The Good Manager in TV: Tales for the Twenty-first Century

Authors: Van Raalte, C. and Wallis, R.

Journal: Creative Industries Journal

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

ISSN: 1751-0694


The UK Creative Industries provide meaningful employment to more than two million people (Creative Industries Council, 2022) with opportunities for self-actualisation and satisfaction beyond what many jobs can provide. This is so particularly within the TV industry where, since 2015, new streaming services have massively expanded demand for content and consequently employment. Such opportunities, however, have been heavily dependent upon a freelance workforce, whose experience is often characterised by financial insecurity, poor work-life balance, and lack of coherent career structure or support, within a system that predicates against diversity. This article sets out to address some of these issues and their solutions by borrowing from Brecht in offering the concept of ‘The Good Manager in TV’. In 2021 the authors followed-up an earlier survey of management practices in unscripted TV production across the UK with a series of in-depth interviews with individuals who, in another context would be characterised as ‘middle managers’. Our data suggests that the challenges faced by the would-be good manager in TV can seem overwhelming, evoking the predicament of Brecht’s Good Person of Szechwan. Yet it also points to solutions to those challenges. This article reviews our findings in order to answer the following questions: What does it mean to be a good manager in the volatile, project based, context of TV production? What are the challenges faced by those who aspire to fill the role? How can such challenges be addressed across this evolving creative industry?

Source: Manual