Interview in Offscreen Magazine / by Jonathan Green

This was published in Offscreen magazine in April 2009

Jonathan Paul Green – Production Designer

(Recent credits include FM for ITV2, & Horne & Corden for BBC3)

From a very early age, I knew I wanted to work in Theatre or Television.

I always wanted to create ‘worlds’ and environments, so becoming a Designer seemed like an ideal choice..

After leaving school, I went to Art School, doing a 2 year Diploma at Chelsea, and then a 3 year BA (Hons) Fine Art Sculpture degree at St. Martins.

I’ll always remember sending a degree show invitation to Roger Law of Spitting Image, and being absolutely amazed when he actually turned up in person.

There was me, a nobody sculpture student, and Roger Law had turned up to see my work!

We got talking and he told me to write to him in Sept when the new series was due to start, which of course I did, and managed to talk my way into getting my first job in TV working in the Spitting Image workshop.

At that time, Spitting Image was in its heyday, and I felt privileged beyond measure to be a part of it.

I spent a number of years there, becoming their workshop Art Director in a fairly short time, which gave me the overall responsibility of the puppets on set.

During that period, I also worked for a number of model making companies, including Artem and Henson’s Creature Shop, and was even involved in helping to create part of the Temple, in Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom.

After a while though, it soon became clear to me that Design was the area that I really wanted to move into, and I got myself a job as an Art Director for a number of Designers.

Having a Fine Art background, and a lot of experience making things and being on set gave me a great grounding, and I designed my first set (Rory Bremner’s first TV show for Channel 4 after leaving the BBC) in 1991 at the age of 26, only 4 years after starting work making puppets.

It didn’t seem like such a meteoric rise at the time, but I was ambitious, and hungry to move up the ladder.

And so began my career as a Production Designer. I was always fortunate to work on a huge variety of shows. Pop Promos, a few commercials, a couple of Short Films, and a wide variety of TV Shows, and I would pride myself in being amenable and helpful, and try to get on with everybody.

I’ve also been fortunate to have worked on some very popular shows. I tend to work mostly in the Comedy and Entertainment areas of TV, and have been responsible for the design on Top Gear, Q.i , Ready Steady Cook, Green Wing, Scrapheap Challenge, Smack the Pony & Brass Eye, to name a few.

In fact Q.i is the one set I get most asked about. People are very complimentary about it. I somehow feel it would be hard not to be inspired to design something great, when working with a talent as great as John Lloyd.

More recently, I designed the set for Jamie Oliver’s “Jamie Save Our Bacon” ITV’s FM, which was part location, part large composite recording studio set, and involved building a studio set within a pig barn in Suffolk.

I also designed the new BBC show Horne & Corden staring Mat Horne & James Corden, which was directed by Kathy Burke and Dave Skinner.

Another hugely enjoyable show to make, which was part location sketches and part studio.

My next project is The Kevin Bishop Show for Objective Prods.

I’ve always felt extremely privileged to be doing what I’m doing.

I really love my job with a passion, and am lucky to have worked with some amazing talent, both in front & behind the camera.

It’s the collaboration with exceptional people that keeps me driven and interested.

The Industry has changed enormously since I started in it, and sadly a lot of it for the worse.

There are challenging times ahead, but for as long as there are quality productions around with people who are passionate about making quality TV, then all will be good.