and the gardener whose sole responsibility is to ensure every flower and plant on set is groomed and looked after, to great partnerships on offer with advertisers on the show. One of the best things I took away from the day is that Emmerdale has a taste that fits all, finding itself in the ‘middle of a triangle’ between Coronation Street, Eastenders and Hollyoaks. Owning that space isn’t a bad place to be really, is it?

Becoming a VIP has its benefits, though it seems like many of these treats (both professional and playful) are kept under wraps until we find ourselves on yet another outing, but that only helps build the anticipation for the next VIP event, making these twelve months all the more exciting.

I know that I am certainly looking forward to the next surprise that may be in store. I mean it’s not every day that you go to a work event and find yourself in the middle of a field, stood wearing a pair of hunters and cheering on domesticated ruminant mammals with thick woolly coats as they race each other through the Yorkshire Dales.

Huge thanks to everyone involved in putting the day together, it was a great success and would recommend it to anyone… (though, not everyone can be a VIP I guess, right?)