Top BBC designer works from Knaresborough shed!

Little can millions of viewers realise when the credits roll for the start of BBC’s Question Time with Fiona Bruce that they were designed not in a flash London studio but in a small shed in Knaresborough.

By Graham Chalmers
Friday, 22nd March 2019, 3:53 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd March 2019, 3:58 pm
Versatile creative art director Andy Cole outside his shed in Knaresborough with his dog Toby.
Versatile creative art director Andy Cole outside his shed in Knaresborough with his dog Toby.

Located in the back garden of a normal residential street, local man Andy Cole’s wooden 18x20ft ‘man cave’ with its blue-grey slats and orange blinds looks ordinary enough.

But, inside, he runs his highly successful Exit Studios which is responsible for the on-screen graphics and creative direction for the live set designs and broadcasts on not only Question Time but other BBC discussions shows such as The Big Questions, as well as many election specials and referendum debates.

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And this talented creative art director does it all with a laptop, a cup of coffee and his crossbreed greyhound Toby by his side while the birds chirrup outside.

Andy, who lives with his Harrogate-raised wife Lucy Cole, who works for Infinity & Co Jewellery, Allerton Castle, and his daughter who goes to King James’s School in Knaresborough, said the digital age meant it was possible to do nationally-important jobs in the humblest of surroundings.

Andy said: “The Question Time set design was created here in-house using Adobe Creative Suite, After Effects Pro, Illustrator and Logic Pro. I wanted them to feel organic and warm.

“I work remotely for production company Mentorn Media in London and BBC Scotland in Glasgow.

“I upload a four gigabyte animation overnight. It isn’t a problem in this day-and-age.”

These days Andy also spends a lot of time on community projects, including Knaresborough hairdressers Kelly Teggin, Harrogate’s Turkish Baths, Knaresborough Chamber of Trade creating the designs for the Knaresborough town maps.

A man for all seasons, As a music producer and DJ, Andy is better known as Luv*Jam, playing major venues in the United States.

He is also a public speaker and has also taught at the likes of Chelsea School of Art & Design and York St John’s University.

He even runs a couple of his own record labels from the shed, including Blind Jacks Journey and Crow Castle Cuts.

This year Andy is celebrating 20 years in the busines and a total of 1,000 projects.

His big break came a long time ago as a youngster on Channel 4’s The Big Breakfast in the late 1990s with presenters Denise Van Outen and Johnny Vaughan.

Andy said: “I did work experience on the set of The Big Breakfast show after winning a competition at the University of Salford School of Arts & Media.

“I moved to London and went on to work on the very first Big Brother series, where I was creative director, creating those famous big eye idents.

“It was such an exciting time, there was such a great buzz. I’m still good friends with a lot of those people now.”