Producer Frazer Yorke: The U.K. U.S. Connection

Hollywood has long been the destination for those who dream of something more grand for a career in entertainment, even for those highly accomplished elsewhere. Frazer Yorke had established himself as one of the premier television producers in his UK homeland. With work than included tenure on the BAFTA Winning comedy game show Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, Celebrity Squares with host Warwick Davis (known for his work in the Harry Potter series, Willow, and Oscar winning film Ray), and others, Frazer was acclaimed for his ability to create unique comedic moments for British TV. The same drive which fueled his success recalibrated his sights, setting them upon the opportunities in America. There has always been a kinship between the two countries and television displays a similar relationship. Currently working with American networks who are gaining the benefit of his talent and insight, Yorke concedes that there are differences stating, “One of the biggest challenges about adapting to working as a casting producer in America is being understood, I honestly didn’t think I had an accent until I moved here. But overall I’ve found that the television industry isn’t so different it’s still just about hard work, being able to adapt & being able to be creative even when you might be feeling at your most creative!”

  Perhaps the best and worst thing about Hollywood is that it doesn’t care what you’ve achieved before you arrive in tinseltown. In Great Britain, the television show 8 Out Of 10 Cat’s Does Countdown airs on Channel 4 with an average audience of two million viewers and has been nominated for two British Comedy Awards. Host Jimmy Carr is as beloved as the Jimmy’s (Fallon and Kimmel) of American television. As a producer for 8 Out Of 10 Cat’s Does Countdown, Frazer led the team which was responsible for the most frenetic and comedy fuelled moments of the show, the iconic Countdown clock. This pivotal 30 second scene of each episode would feature Carr doing absurdly creative things in what proved to be a fan favorite feature. Responsible for every aspect ranging from wardrobe, make up, special effects operators, stunt performers, to choreographers even circus performers, Frazer’s strongest attribute was his ability to ensure that all of this aligned with Jimmy’s comedy style. Yorke’s era on the show created moments as memorable as they were diverse. From Gospel choirs and reindeers to acrobatic basketball dunking and the manifestation of an ice skating rink with skaters, the bigger the challenge the more interesting it felt to Frazer. 

  It’s hard to think of reality TV without mentioning The Apprentice. The show has literally been transformative for the world in a number of ways. In 2017 and 2018, Frazer was a producer for the UK’s The Apprentice: You’re Fired. Neither country’s version of this series is known as a comedy; it was for this reason that Frazer enlisted to add some refreshing levity. Producing a series of comedy clips starring the candidates from the show, Yorke poked fun in a good natured but self-aware manner that become immensely popular by the show’s viewing audience as well as widely shared on social media. In doing so, Frazer once more displayed that one of his greatest strengths as a producer is understanding the tone of a show and building something unique upon it. Recognizing that uniqueness in others is what prompted one of the most recognized names in television to bring him aboard. Yorke relates, “One of my strengths is casting the perfect person for whatever project that I’m working on, I’m naturally a curious person so casting in a new country didn’t even seem like a challenge, it’s more of an exciting opportunity. I’ve been working on the highest rated MTV show for the past year and a half as a casting producer, bringing an international perspective to the casting process.” A producer is not the vocation you embark on when looking for attention or accolades. An exceptional producer is someone who makes others look extraordinary. This philosophy sits well with Frazer Yorke who states, “The best thing about being a producer is having something tangible at the end of a lot of hard work. When you’re tired from a shoot and sitting in the office late at night, you can sit back and watch everything in its final form and be so satisfied.”

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