In the Scrapbook
A SELECTION OF SHORT EXTRACTS, MAINLY FROM INTERVIEWS
We always wanted to maximise in 'onscreen value' i.e. making sure that most of the budget was spent on things that materially affected the quality of what is seen by our audiences, and therefore, more often than not, this meant that there was precious little money for other 'peripheral' expenses which were not directly attributable to a specific production.
A good example is our 'DIY advertising'. We couldn't afford graphic designers and typesetters. What you see on the left (click image to enlarge) is a list of our shows typed-up on a sheet of letter-headed Conqueror paper then given to the advertising department at Screen International as camera-ready artwork and which was published approx A3 size i.e. a whole page of the edition 11 Sept. 1982.
Further down this page you will see other ads for Broadcast and Variety also created 'Blue Peter style' (by Neil Anthony) with some help from Letraset and some glue! Needs must!!
In date order, from the early days ...
Ex-head of now defunct Southern Television, Bryan Izzard, has teamed up with dancer and choreographer, Neil Anthony, to form Bright Thoughts, a production company which will concentrate on entertainment, the first fruit of their partnership is a pair of one man shows - 'Here's a Funny Thing' starring John Bardon, on the life and work of Max Miller, and 'Macready' starring Frank Barrie as the famous 19th century actor.
Broadcast, 28 January 1982
The 'Bright Thoughts' duo think big
Rising out of the ashes of Southern TV is a new independent company ... currently one of the more active independents ... Bright Thoughts are Bryan Izzard and Neil Anthony, who met at Southern where Izzard was head of entertainment ... Anthony's background is in the world of dance, where he was worked extensively in all areas from ballet to musical comedy, before switching his attention to choreography and writing.
"Neil and I had worked on a number of projects together at Southern at the time of the franchise changes ... it was tragic really, because the programme department was poised to do some very good things, and I think it's tragic that the team had been dispersed ... But there didn't seem any point in dwelling on it, and Neil and I decided to form our own company to exploit the opportunities available through the new channel."
Among the company's first productions ... shows all theatrical in origin, but have been specially adapted for the TV screen.
"It's much more than simply throwing a few cameras in front of stage," says Izzard, "the shows have been totally rethought and redesigned for TV."
Bright Thoughts are not restricting themselves to the one-man show format nor are they looking exclusively at Channel 4 ... the company sees a definite gap in the light entertainment area ... although Anthony thinks the very phrase "light" entertainment gives a misleading impression.
"I suppose you'd have to call it "heavy" entertainment, really. Or to put it more clearly it's entertainment with a purpose, a bit than just the ordinary ... you have to to give something extra. I suppose there are three main areas ... the one-man shows ... the live variety (performance) kind of programme ... and then co-productions."
Izzard and Anthony have nothing but praise for the Channel 4 set-up, one which has been the subject of criticism from their independent colleagues.
"I really think the channel and the commissioning editors are doing the right thing. If they can't buy what they want, then of course they must commission it... many Indies are being too inflexible in their approach, too precious about their ideas."
"There is a certain impracticality about the Independent Programme Producers Association, and I must say that I don't think they take the light entertainment area very seriously. What we really need not is sound advice on practical subjects ... I don't think they worry enough about fundamental things ... no point running on a confrontation course, you have to find where the gaps are, and fill them."
TV & Video, Screen International, 27 March 1982
'Sganarelle' taped in London
RKO Nederlander in association with the Bright Thoughts Company is taping for television the American Repertory Theatre production of Moliere's Sganarelle at the Duke of York's Theatre in London this week.
Sganarelle will be seen on Channel 4 in the UK next year, and will be syndicated throughout the rest of the world by RKO Nederlander.
Sganarelle, directed by Andrei Serban ... is the first co-production between RKO Nederlander and The Bright Thoughts Company. Bright Thoughts was formed earlier this year by Bryan Izzard and Neil Anthony and has so far produced nine programmes for Channel 4 ...
TV & Video, Screen International, 23 October 1982
Indie Production Area, Spawned by C4 Startup, Seen As Big U.K. Boost
In its first year of operation, Bright Thoughts has been a major provider of light entertainment to C4. Company was set up by Neil Anthony and Bryan Izzard, former head of light entertainment with the now-defunct network company Southern TV.
Britain Broadcasting, Variety, 12 January 1983
In response to complaints about Channel 4's lack of entertainment
... Other C4 sources confirm that the cost and production time of light entertainment programmes would make it impossible for commissioning editor Cecil Korer suddenly to come up with new goodies even if a change in policy were desired.
Among the new LE offerings that C4 intend to highlight in its spring schedules ... drama includes plays from Bright Thoughts about W C Fields and George Formby.
Broadcast, 31 January 1983
Book 'Em and Risk It was another nice idea nicely done ... in the foyer of the Royal Festival Hall and caught the real reactions of of people passing by ... there were all these acts from the renegade humour factories - the Comic Strip, and Comedy Store - supposedly turning up at a television studio where there were no jobs waiting.
Patrick Stoddart, Broadcast, 29 August 1983
Channel 4 Annual Report
Top Cs and Tiaras (Bright Thoughts) won the channel’s most enthusiastic response by phone and letter for its stylish rediscovery of the middle ground of operetta with Julie Migenes Johnson.
Page 6, Channel 4 annual report 1984
Extracts from Storm Over 4, A Personal Account
Duty Officer's Report - Sunday, 10 April 1983
Middle-of-the-road viewers, fans of middle-of-the-road music, have a constant appetite that goes unsated. Julia Migenes-Johnson, before she sang Lulu at the Vienna State Opera or Carmen to Placido Domingo's Don Jose, appeared in half a dozen shows for us - Top C's and Tiaras, devised and directed by Bryan Izzard (Neil Anthony). Though made on a shoestring they went down a treat with the fans. But they could not be a call on our air-time week in week out, I thought. Other priorities claimed our limited space. But some day, on radio or television, someone should cater, day in day out, for the neglected middlebrow.
Storm Over 4: A Personal Account by Jeremy Isaacs, 22 September 1989
From a letter by Gilbert Roberts, Palmers Green, London:
... Television chooses to ignore whole areas of the musical spectrum. When did we last see a music programme featuring stylish cabaret? Channel 4 presented an excellent series of show and operetta songs called Top Cs and Tiaras. Surely this could be revived successfully? Many people's musical tastes are not acknowledged by television.
The Stage, 19 August 1999
Extracts from Independent Television in Britain (vol.6)
Cecil Korer, the other first casualty of short-termism, was a good old professional who had become something of a specialist in game shows for the family while at the BBC. Isaacs had, until Tesler's tirade at the Ascot conference, set his heart against spending more than the smallest possible percentage of his limited funds on entertainment. As a consequence, Korer had to make bricks without straw.
Korer did also cater for musical tastes deserted by British television since the days when the BBC broadcast from Alexandra Palace. He revived the music of Johann Strauss, Franz Lehar, Rudolph Friml, Sigmund Romberg and other light classical composers in 'Top Cs and Tiaras' with the help of the singer with a remarkable voice and great style, Julia Migenes-Johnson.
Independent Television in Britain (vol.6) by Paul Bonner, 28 November 2002
The Max Miller Appreciation Society
We all know and have seen the play on Channel 4 and have recorded copies ...
by email, 15 June 2020
I'd love to know if & when the Top C's & Tiaras shows might be isssued on DVD & also likewise the Julia series of shows please - Peter
Bright Thoughts Company, 08 June 2020
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