Reality TV In Spain

As part of our ‘Working Abroad’ series, Post Production Assistant, Tom Strachan shares his experience working in Spain on reality TV series, ‘Geordie Shore: Summer Special’.

Geordie Shore: Summer Special
Geordie Shore: Summer Special

After a successful first series two hour long episodes were commissioned. The plan was to take the stars of the Newcastle based reality show to Magaluf. The show centred around eight young people who party hard, dress to impress and don’t look for relationships. Working in the reality TV genre you never can predict how things will go so you always have to be ready for it to go crazy.

The set was a luxurious villa complete with swimming pool, many large bedrooms and on the edge of the sea surrounded by expensive yachts. In Newcastle we’d worked out of a luxurious house but nothing compared to this. The heat was in the 30’s everyday and we all know how much easier it is to be happy in the sun.

You forget just how easy it is to find everything you need in the UK. When you run out of ink cartridges or batteries in Spain, it’s a lot harder to find them and to converse with a local shopkeeper to make sure you get the right one. Things that are second nature become paramount now, you don’t want to end up somewhere without travel adaptors and need to charge the camera batteries!

Being in the hot sunshine as well gave you a totally different set of activities you could provide the cast with, if you suggested going out on a boat around Newcastle it would have been met with a pretty grumpy reply. But you also lose a lot of things you need. The cast are very careful about their looks and so a Gym had to be found willing to accommodate them, hairdressers, places to get eyebrows done, waxing etc, and that was just the boys.

The working conditions were pretty similar to the UK shoot, I was kind of lucky here as I had wondered in advance how it would be. We had slightly less room in our setup for laptops but with a smaller crew it worked fine.

I learned that you don’t want to spend all your PDM’s on beer, remember you’ll want to wear suncream all the time. Even if you’re mainly inside you might end up having to rush outside and not have time to apply it.  Try and learn some basic phrases you’ll need. A normal trip to Spain you might only need to know the words “dos cerveza por favor” but on a shoot you may end up needing to converse with people who don’t interact with tourists regularly and don’t speak as much English.