All presenters need a good producer. Ally Begg sorts out all the Bundesliga matches (German league) and the Europa League, as well as “Sunday Night Live,” which shows all the major goals in Europe before the build up to the final game that evening for beIN Sports. But what exactly does it mean to be a producer?
Ally started his career as a model, then joined boy band Bad Boys Inc, before moving into presenting and then producing. His varied life experiences make him a thoroughly intriguing individual. This is all chronicled in his book, Begg to Differ, available on Amazon. We get the lowdown on producing with him…
What got you into producing?
I was forced into it actually. I was a presenter for 15 years. I was living in Singapore and I was presenting for ESPN and it was going well. All of a sudden the managing director decided not to renew my contract because, after two years, he decided he didn’t like my Scottish accent, so I got taken off air. The head of production at ESPN suggested I stepped into production. I’d done bits and pieces of producing in the past, but not as the main guy. It was a really difficult decision. In hindsight, it’s the best thing that ever happened to me. It’s given me a brand new career, I’m now a senior producer and I should have given up presenting years ago to be honest. I love it and prefer it to presenting.
Describe a typical day as a producer…
Every day is different for me. If I have a studio day, preparation starts well before that. For instance, today [Thursday] is the Europa League. I started my research on these games on Tuesday. So on Tuesday I go to the office early and I think about constructing my rundown.
A rundown is basically the blueprint of the programme from when we go on air to when we come off it. I have to decide editorially what is going to go into that programme with my great staff.
The Wednesday would be about ensuring that the assistant producers are constructing their promos, to make sure all key moments are in the videos they are constructing and editing. Then it’s the final tweaks and making sure everything is on order.
Thursday, I relax in the morning, go in about 3pm. It’s about final preparation, making sure everything is 100 percent ready. One hour before the show, you have to be ready so that you can relax.
What hooked you to football?
My first memory of watching football was the 1978 World Cup when Archie Gemmill scored “that” goal against Holland and my dad going nuts. I remember watching dad more than the game. Then we moved to Aberdeen in 1979 when I was six, and I kept hearing him wax lyrical about the Aberdeen team that has just won the Scottish championship. I really did become hooked on this club.
What happens when someone scores in a game you are not focusing on?
So let’s say Liverpool is the main game and the Tottenham match isn’t. If Tottenham score, I have two assistants with me, as well as two video operators. Whoever is dedicated to watching that game will shout out “Tottenham have scored.” The first thing is for me to click through to the presenter to his earpiece. For instance, Andy Gray. I’d tell him Tottenham have scored and to stand by. Then I’d talk to the director and tell them that Spurs have scored and that we will show it in a few seconds. Then the director tells Andy who scored the goal. Then it gets clipped up. The whole process will take under a minute but I’d rather wait five more seconds and have it done right than miss something vital. Anything contentious has to be done right and I must convey the message to the presenter.
Ally’s five tips to be a top producer…
1) ‘You must know your subject’
2) ‘You need to be creative’
3) ‘You must manage well’
4) ‘You need to be able to react’
5) ‘You have to have a calm personality’