Christopher Potts understands something that the world could use much more of these days. This UK executive producer has been a part of creating incredibly successful and award winning programs like Made in Chelsea and Cat Vs Dog which rely on the principle that contrast is both interesting and enlightening. Whether it’s the affluent young people of West London or the perennial détente between domestic pets, a glimpse into the lives of those whom are different is intriguing and informative. These stories can be a guilty pleasure or a metaphor to superimpose on our own interactions. It’s indicative of the talent and ingenuity of Potts that many of the productions he has been involved in work on multiple levels. Earning critical praise via BAFTA awards and vetted with high ratings, these productions garner accolades from the public and the industry ensuring that Christopher has his finger on the pulse of television in the modern era.
When conceiving the show Made in Chelsea, Potts wasn’t motivated to create a BAFTA award winner but nonetheless this was the result. He knew that the lives of the young and wealthy of West London would make for an attractive backdrop but he wanted to challenge himself as an executive producer to create an ‘unscripted’ docu-soap that aesthetically looked and felt like a scripted show. In contrast to programs like Young, Posh and Loaded which went to great extremes to portray its cast as somewhat foolish despite their wealth, Christopher wanted to use rich kids as a means to display the universality of themes like love and relationships, work, friends, etc. Even though the cast was upper class and travelled to fantastic places, they experienced very genuine moments that resonated with all viewers. Of course, the settings offered entrée into environments that many of us do not frequent. The series received a BAFTA nomination in its first season and won for the second season (“Reality and Constructed Factual”). Now in its 16th season, Made in Chelsea presents characters and storylines which audiences love and is shot and constructed in a manner that the industry continues to praise.
“Fighting like cats and dogs” is a statement that translates in any culture and is immediately understood. The idea presented a welcome challenge to Christopher to create a show around these two species and how they might coexist in the same environment. The concept might be simple but the execution is most certainly not. Created for Animal Planet and currently also viewable on Amazon Prime Video, Cat vs Dog features dog expert Zoe Sandor and cat expert Jackson Galaxy giving advice and insight into harmony involving cohabitating combatants. This domesticated animal social experiment reveals as much about human inclinations as our furry friends.
These shows may not seem correlated to the lay person but Potts sees them as different means of communicating the human story. He explains, “The real story is never about the surface subject, it’s always about the people underneath. Even the animals are just a conduit in the same way that clothes are, or an untidy house, or homes that need to be remodeled and so on. Ultimately it’s always the stories and motivations of the people that are the most compelling. There are development executives and teams who specialize in specific types of shows but I am just as happy to develop a docu-soap, a game show, or anything in-between. There are always some differences in the process but ultimately it’s very similar: figure out the format, what’s going to happen in each act of the show and/or who are your cast. Television is far from superficial. It can teach us that we all care about the same things.”