Jonathan Glazier, Not a CV is my story; it is about how I arrived here in Dec 2022. I am a TV person and have been all my career; this is about what inspired me, some highlights and I hope some inspiration if you are thinking of a career in TV, the media or content creation. Who am I? That’s what google is for!
My story starts with my father, Peter Glazier; he was an art director on many feature films from the ’50s; Moby Dick, Look Back in Anger and the Dam Busters. I would sit with my mum and look at his drawings and storyboards, even reading the scripts. At six years old I was invited to the Elstree Studios Children’s Christmas Party, seeing the studios, behind the scenes, the lights and cameras that was it, all I ever wanted to do, direct. I never knew my father, he died just 12 hours before I was born.
My younger years were spent taking photos, doing a paper round to finance the purchase of a super 8 camera and making films, either using my action men in the back garden or documenting many climbing expeditions to Wales and the Alps. I also had to overcome “being thick”, or as we now know it, dyslexia. My interest in computing was partly due to it enabling me to write, now one of my greatest loves.
Not a Student a Muppet
At university where I studied nuclear physics and musical acoustics, I was much better known for my role on the entertainment committee and writing comedy sketches, than my contribution to physical science. It didn’t last long, and I jumped at the opportunity to become a sound trainee at ATV Elstree, home of the Muppets and Emergency Ward 10. I was hooked, and my dream came true.
I soon became one of the youngest sound supervisors in the country and then came my secondment to news directing, followed by director training and an ATV freelance contract for two years. I finally left ATV and worked on most of the iconic Entertainment TV shows of the day, Gladiators, This Morning, Royal Variety and the Audiences with… Working with Sir Tom Jones, Sir Elton John, even Sooty, to name but a few. At Nigel Lythgoe’s leaving party, I walked on to the LWT bar terrace where every big name of the day were all having a private natter. Chris Tarrant, Phillip Scofield, Davina McCall, Jonathan Ross, Jeremy Beadle, again just a selection. Chris is his own inimitable style, yelled at me, “Is there anyone here you haven’t worked with?” There wasn’t. I was also desperate to shake off the label of coming from a technical background in sound, I started writing working with Russ Abbott and Warren Mitchell gave me more confidence to contribute more to the performance side of the business and I started writing my own scripts for talent, particularly Davina.
I was well known for dealing with challenging talent. So I was asked to go to the BBC to produce the Gen Game with Jim Davidson. In his biography Jim wrote “and then came Jonathan Glazier, he was bought in to do a job, which he did”! my one and only and literary mention. Then on to becoming head of Light Entertainment and International formats at the BBC. I was in charge of all LE shows, Weakest Link, the Lottery Shows; I was the EP for Eamon Homes, Ian Wright and Anne Robinson, renewing and negotiating their contracts, a job I loved.
I bought a format from New Zealand being produced in the USA for ABC called “The Chair”. Lorraine Heggessey said she would commission it for BBC 1 provided the USA presenter would host the UK version. That evening I got on a plane to LA, 48 hours later I returned with John McEnroe signed.
After two years at the BBC, I was poached to set up FoxWorld UK. I Loved it, but it was a hard ask, Liz Murdock was just beginning her journey with Shine, she was annoyed that Peter Chernin had sanctioned what she saw as competition. After two years, the management changed at FoxWorld USA, and the international strategy changed. After creating some opportunities for M&A’s, I decided it was time to leave. We had just had our own UK production commission, I’d been consulting on various international of formats like Joe Millionaire and various game shows across Europe. It was a shame but I don’t think it would have ever worked.
I went to work in New Zealand for the creators of the Chair, it was one of my most creative periods in TV. The formats I created were commissioned and aired within a quarter of the time it would take in the UK. I created and Produced “So you Wanna Be a Popstar?”, “Captive”, “How Normal Are You?” “Top of the Class”, I was EP on “Ready Steady Cook” “Dragons Den” “Mathew and Marks Rocky Road”, and iconic NZ sports quiz “A Game of Two Halves” as well as directing “Jonah Lomu’s, This is Your Life”. Personally, it was a joy, Becca gave birth to our twins Jessica and Lucy, and I spent time with our 1-year-old Millie.
5 years later I returned to the UK as head of Entertainment at Talent TV plc. Listed on AIM, I bought 20%. It was a turbulent time in the business and with the benefit of hindsight a mistake. We didn’t have enough capital to compete with Endemol Shine, and Fremantle and our core business of big entertainment shows had no opportunities there just weren’t the slots apart from a couple of one-offs. Above all else, we needed to develop a factual entertainment arm. We bought a company which become Talent South, but it was too late for Talent Group. I left and eventually, the company was the subject of a reverse takeover. I am delighted that Talent South remained intact and became Woodcut Media and is now doing very well.
That brings me to the last eleven years. I started a company called Pepper Rafferty. Primarily a digital production company, I was writing code that enabled video to power text on a web site, it enabled e-commerce sites to have narrative content with synchronised click-throughs to purchase. I have been coding and working online since before the www started, I was a legitimate hacker, exposing security flaws, starting with personal files at university. We built up Pepper Rafferty with all its own equipment, if I am honest, it is a bit of a personal interest company for me. I get to light, edit and camera operate just as I did in my back garden all those years ago, and I love it. I also get to try out all the new technologies. We are the preferred supplier to Sony Europe for all their online videos.
Jonathan Glazier Media Ltd
And then there’s my consulting, 15 years ago at MIP, I was asked to help start “The Entertainment Master Class” it has become one of the leading executive education courses for our industry in the world. There is not a country or broadcaster I visit that doesn’t have alumni from our sessions. It is a tight network of TV and now digital executives. I had already taught multi-camera directing at Granada TV and then found myself lecturing all over the world at universities and broadcasters. On format creation, writing, comedy and general creativity. I decided to set up my own consultancy and have worked across the globe since. I was the Creative Director of EndemolShine in SE Asia living in Kuala Lumpur, where we produced some 200 hours of local TV mush created by me, as well as Fear Factor Malaysia. I worked for Fremantle in Jakarta for many years on and off. And for 3 seasons I have been the Executive Producer, and Director of Asia’s Got Talent. An act I auditioned and the subsequent online performance is still the most viewed video on facebook of all time!
I’ve often worked on projects in the Middle East, most recently in Qatar as the senior consultant and creator of sadeem.com. In Dubai as the executive producer and creative consultant of the Arab Reading Challenge. I have been consulting for one of the most significant event companies in KSA, they recently moved into production. I am working with them on every strand of their development from the financials, I wrote their business plan, I also designed their studio and developed their digital strategy. As I mentioned we are currently producing content from my office taking input from around the world and streaming back to Asia and the Middle east. It is a workflow I designed.
Still Not a CV
For the last few years, I’ve been the executive producer and director of Asia’s Got Talent, A joy and using all my skill and experience on a show that spans 17 countries, five different sets of dietary requirements and at times must be more akin to working at the united nations. I also worked on a covid special AXN All Stars, a brilliant challenge masterminded from my office in Cambridge UK with shoots in Singapore, LA, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Bali and France.
I co-created a new challenge reality show entitled Good Game… we are currently rolling out International versions. The first series was shot in Asia, not without its issues. TV isn’t always about creativity sadly sometimes it is about funding and covid.
Currently, I am working on projects in Singapore, Dubai, Egypt and the UK. The project in Egypt takes me right back to my beginnings on the Muppet Show,
I am a visiting Lecturer and the renown university of creative arts (UCA) REF 2021, the top specialist art and design for world leading research outputs. I lead the As Live module based at Maidstone Studios in the UK. The only UK production course based at a working professional TV studio.
I love this business, every day I learn something new. The opportunity to work with so many different cultures is a privilege, and I am honestly as enthused as the first day I walked into Elstree Studio D and saw Kermit the Frog hanging on a peg in the Muppet Workshop.
So this was a biography of Jonathan Glazier, Not a CV , probably way too long, but it is me! And at the moment I have too much time on my hands!
Oh if you want the CV stuff!!!
I’m vice chair of governors St Bedes School Cambridge with responsibility for Child Protection, SEND and IT. Vice Chair Finance,, Chair Health and Safety.
Full Driving Licence
Member of the RTS and Directors UK
Several A Levels
A couple of O levels including Woodwork
Currently Studying Mandarin and the famous Harvardx Justice module.
I live in Cambridge with my wife Becca, Millie 18 and Twins Jessica and Lucy 16.
Hobbies, work. I turned my hobby into my means of support and I know I am lucky.