Fraser, 26, continuity announcer, UKTV & Channel 4

fraser pender uktv channel 4

I met Fraser through Samuel, and he too has a job in television I never really thought about. Without knowing so, you might actually have heard him before when you were catching up on your favourite shows! I’ll let him explain, but don’t forget to listen to the little snippet he was graceful enough to record specially for the blog! (It’s just above the picture)

What is your job, exactly? I am a continuity announcer. It’s a sort of marketing job where I write scripts for the broadcaster, and then tell the viewers who are watching telly what programs are going to be on next, and later in the week as well as promoting the channel. Part of my job is watching the programs before they go out.

Do you watch tv all the time then? I don’t have to watch the entirety of everything. I watch bits of the shows, read the briefs and write the scripts. Then depending on the program, I have to speak with the lawyers, and sometimes the commissioners.

So it’s not very spontaneous. No, people think that I just sit in a booth and watch the show and then when I feel like it just go like “blah”. That couldn’t be further from the reality. It’s quite constructed. Even if it sounds off the cuff, sometimes I’ve actually written “say ‘oh’ here”. The bosses want to know what you’re going to say. You can’t just do it on a whim… they don’t trust you that much!

You’re not live though, are you? Yes you are! Channel 4 is always live between 9am and midnight. Night time is live, because that’s when the biggest and most prioritised shows are on.

Which channels do you work on? I work full time for UKTV GOLD and free lance for Channel 4.

When do you sleep then? It’s ok, because for UKTV GOLD I write all the scripts beforehand, and then go in and have mega sessions where I record everything.

What happens if you went out the night before and your voice is horrible? My voice is already deep so if I’ve gone out the night before I sound like Barry White.

Is that a bad thing? I think it’s the worst thing. Imagine you’re trying to watch Made In Chelsea, and you’ve got a Scottish Barry White talking - I think it’s a bit weird for everyone involved! Also you’re looking at a lot of screens, so if you’re hungover I’d imagine it’s the worst environment to be in.

What were you doing before? I worked in tv production. I was working on the One Show with Sam, then on 8 out of 10 cats and the Million Pound Drop. I was a question writer there, and for Pointless as well. That’s when I saw an ad for this job.

What did you study? I got in to study social anthropology at the University Of Edinburgh but ended up also doing geography and business. I came out with a business degree. It hasn’t helped me that much in terms of my telly career, to be honest, but I’m really pleased I did it.

Did you do internships? I worked in a bar for two years which was really fun. A lot of people did stuff that was relevant to their degree, but I was not in that category of people. I did work experience at different radio stations.

What was your first ever job? I was a waiter in a restaurant when I was 16. We had to do all the functions, like all the weddings and funerals. Going around when there’s just been a funeral and offering sausage rolls to people… You didn’t want to be there. But I learned how to speak to people. When you’re at that age, you only speak to your friends and your family so that kind of job forces you out of your comfort zone.

What did you want to be when you were a kid? The first ever thing that I wanted to be was a footballer. Even to this day, I slightly begrudge the fact that I had to move countries when I was young. I signed up to a team when I was 5 but we had to move to Mexico a couple of years later. I ended up at an American school and kids were playing American football and basketball.

Is there someone in particular whose career you admire? I’ve always thought, out of everyone, the person who’s got the best career is Dermot O’Leary. He balances the whole tv and radio thing very well. He seems like a lovely fellow.

Do you know what you want to do later? Last year, me and my friend started writing a sitcom. We’ve also written a sketch show...some of which is on youtube.

Are you good friends with your coworkers? Yes, but it’s not like an office where you see people Monday to Friday. You’re in separate booths, or you’ll work from home on your writing.

What’s your work schedule? Normally I have recording sessions once or twice a week for UKTV. The rest of the time I’m writing from home. For Channel 4, it kind of varies from week to week. Now that I’m in the freelance pool, I do all the channels and there’s no set pattern.

What do you wear to work? It doesn’t really matter. On the first day, you’re always going to go in with a crisp shirt just in case, then you realise no one else is doing that.

If someone wanted to get your job, what would you tell them? The way that I got it was down to chance. I happened to see the job advertised on a night where my two flatmates were out. If they had been in, I probably would have been distracted and not applied, but because they weren’t I thought it was ridiculous for me to not even try. The job sounded brilliant, but I honestly didn’t think I’d get it. If you want to get into this kind of work, you should definitely try community radio. I did student radio in Edinburgh for 4 years and became the assistant manager for the station during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival broadcast in my final year.

Who should I speak to next? The girl that I did radio with at University is now an actual radio DJ at the BBC Cumbria, she’s called Caroline.