Another fly on the wall

The current vogue for fly-on-the-wall documentaries has left few areas of modern life untouched by the amorous advances of camera crews and celebrity narrators who were once well known for doing something else.

Hotel staff, airport workers, police, the crew of a cruise ship and even swimming bath attendants have fallen under the panting gaze of the public, and now it is the turn of young designers in the new BBC2 series Making It (Thursday nights 19:30).

The show follows talented British graduates through the initial months of their first break in the design world. Of particular interest, the episode on 15 April follows two budding product designers at the Aldershot company, Random, which is responsible for the design of BT’s telephones.

Darren Mullen and Matthew Plested are the fledgling designers who, amongst other briefs, are given the task of designing a remote e-mail device which does not require a computer. They work with the latest CAD packages, which produce realistic 3D images.

Faced with tight deadlines and a steep learning curve, they both encounter different problems in what is a fascinating look at the struggle between the creative process and exacting commercial demands.

As they prepare to present their remote e-mail work to BT executives, they are involved in other team projects: an e-mail device that plugs into the TV, and a hi-tech screen phone. However, under mounting pressure, their mood lifts when their ideas are transformed into tangible products.

The computer generated designs are sent to Malaysia and Darren gets the opportunity to see the phones being prototyped in the Penang factory, where he realises how important it is to meet those responsible for the manufacturing process.

Back in Surrey, they are shocked to find the company in severe financial difficulty and their future hanging in the balance.