George Turner on the ethics in filming

Did you ever feel that we were exploiting people?

Well it depends who they were. Some of them probably deserved to be exploited, I would say! [laughs] No, I mean I think at the end of if you’ve got two ways to look at it. You’ve got obviously the professional people like politicians and things like that, they can talk for blooming Britain, the problem is sorting out what is correct and what’s not. Because if you think, they can talk in two minutes, they’ll talk for two minutes but they could equally talk for ten minutes, and that’s a difference. It’s when you get people who’ve agreed to do the interview; I think you’ve got to do it as professionally as you possibly can.

Exploitation, though, is something slightly different as well. I particularly didn’t like when you would go to somebody’s house and they’d decide that they don’t like the settee there, they want it over there, and you think, that lady’s spent all day cleaning the room, whatever it, is, next minute you move the settee and there’s the kids’ toys or whatever it is behind and it’s not been dusted. They immediately are on their guard because they don’t know what you are going to do next. Right, because they don’t. And that’s when you, I think, you’ve exploited people, in a way that upsets them, and then they don’t do as good as you’d hope they’d do. And I saw that, countless times, more so actually with video than with film. And I can think of one particular case where we took somebody’s settee into the hallway. Well that’s not right. If you can’t do it where the settee is, you should just give up. But they wanted it because the walls were dark. Well, for goodness sake. It’s television. It’s what’s being said. Nobody’s bloody interested in the bloody walls.

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