Tom Gutteridge

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Thomas Michael Gillan "Tom" Gutteridge (born 2 February 1952) is a British television director, producer and executive.[1] He was formerly Chief Executive of FremantleMedia NA, having previously been founder and Chief Executive of Mentorn, from 1985 to 2001.[2] In 2016 he was appointed Executive Producer (International) of the ABC series BattleBots.[3] He started his career as a BBC journalist.[2]

Early life[edit]

Gutteridge was born in London in 1952, the son of a food technologist, and moved to Tyneside when he was 5. He was educated at Priory School Tynemouth, Newcastle Royal Grammar School and the University of York, where he studied English and Philosophy[2][4][5]

BBC career[edit]

News & Current Affairs[edit]

Gutteridge joined the BBC as a News Trainee, and initially worked at Radio Derby, and in the Newcastle newsroom. He was later a producer and director on Nationwide, Tonight and Panorama.[2] On 11 April 1978, he directed the first Budget Special programme to use live sound from the House of Commons.[6] In 1979 he became producer of the weekly Tonight in Town, hosted by Valerie Singleton and Michael Billington.[7] In 1983 he was seconded from the BBC's Music & Arts department to direct the BBC's General Election coverage.[8][9][10][11]

Music & Arts[edit]

In 1980 Gutteridge moved to Music & Arts department as Executive Producer, where he was responsible for the twice-weekly Russell Harty chat shows.

In 1982 he produced and directed the comedy sketch series A Kick Up the Eighties, which first discovered the talents of Rik Mayall (as Kevin Turvey) and Tracey Ullman, and which won a Scottish BAFTA.[12]

In 1983 and 1984 he produced and directed the popular BBC1 dance series The Hot Shoe Show, starring Wayne Sleep and Bonnie Langford,[13] which in 1984 was nominated for a BAFTA award as Best Light Entertainment Series.[14]

Freelance career[edit]

Andrew Lloyd-Webber's Song & Dance[edit]

In 1984 he took leave of absence from the BBC to direct and produce the film of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Song & Dance, with Sarah Brightman and Wayne Sleep.[15][16][17]

In December 1985 he co-produced and directed the dance special Dash, with Wayne Sleep.[18][19][20]

Blue Suede Shoes: A Rockabilly Special[edit]

On 21 October 1985 he directed Blue Suede Shoes, a Rockabilly Special with Carl Perkins, which starred Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr and George Harrison (with Harrison’s first live stage appearance in more than ten years[21]), Dave Edmunds, Rosanne Cash, Lee Rocker and Slim Jim Phantom[22][23]

Walton sextuplets[edit]

In December 1985 he directed the ITV documentary Sixty Tiny Fingers about the Walton sextuplets.[24]

Torvill & Dean's Fire and Ice[edit]

In 1986 Gutteridge wrote and directed the ice ballet Fire and Ice, starring Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean for ITV,[25] which won the Bronze Rose at Montreux,[26][27] and also Best Director at the International Monitor Awards.[2][28][29][30] It was broadcast on ITV on Boxing Day 1986.

Opera and Ballet[edit]

The following year, Gutteridge wrote and directed the ITV ice ballet Sleeping Beauty, with Robin Cousins,[31][32] which also won Best Director at the International Monitor Awards. Also in 1987 he directed a film of the Ravel opera 'L'Enfant et Les Sortileges' at Glyndebourne, conducted by Simon Rattle.[33][34]

In 1990 he directed the full-length David Bintley ballet Hobson's Choice with the Birmingham Royal Ballet.[35][36]

In 1991 Gutteridge directed an hour-long comedy special for ITV Lenny Go Home with Lenny Henry.[37][38]


In 1985 Gutteridge founded the production company Mentorn (originally called Mentorn Films), and his early productions included the BBC1 documentary The Golden Gong (1987). In 1988 he produced and directed the ITV documentary about the animator Richard Williams, I Drew Roger Rabbit, which won an International Emmy nomination for Best Arts Documentary in 1989.[39]

From 1987, Mentorn produced a number of weekly arts magazine series for ITV regional companies, including 01-for London for Thames TV,[40] which was hosted by Richard Jobson, Neil Mullarkey, Mark Webster and Paula Yates, First Night for Central, Wideangle for Anglia, as well as the daily Box Office for Channel 4. It also produced the ITV weekly magazine Hollywood Report. By 1991 Mentorn had become Britain’s largest independent television production company.[41]

From 1989 to 1995 he produced and directed the entertainment series Challenge Anneka for BBC1, with Anneka Rice, which won the Bronze Rose at Montreux in 1991.[42][43] The first series was broadcast from 8 September 1989 on Friday evenings on BBC1,[44] and in 1990 the series moved to Saturday nights and ratings rose to 10 million viewers and was the second most popular show on BBC1.[45] In 2001 Gutteridge produced and directed a US version of the show for ABC called Challenge America, starring Erin Brockovitch.[46]

In 1991 Mentorn teamed up with Polygram, Working Title and Palace Pictures to form a consortium, London Independent Broadcasting, to bid against LWT for the London weekend ITV franchise.[47][48] The bid was unsuccessful.

Gutteridge was Executive Producer of the BBC1 comedy film The Bullion Boys, starring David Jason and Brenda Blethyn, for which he won the 1994 International Emmy Award for Drama.[49]

Other Mentorn productions Gutteridge created and produced included the talent show Star for a Night, with Jane McDonald, which in 2001 discovered the singer Joss Stone.[50] Gutteridge also produced the BBC1 debate series You Decide with Jeremy Paxman[51] and the daily BBC2 news quiz Today's the Day with Martyn Lewis, which ran from 1992 to 1999.[52] Gutteridge was also Executive Producer of the BBC entertainment series Before They Were Famous.[53]

Gutteridge also produced the first entertainment programme for the new ITV franchise Carlton Television, Surprise Party, broadcast on 1 January 1993.[54]

In 1996 Gutteridge was Executive Producer of the 24-part Gerry Anderson sci-fi drama series Space Precinct.[55]

In 1995 he created the cult television series Robot Wars, which he produced for BBC2 and a number of international broadcasters from 1998 until 2002 (a further series was made for Channel Five in 2003), and for which Gutteridge was nominated for a Best Entertainment Programme BAFTA in 1999.[56] Robot Wars first broadcast on BBC2 in February 1998, hosted by Jeremy Clarkson and Philippa Forrester, and a further 5 series were made for BBC2 with Craig Charles, reaching ratings in excess of 4 million viewers. A seventh series was produced for Channel Five. In the United States, a series was produced for the United States (but shot by Mentorn in London) called Robot Wars: Extreme Warriors, hosted by the wrestler Mick Foley. It aired on TNN. A subsequent US series was made for Nickelodeon.

Other key long-running Mentorn productions included Question Time, Traffic Cops and Britain’s Worst Driver.[57]

The Television Corporation[edit]

From 1996 Mentorn had acquired a number of other production companies, including the documentary producers Barraclough Carey,[58] and in February 2000 Gutteridge sold the expanded Mentorn Group to The Television Corporation plc,[59] for up to £24.8million.[60] Gutteridge became Group Director of Content and Marketing[61] of the merged group.[62][63]

In 2003 Gutteridge moved to the United States, where he co-created and produced the Fox network series Paradise Hotel and Forever Eden.[64]

FremantleMedia North America[edit]

In 2003 Gutteridge quit Mentorn[65] and was headhunted by FremantleMedia to become its Chief Executive Officer in North America,[66][67] where he was responsible for the company’s operations in the USA and Canada, which included the productions American Idol and The Price Is Right. He resigned from the company in March 2005 for personal reasons.[68][69]

Return to the UK[edit]

In 2007 he returned to the UK and moved with his partner Joanna to Northumberland, where he founded the production company Standing Stone, which has produced a number of entertainment formats, including the quiz show Hot Seat, sold to Debmar Mercury,[70] and the dating show Loveland, sold to Sky, Fox, and a number of other networks in 2008. After commissioning and announcing the Loveland series,[71] which was to have been hosted by Cilla Black, Sky cancelled it in 2009.[citation needed]

In 2009, Gutteridge co-wrote with Nigel Dacre the application for the Trinity Mirror and Press Association regional news consortium News 3, which in 2010 won the bid for the regional news pilot for the north east of England.[72][73][74] The news pilots were cancelled by the incoming coalition government later in 2010.[75]

In 2013 Standing Stone signed a development deal with the Fox network in the United States for a new entertainment format The Ideas Factory.

Standing Stone also had a digital division, which developed a revolutionary interactive voting and information app for Channel Four’s Dispatches series in 2012, of which Gutteridge was Executive Producer of 20 episodes. The app was nominated for Innovation of the Year in the British Journalism Awards 2012.[76]

Return to US[edit]

In 2015 Gutteridge returned to the US to work as a Broadcast Consultant. He was contracted by BattleBots Inc to be in charge of the international rollout of the hit robot combat show on ABC BattleBots, as Executive Producer, International.[77]

BattleBots (ABC)[edit]

In 2016, Gutteridge launched the international sales rollout of BattleBots in April 2016 by appointing Sky Vision as distributor.[78][79] They immediately sold the series to a number of international broadcasters, including Spike and Channel 5 in the UK, and Discovery Germany.[80] By October 2016 the series was on air in 150 territories.[80]

Work with PACT, The Royal Television Society, Northern Film & Media and Skillset[edit]

Gutteridge was elected Chair of PACT, the Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television, in 1993,[2] and over the next two years successfully campaigned for a quota for independent regional production, and also started a campaign for tax breaks for the British film industry (which eventually succeeded in 1997).

He was made a Fellow of the Royal Television Society in 1996[81] and in 1995 gave the 50th anniversary RTS Fleming Memorial Lecture at the Royal Institution on the subject 50 Channels and Nothing On: The Future of British Production.[82] He became Deputy Chair of the Royal Television Society in 1998. He was Chair of Skillset's Northern Media Skills Panel from 2008 to 2012[83] and in December 2014 became Chair of the regional screen agency Northern Film & Media. In 2015 he helped launch the NFM Academy, a training initiative to help North East production personnel get experience of working on high-end drama productions.[84]

Teesside University[edit]

In 2008 Gutteridge was conferred as Visiting Professor of Teesside University, where he regularly gives masterclasses and lectures to students in the School of Arts and Media.[85][86] Since 2007 he has also written a weekly column in The Journal, the daily newspaper covering the Northeast, published by Trinity Mirror.


  1. ^ Tony Edwards, Royal Television Society
  2. ^ a b c d e f
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ 24 February 2010 The Journal
  5. ^ David Garner, University of York, 6 February 2003 University of York News and Events
  6. ^ Radio Times 11 April 1978 3.15 Nationwide Budget Special billing
  7. ^ Radio Times billing 9 March 1979
  8. ^ Radio Times 9 June 1983 Election 83 credits 10.40-4am
  9. ^ Radio Times 10 June 1983 Election 83 credits 10.00 - 3.53pm
  10. ^ Daily Telegraph 6 June 1983 'Hot foot to the election special'
  11. ^ Election 83 Director Tom Gutteridge
  12. ^ The Journal 19 December 1986
  13. ^ Radio Times, 4–10 June 1983
  14. ^
  15. ^ Song & Dance (1984) Director Tom Gutteridge
  16. ^ Radio Times 25 August 1984 page 4 Peter Silverton: Making a song and dance
  17. ^ Pre-Cert Video Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Song & Dance (2004) November 1984
  18. ^ BFI Wayne Sleep’s ‘Dash’ (1986) Director Tom Gutteridge
  19. ^ The Stage and Television Today, 3 January 1986 'Ex-BBC producer records Sleep
  20. ^ Broadcast magazine 20 December 1985 'Gutteridge hot-foots it back on film'
  21. ^ Inglis, Ian, The Beatles in Hamburg, p 171, Reaktion Books publ 15 June 2012
  22. ^ New York Times Movies 'Blue Suede Shoes: A Rockabilly Session with Carl Perkins and Friends' (1985)
  23. ^ 'Blue Suede Shoes' (1985)
  24. ^ Broadcast magazine 6 December 1985, 'Sextuplets switch channels'
  25. ^
  26. ^ The Paley Centre for Media 'Fire & Ice' (TV) Bronze Rose Montreux
  27. ^ Stage and Television Today 2 April 1987 Montreux 'Fire & Ice'
  28. ^ Kisselgoff, Anna, Fire and Ice and Sleeping Beauty reviewed The New York Times 29 November 1987
  29. ^ Isaacs, David, The Journal, 19 December 1986, 'Jewel in the ITV Crown'
  30. ^ Lawson, Mark, The Independent, 24 December 1986, 'Fire men do, ice girls don’t"
  31. ^ The Stage and Television Today, 2 April 1987, Production News
  32. ^ Brewer, Stacey, Yorkshire Evening Press, 19 February 1987, TV Talk: 'Ice One, Robin'
  33. ^ Morgan, Dan, review in Musicweb International
  34. ^ L’Enfant et les Sortileges (1987)
  35. ^ Segal, Lewis, LA Times review, 23 January 1993 'Bintley's Ballet of 'Hobson's Choice' a Study in Recycled Classicism'
  36. ^ New York Public Library 'Hobson’s Choice' 1990
  37. ^ New York Times
  38. ^ Lenny Go Home (1991)
  39. ^ 'I Drew Roger Rabbit' 1988
  40. ^
  41. ^ Television Week, 21–27 September 1992, Britain's Top 100
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^ McGeoghan, Maria, Liverpool Echo 8th Sept 1989 'It’s that woman Anneka again!'
  45. ^ Television Week 12–18 December 1990, BBC1 ratings
  46. ^ Waller, Ed, C21 Media, 12 December 2001
  47. ^ Rawsthorn, Alice, Financial Times 10 January 1991 'PolyGram seeks TV franchise'
  48. ^ Rankine, Kate, Daily Telegraph 10th Januarhy 1991, 'Polygram to bid for TV franchise'
  49. ^ International Emmy Awards Previous Winners
  50. ^ Junior Star for a Night 2001
  51. ^ Bignell, Jonathan, Media Semiotics: An Introduction pp 150/151
  52. ^ 'Today's The Day' (1992–1999)
  53. ^ 'Before They Were Famous' full cast
  54. ^ Banks-Smith, Nancy, Review in The Guardian, 2 January 1993, 'Birth of a new channel'
  55. ^
  56. ^
  57. ^
  58. ^ Horsman, Matthew, The Independent, 9 January 1997 'Merger creates TV giant'
  59. ^
  60. ^
  61. ^ The Glasgow Herald Monday 10 December 2001
  62. ^
  63. ^ Biog Nations & Regions Media Conference 2012
  64. ^ Rogers, Steve, Reality TV World, 21 April 2003
  65. ^ Deans, Jason, The Guardian 25 Nov 2003, 'Mentorn founder Gutteridge quits'
  66. ^ 'Tom Gutteridge Appointed CEO, FremantleMedia North America' Business Wire Press Release 28 Jan 2004
  67. ^ Schneider, Michael, Variety, 28 January 2004, 'Fremantle Taps CEO'
  68. ^ Schneider, Michael, Variety, 22 March 2005,'Exec plans ‘Idol’ time – Gutteridge free of Fremantle'
  69. ^ 'Gutteridge quits Fremantle US' Broadcast magazine 24 March 2005
  70. ^ Jim Benson, Debmar-Mercury 14 Aug 2008
  71. ^ Sandison, Nikki, Brand Republic, 6 August 2008
  72. ^ 3 February 2010 The Journal: 'Nigel Dacre and Tom Gutteridge join The Journal's TV bid'
  73. ^ McMahon, Kate, Broadcast magazine, 3 February 2010 'Dacre and Gutteridge join North East news bid'
  74. ^ Sweney, Mark, The Guardian, 25 March 2010 'Johnston Press, Newsquest and Trinity Mirror win ITV regional news bids'
  75. ^
  76. ^
  77. ^ C21, 27th April 2016 Gutteridge Does Battle For ABC
  78. ^ Realscreen, Alcinii Danielle, 19 July 2016 BattleBots Storm the UK Realscreen
  79. ^ Daily Express, Bullock, Andrew - Sept 1st 2016
  80. ^ a b
  81. ^
  82. ^
  83. ^
  84. ^
  85. ^
  86. ^