What was the inspiration for creating Union?
Tom: I always had the impression that not many people really know what a student union actually does. We all know it’s there, but when you hear that turnouts are dismally low or people can’t even name a full time officer, it suggests a disconnect.
Kieron: What Tom said, really. It’s a great concept that hasn’t been done well before and is perfect for student TV. Plus I’d never written series comedy before, only one-off scripts, so jumped at the opportunity to try my hand at it.
Are any of the characters based on real people?
Tom: Nice try, but no! We wanted to research thoroughly, though, before we began, as this was an area of life Kieron and I knew nothing about. We spoke to some Student Union big dogs including Kallum Taylor, Charlotte Winter (ex-York Sport President) and Nick Hall (ex-Union Chair). Research turned out to be essential as little nuggets from our chats became incorporated into the script, such as a student complaining about a broken hot tap.
Kieron: Of course not. Especially not Chris Wall. Or Kallum Taylor. Or Narghoul the Dread-Slayer.
What’s the best thing about producing a show just for students and why?
Tom: It makes it more relatable, hopefully. This is a comedy about students, for students, by students.
Kieron: It makes me respected among my peers and so turns me into a socially functioning human being. Well, that was the hope.
If you could work on any TV show in the world, what would it be and why?
Tom: With the degree out of the way I’ve finally got round to watching Game of Thrones. It’s such a damn good show. TV belongs to the writers and for me it’s up there with shows like Breaking Bad and The Wire.
Kieron: Doctor Who. I have my first series planned out for when I take over from Steven Moffat. No, I’m not telling you.
What advice would you give to aspiring student producers?
Tom: There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious, but don’t forget about your degree! I’m incredibly proud of Union particularly how we made as much content as we did.
Kieron: Forget about your degree. Your degree isn’t important, every graduate has one. What not every graduate has is a sitcom that they’ve produced.
How did making Front Row differ from making Union?
Tom: Front Row (my film review show) was a hell of a lot easier to make. It required only myself, a guest, one or two crewing, and City Screen York for location. Union has been far more stressful – sorting locations, casting actors, filming over weekends. It’s been immensely rewarding.
Nouse or Vision?
Tom: The Yorker.