Smile while you dial


A few years ago, this type of fly on the wall documentary was all over the TV schedules, but I guess we got bored of them and they’ve mostly been replaced with competitive reality-ish programmes like The Apprentice and Masterchef. The Call Centre is a throwback, but a fun one, at least for one episode. I’m not sure I’ll be tuning in for the whole series.

I love this sort of television for the glimpse it gives of a world that I know nothing about. I’ve never worked in a ‘normal’ office, let alone one like the call centre. It’s set in ‘Swansea’s third-largest call centre’ which is owned (I think) and run by Nev. Nev is one of those people who is a harassment case waiting to happen. He throws things at trainees who yawn while he’s speaking, he’s fired people who don’t join in his communal singing sessions, he parades newly-single admin assistant Kayleigh through the office while soliciting a date for her. But he gets away with it because beneath it all, he does have a good heart, and his employees recognise that. When Hayley fails to meet her sales targets, instead of sacking her, he finds her another job as the office tea lady. When Kayleigh’s still miserable about her cheating ex, he organises a speed dating event and then, when she gets matched with the office lothario, Nev is the one who sees that would be a disaster and instead sets up a date with a much nicer guy for her.

I would not work for Nev for any money.

But if you’re a school-leaver in Swansea without a job, you could do a lot worse. In fact, Nev’s company, ‘Save Britain Money’ was second in the Times’s list of Best Companies to Work For 2013. We saw him interviewing people and being willing to take a chance on some who didn’t stand out. They might not last in Nev’s call centre, but he’ll do what he can to help them.

I don’t think you could write Nev in a book. No one would believe it. But a call centre romance? Well, maybe.