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My Experience of Being a Television Runner

Thames TV runner

Over the weekend I had my first experience of what it’s like to be a television runner for an entertainment show. There were no celebrities present but the whole event was pretty much the same standards and process.

The first day of being a television runner

On Saturday morning I woke up at 5:30am and it wasn’t one of those mornings where I felt myself bursting out of bed with lots of energy. However I did manage to get dressed, pack my bag, and arrive at the location on time.

Once I arrived there were several thoughts running through my mind – Ah I wonder how today is going to go? Will I mess up? Will I do loads of things wrong? Then after those thoughts, I collected my t-shirt which had ‘CREW’ on the back. The television runner experience was about to start!

There were many people around me who are currently studying Film and Media Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University, which is where I graduated from last year on that exact same course. I had a chat with some of the other runners about tutors who are still running certain modules and how they’ve found the whole three years of their university experience.

Much more than what was available at university

Many of the television runners were in university and not full-time employment. So I had a long week working full-time and then doing these hours too.I began my first day on first stage registration so I was one of the people who was part of being the first person contestants were greeted by once they’ve walked through the door. There was an iPad, paperwork, IDs, and other things to manage. Together me and Emma survived and got through it.

It was great to talk to the contestants – get to know a little bit about them and encourage them that they’ll do well, coming from a diverse range of talent.

This wasn’t the only thing that the day involved. I had a go at standing outside audition rooms and telling contestants when they were next to go in; gathering members of the public in an orderly queue to go outside for filming; a few moments experiencing work on the Query Desk; and a few duties to the Production Office.

The second day of being a television runner

Today was a new day (which makes it sound like I didn’t enjoy the first day – because I very much did!) I woke up and was ready for 6:30am. Why? I don’t know. This was just one of those mornings where I leaped out of bed and had the boost to get ready straightaway.

I would have been fooling myself if I thought tiredness wasn’t going to reach me later on in the day at some point though. As soon as it hit midday, my stomach was rumbling so much. The morning felt like it had gone by a lot slower than the previous day.

Sunday was such a busy day with lots more going on indoors and outdoors. I was giving assistance to disabled members as well as others who required any help. This day was a day was even more experience in new parts of the role.

A mixture of things

I had experience of being a caller, sitting down with contestants before their auditions to discuss what they were playing, singing, performing etc. It was lovely. All of the contestants were happy to talk to us. Some were still wanting to chat away when it was their turn to go into the room.

One of my favourite places throughout the event was the holding room. The lights, props, atmosphere and whole mise-en-scene was fantastic. It was filled with people, cameras, bulbs, mirrors, and of course there was music. Things can get a bit tricky though when you’ve got more than one person talking over the headpiece/walkie-talkie, music in the background and then a contestant chatting to you.

Overall, it was a great experience which I am very thankful to have been part of. Obviously, I cannot state too much for legal reasons. But above all, I loved meeting new people and finally experiencing what being a television runner can be like.

Author: Natasha Bolger

Creator of Natasha Bolger Media.

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