IT’S the closest and arguably the most complex General Election in decades, and, tonight, BBC One Panorama will try and forecast the outcome.
American statistician, Nate Silver, shot to fame after correctly predicting the outcome of the 2012 US election, state by state.
Can he repeat the same trick here?
In this production from Glasgow-based Firecrest Films, Richard Bacon takes Nate on a tour of the UK, from the rolling hills of Devon to Sunny Govan, to try and predict who will win the UK election.
The programme is being broadcast this evening, on BBC One, at 2030.
Executive producer, Nicole Kleeman, answers the questions…
Who commissioned the programme?
The programme was commissioned by the editor of BBC Panorama, Ceri Thomas.
Explain the thinking behind the programme’s ‘look and feel’.
Nate is a self-confessed ‘nerd’, who crunches numbers for a living. His conclusions are fascinating but the process doesn’t make for great TV.
So, we took him on a road trip in a beautiful airstream caravan around the UK.
Who are the key personnel? How were they recruited?
The film is produced and directed by Mark Alden, who came up with the idea with reporter, Richard Bacon.
It was shot by Jonathan Callery, who has worked with us a lot, and always delivers stunning pictures.
And it was cut by the brilliant Gary Scott at Serious Facilities, here in Govan.
Patricia Wink , our production manager made sure everything came together.
The AP was Barry Ronan, who just made the excellent, Inside the Commons series, for BBC Two, and the researcher was our very own Kevin Q Anderson.
What kit and software?
We shot on PMW 500 with some interviews on C300 and a second unit shooting on PMW 300. The film was cut on Avid at Serious Facilities, and graded, online and dubbed at Editstore in London as we edited right up to this morning.
What were the main production challenges?
We only had six days to film the bulk the road trip – and four locations, hundreds of miles apart in Britain (Skegness, Devon, Bury and Glasgow).
And for various reasons, we could’t do the trip in the most logical geographical order.
So, lots of very complex logistical problems.
Nate wanted to give his forecast as close to transmission as possible, which meant finishing the film as close to broadcast as we dared.
Lastly, the programme has to comply with the rigourous legal and editorial guidelines, so not to prejudice the election, which was challenging.
Despite all this, the film is a cracking watch, much more fun than you’d expect from a programme about data and algorithms.
What did you most learn and enjoy from the experience?
Forecasting elections in Britain is not a walk in the park! American politics is a two-horse race; whereas, in Britain, things are becoming more complicated by the day. It was great fun making this, though, surrounded by people who really are the best at what they do.