Searching for the next big thing in Chinese odyssey

Gemma Nightingale and Pete Ogden, with Ant and Dec when they worked on Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway. BELOW: Pete Ogden with his translator Sisi.

Gemma Nightingale and Pete Ogden, with Ant and Dec when they worked on Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway. BELOW: Pete Ogden with his translator Sisi.

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If you sat Carleton lad Pete Ogden down as a child and asked where he thought he’d end up in life, it’s very doubtful he’d have replied ‘well, the Chinese version of X-Factor would be quite nice’.

That, though, is exactly what the 33-year-old is doing.

Pete Ogden with his translator Sisi.

Pete Ogden with his translator Sisi.

Last month he flew out to Changsha - one of the smaller cities in China (only the seven million inhabitants...) - and is in the midst of an eight-week stay to help make X-Factor a TV hit in the Far East.

Pete, who went to Blackpool Sixth Form College before getting into TV and becoming a producer, worked on three series of X-Factor in England and the first series of the American show.

“Because of my experience I was asked to come and help with the Chinese version so I thought ‘why not?’” he said.

“Basically I am advising them on the best way to edit the show and how to film it.

“They employ a translator for me, so I have someone with me the whole time who can translate.

“It is interesting watching something in another language, and then giving notes and changes to people who don’t speak the same language. Everything takes twice as long.”

There are two shows going out on Friday and Saturdays until the end of June, with viewing figures already high.

It’s not easy work though. “People graft hard here, they start early afternoon and often finish when the sun comes up,” explained Pete.

“I worked 19 hour days the first fortnight I was here. It was tough but we got through it. Since then it’s got calmer.

“I’m staying in a hotel just next to the TV station, so on the days I’m working I go to the gym in the morning, work until around 11pm, watch a DVD ... then do it all again. Luckily I had the foresight to bring out a lot of box sets with me!”

Pete’s stay in China lasts till the middle of June before he returns to Blackpool. “I’ll see the family for a few days, then I’m heading to London to start on the next series of Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway,” he added.

“I’ll miss the food in China though - lots of pork, beef, rice and noodles, it’s terrific.”

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