CRAFT SECRETS: Perfect Day that took more than a year to create - The BBC’s corporate work was planned with military precision

Major recording stars earned just pounds 250 for their efforts. The country and western star, Tammy Wynette, drove 500 miles from Nashville with her tour entourage just to take part.

Major recording stars earned just pounds 250 for their efforts. The

country and western star, Tammy Wynette, drove 500 miles from Nashville

with her tour entourage just to take part.



’Perfect day’, the BBC’s stunning corporate communication showing the

range of music on offer to viewers and listeners, could never have been

made without that kind of consideration. The four-minute film starts

with Lou Reed singing the first line of his ballad, Perfect Day, then

handing over to musical giants ranging from David Bowie and Bono, to the

opera singer, Lesley Garrett, and the BBC Young Musician of the Year,

Sheona White.



The ad, created by Ian Ducker and Will Farquhar at Leagas Delaney,

produced by Steve Kelynack at the BBC and directed by Gregory Rood, was

filmed at the rate of three or four stars a day, and took more than a

year from inception to finish.



The brief was to show the diverse range of music offered by the BBC

across every TV and radio channel. The team plumped for Perfect Day,

recorded by Reed in 1973, because it had acquired a new popularity when

featured on the soundtrack for Trainspotting.



The formal garden in the film symbolises people’s dreams and

memories.



It was built at Shepperton studios, the skies were filmed in Richmond

Park and the special effects completed at The Mill.



A ’wish-list’ of musical styles was drawn up by everyone involved in the

project, including the heads of BBC TV and radio.



Before the artists turned up (at studios in London, New York and

Atlanta), the creative team tried to work out who would sing which line,

but there had to be some flexibility. Bowie ended up singing just a

couple of lines, others did more. Bono was so excited about the project

he sang the whole track and left muttering about making a B-side.



Keeping down expense was a priority, so the stars were filmed on a 16mm

camera. As many performers could give only half an hour, the camera

remained fixed throughout the shoot.



’Perfect day’ was completed at The Mill over a three-month period when

the final decisions were taken about which artist to use for which

lines. There remains a massive library of out-takes, including complete

versions by Reed and Bono. The musical directors, Music Sculptors, made

sure that the final soundtrack was harmonious.



Inevitably, there were compromises. Radio 3, for example, wanted more

classical music in the film. Ducker says: ’Everyone had their own

favourites. The difficulty was that on one hand you had a visual agenda,

but musically it might not sound right. You also needed contrasts. It

was like a house of cards, as soon as you took one person out the whole

thing collapsed.’



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