Movetech UK (the new name for British Turntable) is at the centre of the BBC Children’s game show, ‘Keep Your Enemies Close’, supplying a 3 metre diameter revolving stage with bespoke electronics for each of the two series to date. The Mixer, as it is called, is an integral part of the show and is the main visual element of the set.
Show producer, Annie Dixon, explains: “As well as looking impressive, the Mixer had to take on a mechanical ‘character’ to give the show its signature, industrial look. Its purpose was to spin eight children, ‘mix’ them up and release them into new pairs of ‘frenemies’ which changed after each game. This was the big format point, and a reliable revolving system was crucial.
“The revolve Movetech UK designed and made specially for ‘Keep Your Enemies Close’ was magnificent – it was safe, relatively simple to operate and didn’t fail once throughout the recording of 26 episodes.”
The revolve was specified by Wildfire Design’s Alison Jeffery, the set designer. “We needed a revolve that would operate at a consistent speed, with the option to speed it up if necessary; it also had to stop and start eight times in different places, so operational flexibility was key, and the electronics capability crucial.
“As the stage was built up 3 metres above floor level and operated with children on it, safety and reliability were also very important.
“We chose Movetech UK because they’re they leaders in the field and provide fantastic technical, operational and after sales support. They don’t just deliver the equipment and leave you to it. Members of Matt Forrest’s team remain on site until they’re sure everything’s working correctly; they train our operatives and they even spent a full day with scene hands to explain the control system in detail. And if anything does go wrong they always send someone out straight away.
“In all the years I’ve used Movetech UK for TV productions – around 15 years now – they’ve always come up with the goods, right on spec, on time and on budget. They’re incredibly reliable.”
Movetech UK’s Matt Forrest, says: “Our contribution to the game show involved a test day at our London work shop for Alison to check that we had matched her design brief. It did. Then we had a day’s trials at the set builders to see if it worked with the set around it. It did. When installing the revolve at Teddington Studios (where the shows are recorded) we also spent time with the scene hands to ensure they understood its operation.”
The first series of ‘Keep Your Enemies Close’ was broadcast during autumn 2009 and the second series started on Saturday 2nd January on BBC Two. Executive Producer is Annette Williams, with Annie Dixon and Keith Cotton Producer and Games Producer respectively. Production Manager is Diana-May Jones.