Nigel Cowlin media director, Unilever UK and Ireland
So what’s your TV pick of the week? I really look forward to watching Spooks (BBC1), it’s a great programme – fast-moving and exciting. I enjoyed the Longford (Channel 4) dramatised documentary too – a good chunky topic based in history with an interesting storyline.
And what else do you like to watch? I love watching tennis so I watched the Zurich Open. Good dramas like Prime Suspect (ITV1) are on my viewing list, as are any programmes to do with design – like Grand Designs (Channel 4). I also like programmes in which real people are put to the test – but in a sensible way – I don’t mean reality TV like Big Brother. Extreme Dreams (BBC2), for instance, with Ben Fogle pushes people beyond their comfort zones. It challenges them intellectually, physically and emotionally.
Any guilty-secret television you want to admit to watching? I do admit to Coronation Street (ITV1). It’s the only soap I watch. I don’t go to the trouble of recording it if I’m not in but I probably see about half the episodes. It’s good relaxing TV when you get back from work.
What programmes did you look forward to as a kid? I enjoyed Blue Peter and Magpie and there used to be show called How with Fred Dinage. He used to make some sort of hand gesture – but it was a polite gesture.
What’s been the watercooler TV in your office of late? One thing I’ve heard people talking about recently is Vincent (ITV1), I didn’t get to see it myself but I might try next time around. Ray Winstone’s such a good actor.
Who controls the remote in your house? Because we’re both very busy we rarely watch TV together. When we do and we want to watch different things we’ve got a number of TVs – so I do, but in a nice unbullying sort of way.
What about if we could offer you a walk-on part in a TV show, which would you choose? Something like Dancing on Ice (ITV1) would be fun to do, so it wouldn’t be so much a walk-on as a slide-on. I’ve always fancied ice skating but never got around to doing it. Believe it or not I had dance training in my youth so I’d be willing to give it a go.
What TV character do you reckon is most like you? I don’t know about a character but people do mistake me, on quite a regular basis, for Peter Davison. I’ve actually been stopped in John Lewis and asked for my autograph.
And did you sign it? I can’t possibly comment.
Moving on to ads, have any stood out for you recently, apart from Unilever’s obviously? That goes without saying. The one that really impresses me is the Sony Bravia ad, the one with the bouncing balls. It’s very engaging. It certainly brings you in to what it’s trying to say.
Interview by Mark Jonson
For next week’s viewing, Thinkbox recommends:
• Master and Commander: The far side of the world, Saturday 9pm, Channel 4
• Inside Britain’s worst sleepwalker, Tuesday 9pm, Sky Three