Tony Smith and DJ BBQ are the Blazin' BBQ Masters

Blazin’ BBQ Masters

Having launched in September 2016, the new free-to-air channel BLAZE needed a voice outside of the programmes that it airs.

One solution to this came in the guise a series of short form films that celebrated the summer barbecue season by giving the BLAZE viewer a collection of handy hints and tips for when they roll out and dust off their prized griller.

Tony Smith AKA Man Meat Fire and Christian Stevenson AKA DJ BBQ

Tony Smith (left) inspects one of the rib eye steaks with Christian Stevenson.

When it came to selecting who was going to host the content, it made sense to partner an American with a Brit, mirroring the trans-Atlantic shows broadcast on the channel. Christian Stevenson AKA DJ BBQ and ITV’s BBQ Champ runner-up Tony Smith from barbecue team Man Meat Fire turned out to be the perfect partnership.

Each episode of the short series was eventually broadcast on the television channel, but not before they got a first-run across BLAZE’s social media, including YouTube (see below), Twitter and Facebook.

First up in the collection is a quick look at how to set up and clean your trusty grill. Who knew that you needed to ‘season’ – that is to heat the metal with oil – first before cooking? I’d also bet that not many have cleaned the surface with an onion or lemon, either? And who in their right mind starts a barbecue with tortilla chips?! Tony Smith, that’s who.

Next up is steak. Arguably the best of the barbecue meats. And my favourite? Rib eye. Especially when you see the size of these monsters. With Christian choosing to smash and Tony halving and then cooking dirty (that’s straight on the coals. Yep) there’s no way that you won’t want to try this after you’ve watched.

Did you know the number one Googled food in the world is chicken? That’s why we had to show off two ways to grill the most common bird on the planet. Tony Smith shows us how to cook beer can chicken while Christian Stevenson shows us how to grill your chicken in famous Alabama white sauce. Delicious.

Finally, on the cooking-front at least, is the humble burger. Cheeseburgers are the go-to barbecue food – but BLAZE takes that to the next level. And the secret, beyond the relishes and accompaniments, is fat. Get a high fat mince and you can’t go wrong.

Lastly, we wanted to touch on where the different cuts of meet come from on the animal. And so here’s a handy guide for which bits of the chicken (wings and legs!) and the cow (fillet steak and ribs!) you need to buy for your barbecue.

BLAZE is a new free-to-air entertainment television channel which raises the flag for real people. You can watch  BLAZE on Freeview 80, Freesat 162, Sky 565 and Virgin Media 216, or catch up online.

Producing A Stab in the Dark

UKTV has a rich pedigree in producing podcasts, but these have mostly come in the guise of comedies for channel Dave: The Magic Sponge, Alex Horne Breaks The News and Mr Gameshow. But there’s something new on the horizon… a podcast for fans of everything crime.

A Stab in the Dark is hosted by best-selling crime author and comic Mark Billingham, whose Tom Thorne crime novels have been turned into a TV series for Sky 1 starring David Morrissey as the titular Thorne. If you hadn’t already recognise the name you may remember him for his performance as Gary from Maid Marian and her Merry Men alongside Tony Robinson.

Now THAT was a great series.


Anyhow, each episode of A Stab in the Dark sees (or should it be hears?) two guests join Mark in the studio from the worlds of crime television drama and literary fiction to discuss themes from Scandi noir, the damaged detective and the representation of women in crime. Guests will include queen of crime Val McDermid (pictured with Mark and Kate Harwood right), the aforementioned David Morrissey, Shetland’s Ann Cleeves and Michael Connolly to name but a few.

Before we embarked on the series, however, we produced a pilot episode in which regular feature contributor and fellow producer Paul Hirons took the helm alongside UKTV colleague Emily Want and Guardian Journalist Rob Hull. You can listen to the pilot episode here:

To listen and subscribe to A Stab in the Dark on iTunesAcast or a number of other podcast streaming platforms.

Facebook Panoramic 360 photo

Facebook Panoramic Photo For Brands

You may have seen that Facebook have started converting your panoramic photos into interactive 360 experiences. As you move your phone your view changes accordingly, it’s a pretty neat little feature – a slimmed down version of Facebook’s 360 video which I can only assume costs a tonne of money to produce.

Rosewood Facebook panoramic photo

A look at the panoramic Rosewood image as a flat photo.

After a moment of inspiration I wondered whether these panoramic photos could be used to show other content? Perhaps even content for branded Facebook Pages?

As I was working on new US crime drama Rosewood, it proved the perfect opportunity to have a play around with the feature and create a new way of finding out about the different characters in the series.

It’s best viewed on mobile, although you can use your mouse to navigate if you’re on desktop. If the below embedded image doesn’t work, try clicking through to view it on Facebook.

It’s a bit of novelty so it may lose its charm after a while, especially if brands start using it all the time. I hope I haven’t created a monster.

To help you create your panoramic you can get your hands on a bunch of assets from Facebook from their Dropbox.

UKTV/Jonathan Ford

Sir David Attenborough: There Could Be A Yeti

Speaking at showcase event UKTV Live while promoting his series David Attenborough’s Natural Curiosities, Sir David Attenborough revealed that he believed there could be something in the abominable snowman mystery.

Fans of cryptozoology will love that the legendary broadcaster has come out in support of the existence of the yeti, but it remains to be seen whether any of the evidence actually points to concrete evidence.

I filmed the clip below of Sir David during a question and answer session hosted by Jarvis Cocker – give it a watch and make up your own mind!

UKTV Marketing Showreel

The UKTV Live Showcase Event

Each year television broadcaster UKTV hosts UKTV Live, an event showcasing all the incredible talent and new programming coming to the network, with the 2015 showcase seeing UKTV CEO Darren Childs announce:

Today we are unveiling our biggest slate of original commissions in the network’s history.

Previous years have seen Q&A’s with David Attenborough, where he revealed his belief that there may be a Yeti, and the announcement of the popular wildlife film competition Eden Shorts.

Tasked with recording the hectic event, it proved quite the headache to secure the plethora of presenters, actors and show runners at the event. You can watch the showreel below…

Mr Gameshow hosted by Mike Wozniak and Diane Morgan.

Mr Gameshow: The Comedy Podcast with Mike Wozniak and Diane Morgan

Hosted by Man Down‘s Mike Wozniak alongside his glamorous assistant Diane Morgan, better known as Philomena Cunk from Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe and Cunk on ShakespeareMr Gameshow is the hilarious comedy podcast from Dave.

With ridiculous games, ludicrous quizzes, and stupid tasks each episode’s two guests play off against each other in a points system which seems to follow no rhyme or reason.

In a special round of Know Your Enemy, Mike plays Lou Sanders and John Kearns against each other – watch the clip filmed at the Soho Theatre below.


You can download Mr Gameshow on iTunes or Acast or search for it on your other podcast provider.

UKTV Marketing Showreel

UKTV Marketing 2015 Showreel

We’re a proud bunch in the marketing department at UKTV, with plenty to shout about. That’s why I was tasked with putting together the following for when we got together last year.

Exploring The Great Escape tunnels

Explore The Great Escape Tunnels

The Great Escape is one of the most iconic military stories, but most people’s association is with an American Steve McQueen jumping over a barbed wire fence on a motorbike.

Stalag Luft III prisoner of war camp

Stalag Luft III prisoner of war camp, location of the Great Escape.

However, in the real story no Americans even attempted the escape from Stalag Luft III, although several did help dig the iconic tunnels that almost brought hundreds of prisoners of war back homes.

But what is true is the incredible feats the prisoners went to in engineering their escape attempt.

We put together an interactive and animated web microsite that showcases their ingenuity and displays some of the key statistics, such as that the 4000 bed boards used in supporting the earth around the tunnels limited its size; around two feet high and wide. Incredibly cramped working conditions.

The two foot bed boards determined the dimensions of the tunnels: one board high and one board wide.

Stalag Luft III prisoner of war camp, location of the Great Escape.

These cramped conditions along with the sheer length the tunnels would need to be also led to more issues, such as how to get fresh air to the head of the tunnel? This led to an engineering marvel; an air pump made of beds and hundreds of powdered milk tins.

Unfortunately, we hear that of the 76 POWs that managed to exit the tunnel, all but three were caught with 50 ultimately executed for their attempted escape.

Make sure you check out Yesterday television channel’s guide for much more on the story. You can also watch the fascinating documentary Revealed: The Great Escape on Yesterday or on UKTV Play.

Sophie Scholl

Sophie Scholl and The White Rose

At television channel Yesterday we aim to ‘fuel your mind’ with interesting facts and stories across all its digital platforms.

One particular Facebook post tells the story of Sophie Scholl, a member of a Nazi Germany resistance group called the White Rose, who was sentenced to death.

Some pretty moving final words there. Here’s the quote in full:

How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause. Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go, but what does my death matter, if through us, thousands are awakened and stirred to action?

With just under two million people reached on Facebook and over 25,000 shares you can see how powerful a story it is – one that is disappointingly little known.

Working with Content Media we have developed a digital strategy for Yesterday around our ‘fuel your mind’ brand line, producing and sharing editorial content just like the above that creates a halo effect boosting any programme pushes. You can see this in action across Yesterday’s Facebook, Twitter and blog posts.

Jimmy Bullard, Rob Beckett and Ian Smith present The Magic Sponge podcast.

Animated Clips of The Magic Sponge Podcast

The Magic Sponge front-man Jimmy Bullard is a cracking storyteller, so it was only natural that we’d look to make more of some of his best ones from the iTunes chart-topping podcast! It’s not like we’re directly copying the Ricky Gervais Show (ok, it’s pretty hard to argue that) but animation is a great way of immortalising them visually and is something a few podcasts have tried.

Designed by Tom Munday, and produced by myself and Dave Barnsby at UKTV, these two animated clips show ex-professional footballer Bullard regaling some of the stories from his time in the beautiful game.

Seen alongside his two comedian co-hosts, Rob Beckett and Ian Smith, the first episode sees Jimmy telling the story of how he went through the recruitment process to be a fireman. If he hadn’t failed the strength and written tests we may never have seen him on the pitch…

You’re with your football team and it all kicks off in the bar, who do you want with you? Mick Harford, that’s who.

In this second episode of the animated Magic Sponge podcast, Jimmy tells the story of how Harford cleared out a bar when some of the younger players from his team got in a spot of bother.


For more information on the podcast, you can head to the Dave website.