Then I got the call from Steve Leahy to do Krypton Factor, which involved me for 2 years, ’86 and ’87. That won an award, which I’m proud of, the Spanish TV Festival Best Entertainment Programme 1987. I did transform Krypton. They’d become fed up with Krypton. It started in ’77. They were just bored with it. Scott was bored with it. Leahy said “Do something with it” really, make it better. Credit to them, they put a lot more money into it, so I have to say, I got a lot of backing and was able to kind of re-invent it. Changed the format. Kept Gordon Burns. And it did very well in the ratings. We did Celebrity Specials. 20 million on one of the Celebrity Specials and the regular shows were getting 12, 13 million.
Granada Head of Light Entertainment Steve Leahy and Gordon Burns just after receiving the prestigious Spanish Premios Ondas award in Barcelona Town Hall for Best European Entertainment Show – The Krypton Factor. (photo courtesy of Gordon Burns)
And that was two years and great fun. Touring the country looking for contestants, staying in hotels in Aberdeen and Belfast and Trish Kinane or Adele Emm researching. Terrific. Spencer Campbell was my first director in the ’86 series, Rod Natkiel in ’87 and it just took over your life. An office full of people and that’s all you did. It was great fun, but hard work – a lot to it. Now here’s a provocative thought – I’d say if you can produce the Krypton Factor, you can produce just about anything. Big studio-based production, presenter-led so you’ve got Make-up, Wardrobe involved, four contestants that have to be chosen from around the country auditions, you’ve got filming for the Observation Round, you’ve got OB for the assault course, and you’ve got a panel of advisors writing questions and devising puzzles. So all in all it’s quite a thing – it covers all the bases of telly really. And for Granada it was doing the business.