|Chatting with Simon in the "Cafe RagTime"|
I wanted to know exactly what a "Line Producer" does and have come to this conclusion... after the writer and creator Derren Litten - without whom there wouldn´t actually be a programme, Simon is the next most important person - he is "The Money Man"!
In a nutshell, Tiger Aspect - the Production Company and ITV have, shall we say "negotiations" over the budget and eventually they agree on a figure - Simon is then told by Tiger Aspect you have X amount... GO! That is obviously a very simplistic way to look at it, for as you can imagine it takes months of talks and haggling, but eventually they reach an agreement. Now I am not at liberty to tell you the budget but lets just say that it will keep you comfortably in Benidorm beer money for some considerable time!
|Empty Solana Bar area - set in the Pink House|
He has a team of about 20 that he works very closely with on a daily basis - without whom his job would be impossible. In fact, whilst we were talking he dealt with several queries and a call from one of the actors agents in the UK who was panicking as to what would happen if they missed the flight back as they had another commitment - this is all part of a normal day for Simon. He has to deal with all the logistical problems - but having now worked on the programme for the last 3 series he has a fairly good visualisation of what can go wrong and solutions to most issues that arise. But as Simon said, you can deal and predict almost everything except weather and health.... which has certainly been challenging in this last month.
|Equipment that needs to get here from UK|
Once shooting begins Simon is on call throughout the day - he typically works a 16 hour day, ready to trouble shoot. He pops down to the set regularly to check that everything is running smoothly and if not then finds a solution... he really is Mr Fix It! The film is edited here but then sent back to London for the final cut, when it is graded and music added. The last day of filming is on 27th June but Simon will stay on for a couple more weeks to organise getting everything back to the UK and ensuring everything is signed off here with the Spanish companies that had been contracted.
Simon has been in the industry for many years working for both the BBC and ITV covering roles spanning from Assistant Director to Location Manager. As well as the Benidorm series some of his other notable productions include drama´s such as "Lightfields" and "A Mother´s Son", "EastEnders", "Holby City", "Silent Witness", "Pride & Prejudice"... the list is endless. I asked him what has been his most memorable project and without a doubt he replied it was meeting and interviewing the British physicist Stephen Hawking for the BAFTA nominated BBC drama he was on, "Hawking" in 2003.
|Behind reception at the Solana!|