A Day In The Life Of... A Features Producer On 'This Morning'
Name: Phoebe Nicolaou
Job Title: Features Producer
Location: London, White City
Uni and/or college/school subjects: Broadcast Journalism, Nottingham Trent University
What’s your morning routine like?
If I’m in the office I normally wake up about 6:15, grab a banana and am out the door for 6:35 and off to the gym. My day in the office starts at around 9:30 and I’m always much more productive if I've had my morning workout.
How do you commute to work and fill your time?
I live in Watford and commute into London each day. It normally takes just over an hour door to door. I try and read the Metro every morning to get a flavour of the stories of the day before I get into work, make a note of anything I think would work well on the show and listen to Spotify!
What does the average day look like for you?
There isn’t really an average day at This Morning as the show is very reactive to what’s going on in the news. As a Features Producer our main role is to look after all of the pre-recorded films and produce the live outside broadcasts that go onto the live show. These could be anything from a film premier on the red carpet to a human interest story or working with our on screen therapists the Speakmans to help people overcome their fears or phobias. Some days I’ll get a message while I’m on my way to work asking me to go straight to a location because there is a breaking news story happening and they need someone on the ground. Other days I’ll be in the office setting up shoots, casting contributors, conducting research chats, script writing or in the edit. On shoot days we could be anywhere in the country or abroad, normally we would be out with a small crew, made up of a cameraman, sound man and a presenter.
What’s your favourite thing about your job?
First of all, no day is ever the same. Secondly, we quite often have the opportunity to surprise some very deserving people and in some cases make dreams come true.
What is your least favourite part of your role?
I’m not sure there really is one… Occasionally we’ll get sent off to do a last minute shoot and I have to buy clean knickers at the train station… That is the more unglamorous side of TV!
If money was no object what would you be?
An international DJ, but saying that I never wake up in the morning and wish I was doing something else, I love my job.
What was your favourite thing about uni?
I loved Uni so much - the freedom, the ability to meet so many people and be whoever you wanted to be. The whole experience, from my course to the partying and socialising made it unforgettable.
How’d your degree help you in your current role?
It really helped me, I got a broad understanding of the different roles and having studied Broadcast Journalism I was able to get really great experience working on both the student radio and also take part in weekly TV news days, where we created a regional news program as you would in a working newsroom. It was stressful but a very practical course and you were able to get a good understanding of the pressure involved in making live television, which is something which I do everyday. I also made some great friends who mostly went into the industry and It’s always good to know people working on different shows
How did you get into being a Features Producer on This Morning?
After Uni I went onto to do some (extended) travelling where I was away mainly in Australia for two years. I didn’t work in TV when I was away, but I knew it was what I wanted to do as soon as I was back. Coming back, it was a little difficult to adjust but I contacted friends from my course and contacted Editors of shows to try and get a few days of experience in TV. I landed my first job as a Program Assistant on Good Morning Britain and worked my way up, doing all sorts of jobs from Researcher on the Newsdesk to Text Producer in the live gallery. I eventually realised that being out and about on shoots and making my own films was what I really wanted to do and was offered an opportunity on This Morning I couldn’t turn down. I have been on This Morning now for 2 and a half years having started as a Researcher going up to Junior Producer and now one of 6 Features Producers.
What advice would you give to students?
Don’t be afraid to be persistent (not annoying) and show your interest. Be proactive and use your initiative - people want solutions not problems and if you can make anyone's day a bit easier, even if it’s just making a cup of tea or offering to help with whatever they are working on, it won’t go unnoticed. Things take time and one thing I have learnt is that you can’t be a Producer straight away, no matter how good you think you are when you’re fresh out of uni. Experience takes time and enjoy the process of learning new things.
Where did you work before this?
I have mainly worked within ITV Daytime but have also worked for Radio 1’s Newsbeat and have just completed a secondment out in Mallorca where I worked on Series 5 of Love Island.
What’s your advice to anyone wanting to be a Features Producer on This Morning?
Work hard, be prepared to be put in stressful situations and don’t give up and of course get as much work experience as humanly possible.
What time do you normally leave work, and what do you do to wind down after a long day?
I normally leave work around 6pm, go home, cook a nice dinner, put my feet up and enjoy a well-deserved glass of wine!