Friday 26 June 2009

BBC Bonuses

I can exclusively reveal that I was once paid a performance related bonus by the BBC. It was a little while ago.

About ten years back I spent 6 weeks in the bush in Africa searching out great white elephant hunters. It was hard, uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous work. Most of the hunters quite categoricaly didn't want to be filmed. We zig-zagged from Zimbabwe, to South Africa and ended up by the Namibia-Angola border. Finally we filmed the kill, by an American big game hunter, of a large rogue bull elephant at very close quarters. I came straight back and worked more days and nights to get a programme ready for broadcast. In the end with planning, the trip to Africa and post-production I worked two and a half months straight, 7 days a week and with a few all nighters. No problem. It was tough and I was very tired but a great experience. The finished programme was good and well received by the critics. It was broadcast all over the world. The BBC was able to show its audience something most had assumed had died out a couple of generations ago. The footage of the elephant hunt is still unique a decade later and I often get calls from producers asking to use it. If the BBC has any commercial sense it should have made some money from this exclusive footage.

After BBC executives -- including Mark Thompson -- had sat around a while waiting to see what everyone else thought (which is what they do) they declared the film a success and awarded me a performance related bonus of £250. After tax and NI I got £125 in my next paycheque. I can't remember what I spent it on. It wouldn't have gone far towards replacing Jana Bennett's handbag.

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