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.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Gorilla Seeks Mate in Cardiff

9th February 2009

We did not need to be on location until 6am. For us in breakfast TV that meant a lay in until 5am. Yahoo!

Ollie with the sat truck was all parked up and ready for action when we rolled up. There was a bit of discussion about where we were going to do our couple of little tease shots before the main event, the proposal. Behind the building we were going to be going into was a pretty park area. 

“Great, that’s that sorted then.” we thought.

 When our string quartet turned up all dressed up in their white tuxedos carrying musical cases looking a bit like extras in a gangster movie they drilled that idea full of holes. The light drizzle that typifies a wet morning in Cardiff was too much for their very precious instruments. Fortunately there was a very picturesque car park we could use. Well it was about as picturesque as a covered car park with fluorescent lights can be. So not very really!

Car Park Heaven.

Kristian, our presenter had already done a lot of TV and obviously knew what he was about. However, I did perceive a little bit of nervous energy kicking around. Then he said that this was going to be his first time “going live”. A wet car park on a driech, dark morning in Cardiff was the place he was going to lose his live TV virginity. He was appropriately dressed in a bright red velvet suit.

We rehearsed the first little one minute tease making sure that the props came in at the right time and that the musicians knew their cue. Then did it for real. It went off without a hitch, just looking a tiny bit bizarre, as do a lot of things we so on GMTV.

Inside the office that the unsuspecting girlfriend was in the secret camera was now working. So as well as our musical interlude outside  in the rain the nation saw Una at her desk.

We had one more similar tease to do just before the main event. It was getting to that awkward time in the morning for cameramen. The daylight was coming up and the colour temperature was changing rapidly. Could I go with a tungsten colour balance on the lights of should I go daylight. I went daylight and it looked OK. Well at least no one in the gallery on London was screaming that the colours were all wrong.

Then we all dashed round to the entrance of the building dragging cables with us and quickly putting lights out of the way.

Christian the potential groom, if all went well appeared in his outfit. We did a very quick rehearsal of the start of the item and then it would just happen. He started off with the gorilla suit covered up and then put the head on just as we were about to go in. He was well up for it and was taking all the TV madness in his stride, but to be fair he was being pretty mad himself. There are not many guys that would dress up as a gorilla, sing a song and propose to their girlfriend all at the same time. What’s more do it live on TV for 5 or 6 million people to see.

The PAs voice was counting out of the commercial break. There was only 10 seconds to us and the tension was mounting. Would we get into the office without tripping up over steps and cables?  Would she be surprised? Would the quartet pick up their cue? Would Christian sing in key? Would she say yes?

Apart from Christian singing in key it all went according to plan. Kristian deftly introduced the madman in the gorilla suit and lead us into the room. I managed to get in without toppling down any stairs or battering off the sides of doors. Una was thankfully very surprised with the whole thing. Her reaction was great and to top it all she said yes. At the point she said yes there was a bang accompanied by loads and loads of confetti being fired. Unfortunately the viewers didn’t see any of it because it all floated down behind the camera. I hope the office has a powerful vacuum cleaner.

Once we came off air we said our congratulations and got our gear out as quickly as possible because there were people in a neighbouring office getting very upset that we were in the car park and told us in no uncertain terms to get out stuff out. Poor Jason the sound recordist took the brunt of it from a very scary lady.

The Happy Couple

The Crew and The Band!!

Off to the hotel for some breakfast and on to the next location that is too far away.

1 comment:

  1. Your a massive twit Borussia, definitely init4themoney, ;)