Jane Smith

Holly Allen


What’s your role at MultiStory?

I lead a team of 14 Production Managers, 1 Production Executive in London and a Deputy Head of Production in Manchester.


What made you want to get into TV and how did you make that a reality?  

I fell into TV 40 odd years ago when I was 18 (no degree here), I started working for a company that duplicated video cassettes of feature films, I then went on to work for two post production companies before going freelance as a PM at 25. I started at ITV in 1998 on a 3 month contract, and never left.


What’s the biggest hurdle you’ve had to overcome to get to where you are? 

When I started my freelance career, production management in TV was still in its infancy. Previously the role had been split between other areas and gaining respect for the role has been a theme throughout my career. I’m pleased to say that today we are seen as equal and important members of the team.


What has been the highlight of your career so far? 

I am very proud of the team I’ve built at Multistory, but I suppose the moment that changed my career trajectory was being the PM on the very first “I’m a Celebrity- Get me out of here”. As soon as I heard about the idea I was determined to be the Production Manager. It was incredibly challenging but I am still so proud of what we achieved.


What was your biggest “pinch me’ moment 

Early on in my freelance PM career I made a show called “Linda McCartney – behind the lens” for the BBC. We went to New York as part of the filming and ended up filming on a boat in the Hudson River. We were expecting Linda to be there of course, but the entire McCartney family turned up. During a filming break Paul got his guitar out and started playing and singing. The entire crew stood there in absolute awe, and I remember thinking “don’t blink, don’t miss a second of this.


Are there any big learning curves or disaster moments you can look back and laugh about now? 

Many, many learning curves but one moment of comedy stands out. I was working with a Russian Feature film crew who came to London in the 1990’s. I’d planned a lovely schedule for everything they needed to shoot across the week, but on the day they arrived it became clear that they hadn’t read a single word of my notes, and wanted to squash the week into 3 days so they could have the rest of the week off in London. The Director got into a black cab and proceeded to do a mini tour of London to show us where he wanted to film. Buckingham Palace, and Westminster Abbey were on the list, the Tower of London “looked Italian” and so was deemed unsuitable – he said this in front of two Beefeaters. I don’t speak Russian but ‘niet, probleme’ became my phrase of the day. Finally he settled on an area behind Selfridges to shoot a sequence that involved a period horse and carriage, which I duly rebooked and managed to get permission even though it was a Bank Holiday. On the day the horse, a beautiful white stallion called Cadbury, and carriage, arrived with the handler. Then the actors arrived who were going to sit in the carriage. They were all, ahem, on the larger side shall we say. They got into the carriage and I quietly went over to the handler and asked if the horse would be okay pulling that weight. The handler said “I wouldn’t worry about that love, his front feet aren’t even on the ground”, as he said that Cadbury rolled his eye back to look at me as if to say “you have to be f***ing kidding me” and the phrase ‘niet, probleme’ came into play again.


What are your favourite TV shows?  

I love the Handmaids Tale, I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, Bake Off, Peston, True Crime both Drama and Documentary- Code Blue and The Staircase are examples and I’m currently enjoying The Lazarus Project on Sky and Sherwood on the BBC.