Channel 4 recently aired a documentary entitled “Meet the Police Commissioner” – which was a fly on the wall look at Kent’s first Commissioner who is charged with efficient and effective policing Ann Barnes
The documentary paints a pretty unflattering picture of Ann who seemingly bumbles her way from one meet to the next.
And there in lies the trap door of life…never agree to a television programme without having a veto on the final edit.
Television makers employ people to make their subjects like and trust them. To tell them all the stuff that said subject thinks and feels they want portrayed on the screen – make them feel like they are the ones writing the script.
The truth is – the only people writing the script are the TV production company and all those moments when you thought you had their trust, when you thought you’d made a real friendship – goes right out the window – they will tell you anything you want to hear to get their story.
And that is why I feel really sorry for Ann Barnes. I do not for one second believe that the image portrayed by this documentary is fair and rounded and certainly not what was promised. Out of all the hours of filming – they have focused on maybe 10% of who Ann is.
Imagine for one second, if you had camera’s following you 8 hours per day at work for 3 months and you were trying to be as open and honest as possible. There would be, I’m sure, many good things – but also – there would be some embarrassing moments, a few mistakes, some points you’d rather weren’t show and some that you hope they do.
Now imagine if over the course of an hour – you saw all those negative bits – those big nasty warts that’d you’d hoped would have been cut or edited – the main focus of the programme. I guess, like what may have happened to Ann – the blood draining from your face.
I can only imagine that Ann’s agreement was part genuinely wanted to engage the public in understand her role and part ego. Maybe she allowed herself to believe the sweet talk from the producers who, I’m sure, assured her that she’d be pleased with the results and all was fine.
The truth is television relies on those who take part to be flattered into signing away the right to your personal identity and allowing a production company to define your image – put it out for everyone to see – then walk away.