Riaz Meer

Janet Baker In Her Own Words

May 2019

My latest film is an intimate portrait of Britain's greatest singer of the 20th Century. Janet Baker In Her Own Words allows the brilliant Mezzo Soprano to tell her own story in a funny, charming, emotional and revealing interview. The interview forms the spine of the film. There are a host of other contributors, and they contribute wonderfully; but it is Janet who rightly holds centre stage. And because the film is feature length we also allow the audience to hear Janet sing. The combination of Janet's words (through her interview) and her voice through her singing make this one of the most illuminating studies of both singing and what it is to be a singer. In the third act however the film moves into a different realm. Janet has always preserved her privacy, but here she allows us into her home, and we see her with her devoted husband Keith, and Keith's carer David. As conductor Raymond Leppard says they've built a "remarkable household". This third act turns the film into something very special. As Oliver Soden noted, the film becomes a study of ageing, and it is an ageing suffused with love and with the acknowledgment that things cannot last. For many viewers the climax of the film is the scene where this remarkable household listen to a recording of Janet singing Mahler's "Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen". The words are;

I am lost to the world
With which I used to waste much time;
It has for so long known nothing of me,
It may well believe that I am dead.
Nor am I at all concerned
If it should think that I am dead.
Nor can I deny it,
For truly I am dead to the world.
I am dead to the world's tumult
And rest in a quiet realm!
I live alone in my heaven,
In my love, in my song!

I hope you will all try and catch the film on the BBC iPlayer before its run ends after Sunday May 12. I will post more thoughts and reactions to the film in due course.
Janet Baker - In Her Own Words

Prince, Son and Heir: Charles at 70

November 2018

Ladies and gentlemen. I give you the future King of England.


River City

November 2015
River City

The first of 2 of my episodes of River City goes out tonight on BBC1 Scotland, 8pm. This hilarious episode features fantastic performances from Leah MacRae and Gayle Telfer-Stevens as the McLean sisters.

Her Master's Voice on iTunes

July 2015

The award winning Her Master's Voice is now available on iTunes

Plumhall - Learning How to Talk

July 2015

I've been helping my friends Michelle Plum and Nick Hall put together a video to accompany their superb latest single "Learning How to Talk". Find out more about Plumhall at www.plumhall.co.uk and see the video here

Mezzo Sopranos

April 2015

I have just completed editing a film for the BBC about Mezzo Sopranos, including contributions from Joyce Didonato and Dame Janet Baker. It is due out this summer.

Nina Conti Clowning Around

March 2015
Clowning Around

After 2 years of production, Pika Productions' latest film "Nina Conti Clowning Around" was broadcast on BBC4 to great acclaim.
"an amusing, occasionally heart-rending spectacle" Keith Watson, Metro.
"a funny, sharp documentary" David Butcher, Radio Times.
"a heartbreaking observational documentary" Victoria Segal, The Sunday Times.
"a painfully honest study of what happens when a professional struggles with a new challenge" Jonathan Wright, The Guardian.
"almost unbearably sad.., but toucjingly human too, brave and important" Sam Wollaston, The Guardian.
"a two-year creative and philanthropic journey, with ups, downs and personal croses all captured on camera" Ellen E Jones, The Independent.
"a film that shows the self-exposure and vulnerability of the performer" Ian Johns, The Observer.
"This thoughtful and inspiring film is prime Bafta material" Joe Clay, The Times.

Christmas in Shieldinch

December 2013

You can enjoy my festive offerings from River City this Xmas and New Year. The Christmas Eve episode is a babe in crib story - look out for music from Joni Mitchell. The New Year's Eve episode is a wild and dark tale featuring a striking performance from Nalini Chetti as Zinnie. Details here

Grierson Success

November 2013
Riaz Meer and Nina Conti recieving Grierson Award

Riaz Meer and Nina Conti were presented the prestigious Grierson award for Most Entertaining Documentary by Rebecca Front at the Queen Elizabeth Hall at London's South Bank. Their film, "Nina Conti: A Ventriloquist's Story - Her Master's Voice", is due to be re-shown by BBC4 on November 24.

BAFTA recognition

May 2013
Riaz Meer - Producer, Nina Conti - Director/Producer, Michael O Kelly - Associate Producer.

Her Master's Voice was one of the 4 films nominated for Best Single Documentary at this year's BAFTAs. A huge honour.

Riaz Meer - Producer, Nina Conti - Director/Producer, Michael O Kelly - Associate Producer.

Robson Green

April 2013

I'm currently cutting episode 2 of Robson Green's "How the North was Built" for ITV1.

Super Tuesday

February 2013

Tuesday evening sees me taking over the fringes of the BBC. At 8pm on BBC One Scotland is River City. This tragi-comic episode follows a stormy birthday for "living-doll" Nicole (played by the lovely Holly Jack). Listen out for Radiohead on the soundtrack. Details here.

Straight after at 9pm on BBC4 is my episode of The Sound and Fury, a three part series about the 20th century classical music. Episode 2, Free for All, uses Messian's Quartet for the End of Time as the starting point, and looks at how composers reacted to totalitarianism and the horrors of the 2nd World War. It features Shostakovitch, Copeland, Stockhausen and Ligeti, with contributions from Pierre Boulez, Peter Maxwell Davis, Harrison Birtwistle and Alex Ross. Details here.

Her Master's Voice just misses out

February 2013

Her Master's Voice missed out at the Broadcast Awards on Wednesday when it was beaten to the Best Documentary prize by the BBC2 documentary "7/7 One Day in London". However we are thrilled that we were nominated for such a prestigious award, and amongst such good company. Cardinal Burns

Howard Goodall's Story of Music

February 2013

The first episode has received excellent reviews;
"I can hardly wait for the next installment. It's riveting." Sarah Crompton, The Telegraph
"I woke up thinking I could play the piano after seeing Howard Goodall's Story of Music" Phil Hogan, The Observer
"If I had to choose the TV equivalent of a last meal, high on the list would be Howard Goodall." Jack Seale, Radio Times
"His history was clear, good-humoured, unsnobbish and surprising." Andrew Billen, The Times

"The filming style is appealingly pared down (Goodall presents several sequences from inside a sculptural treble clef) and the musical illustrations rather beautiful." Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent
"Those who know nothing, little or even a fair amount about the story of music would all have enjoyed this. I hope, and am sure it will, encourage many on new journeys of discovery." Martin Cullingford, Gramophone
Be sure to catch Episode 2, on BBC2, Saturday February 2 9.30pm, and featuring a fantastic performance from the Four Seasons by Violin virtuoso Nicola Bernedetti.

Howard Goodall's Story of Music

January 2013

I kid you not, the first episode will attempt to chronicle the development of western music from the stone-age to Monteverdi. Featuring "the Epsilon Factor", "Mad Monks", "Hey Nonny No" and "Margot" - that nice girl from the vineyard. All this and more, BBC2 9.30pm Saturday Jan 26. For a groovy Telegraph preview click here

Her Master's Voice shortlisted in the Broadcast Awards

November 2012

"Nina Conti: A Ventriloquist's Story - Her Master's Voice" has been shortlisted in the Best Documentary category for the 2013 Broadcast Awards. The winners will be announced at a ceremony on January 30. Click here to see the shortlist.

Power in Crimpsea

October 2012

Power In Crimpsea, the latest play by Vicky Meer, will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 at 2.15pm, Friday October 12. The comedy stars Mark Benton as a Mayor who literally plumbs the depths to resurrect his ailing seaside town. Click here for more details.

Her Master's Voice wins again

October 2012

Congratulations to Nina Conti who won the Maverick Movie Best Performance Award for her sublime (and often ridiculous) ventriloquism in Her Master's Voice.

This Is Modern Music

October 2012

I am currently working on an episode of a new music series for BBC4.

River City

September 2012

My two latest episodes of River City are out on September 4 and 11 on BBC One Scotland. There are repeats on each of the following Sundays and the episodes will be on the iPlayer for a week after broadcast. These are two dark, exciting and different episodes of River City featuring excellent performances from Gary Sweeney as Gabriel and Kirsty Strain as Angie. The soundtrack begins with a haunting number from Portico Quartet. Please watch.

Talking Movies

August 2012

BBC News have done a piece on 'Her Master's Voice'. Tom Brooks' Talking Movies reviews the film and includes an interview with Nina Conti at the recent Rooftop Film Festival in New York. Click here to see the report

Her Master's Voice Nomination

August 2012

Her Master's Voice has been nominated for the 2012 Maverick Movie Awards. Nina Conti and myself are nominated in the Best Chronicle category, and Nina Conti is nominated in the Best Performance category. Maverick Movie Awards

Boris Johnson

August 2012

Cassetteboy has spent much time and effort putting together this rather wonderful Olympic introduction, using snippets from our Boris Johnson series, "the Dream of Rome" and "After Rome".

Her Master's Voice Screening

August 2012

Her Master's Voice will have a special screening at the Edinburgh Festival. The screening will be hosted by Arthur Smith, with Nina (and friends?) on hand to answer any questions. The screening is at BBC@Potterrow Corner of Marshall Street and Potterrow, Edinburgh EH8 9BT, on August 8 at 5.45pm. Tickets are free with a 15 year age restriction. For more details and to book visit here

River City

August 2012

My latest episode of River City went out on Tuesday July 31. It will be on the iPlayer until Tue, 7 Aug 2012. Please watch it for a wonderful performance by Maryam Hamidi as Leyla Brodi.

Brazil with Michael Palin

July 2012

Currently cutting the third episode of the forthcoming travelogue, "Brazil with Michael Palin" at StormHD

Her Master's Voice Reviews

June 2012

Some reviews for Her Master's Voice: A Ventriloquist's Story

"wonderfully odd, unpredictable, funny and occasionally desperately touching" AA Gill, The Sunday Times

"Watch it. It will leave you speechless" AA Gill, The Sunday Times

"a singularly affecting piece of television." Jack Seale, Radio Times

"A genuinely astonishing, moving and honest piece" Julia Raeside, The Guardian

"touching, brave, honest, imaginative, self-aware, hilarious." Julia Raeside, The Guardian

"one of the most enjoyable, original, moving and entertaining hours of television I've seen in a long time" Harry Venning, The Stage

"thoughtful, funny and extraordinary" Mike Higgins, The Independent

"Conti's directorial debut provides a brisk, irreverent, deeply personal, and revealing look into the mind of a ventriloquist and proves her voice as a filmmaker is already as clear and accomplished as the one that speaks through her wry, wise alter ego, Monkey." Robert Fairies, Austin Chronicle

"One of the most facinating films of 2012" Tim Miller, Cape Cod Times

SXGlobal Audience Award

March 2012
Riaz Meer

Her Master's Voice has won the SXGlobal Audience Award at the SXSW Film Festival.