Cameraman based in Edinburgh, employed by ITN, working for ITV's Good Morning Britain covering stories all over the UK and the world. War Zones, World Cups, Royal Tours and many other less exciting assignments, like interviewing current and ex Prime Ministers have kept me busy over the years working in Breakfast Television since GMTV came on the scene back in '93 and regional TV before that. In 2009 I began to record what it is like to work, the often strange and long hours needed to bring the hard news, human interest and fluffy fun to the UK's TV screens in the morning, mostly broadcasting live.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

007 Pops the Question.

10th February 2009

We had been warned and were prepared for the worst the weather might throw at us. Snow was expected. It was with great relief that I looked out the bedroom widow to see nothing more than a light coating of grey slush.

We were going to be based in a little car showroom opposite the hotel. Not just any car showroom, this one was full of new and vintage Aston Martins. There was one silver DB5 identical to the iconic Bond car. I had a quick seat in it. I was very tempted to spin the wheel a bit, thrash through the gears, press an imaginary button on the gear lever to fire the ejector seat and make lots of screeching noises. I restrained myself, mainly because the rest of the crew were around!

We got set up for the first little tease. I had lit the area that the boys from the string quartet were to be in. Up until 15 seconds to going on air it remained a beautifully lit empty space. A tad breathless and sweating a little the guys arrived about 30 seconds to on air. With a flurry of sheet music and rapidly pulling out instruments and erecting music stands they got into position. They were a picture of musical professionalism they launched into the James Bond theme as the gallery in London cut to our shots. Phew, made it, but only just. The location was not the easiest place to find and they had been on a tour of the midlands courtesy of Tom Tom.

Jen the runner was elected to be a “Bond Girl” and serve up a Martini. Yesterday she had to get a dress for the occasion. I’m not sure if Halle Berry got her dresses from New Look. Not much of a budget gap between GMTV and Hollywood.

Neil, dressed as the dapper 007 was going to come out of the Aston to surprise Toni and do the proposal. The problem we had was getting Claire to the cars. She was going to be in the coffee shop about a hundred meters away. So we were going to have to run outside go in through a door, along a narrow corridor and end up at the table she would be sitting at. Getting there would not be a problem because going forwards even at a run with the camera on the shoulder is not too difficult. It was getting back to Neil that would be slightly more testing because I would have to retrace my steps only this time going backwards. That is not quite so easy especially as there is a cable attached to the back of the camera and needs to be kept out of the way to prevent me tripping up a little or worse still falling over. Yijan, Stuart and Dave were going to have make sure that the cable was kept out of my way. Jason would guide me back.

I was a bit nervous because I needed to let them see just how frantic their job would be. We managed to get one quick run through before we had to get out of the way and hide. 

I walked to the table. Jason had a hold of the back of my jacket to steer me through the narrow corridor. Yiljan and co had a hold of the cable. I asked if they were ready. They said yes. Off I went walking backwards. It was not long until I heard the screams  behind me saying stop as all the cable had tangled up. I stopped. We sorted it out and off I went again. This time a painting on the wall flew off as I battered past it. There was no time to have another go at it or we were in danger of being spotted by  Claire.

The next time we did it it would be for real with over 5 million people watching.

In only a few moments we got the stand by. Then it was go go go. Full marks to Jason, Yijan, Stuart and David did a fantastic job. The walk or half run backwards worked perfectly. It is the cameraman that gets the credit for the shot but, on those shots it is the efforts of the people that clear the cable that make it work. The rest of the proposal went equally as well. We got texts and heard from people later in the day to say that they had been in tears because it was so moving.

When we were off air we said congratulations and did the derig. I came back in having put some kit into the car to see Kristian on his hands and knees in his Tuxedo helping to hoover up the confetti. Ah the glamour of TV.

Another happy couple.

Our Bond Girl 

Sucking up!

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