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, 7 April 2009

Day Three in Jamaica

Monday 6th April 2009

In the post dawn glow of the rising sun 12 sets of bleary eyes got on to the little bus to take us to the little local fishing port in Ocho Reos over an hour and a half away.

The backdrop for the tiny beach where the small fishing boats landed was one of the many huge cruise liners that dock and disgorge hundreds of tourists most of whom never go near this place. We arrived and met Lobster Dave. Under his rather faded red baseball cap were dark wide eyes and an understated smile. The shack that housed his shop and restaurant was covered in bright coulers that were as faded as his hat. He produced some fresh lobster for Amanda to talk about. A couple of small fishing boats came to the shore and were heaved on to the beach. All the guys that were slowly wandering around in a lazy sweet smelling haze came to help drag the boats ashore. There were a few fish onboard that were eagerly awaited by a few locals. The fish, many still flapping were weighed and sold straight from the boat. 

Around the corner Ian the GMTV web producer was doing some recording with Dr Hilary. He was doing an A to Z of ailments. At that point they were at D. It was rather sureal that in the midst of ganga smoking fishermen the good Dr was talking into the mic about drug abuse!

Dr Hilary on D.

After we had filmed the lobster gutting and cooking process the bits of lobster had either be cooked or thrown away. It would not have been right to throw them away. Delicious spicy garlic lobster for breakfast is highly recommended.

Michael from The Jamaican Tourist board, Nigel the sound Recordist, and Dr Hilary make sure the props don't go to waste.

We met the multicoloured Mr Motivator at Dunns River Falls. The plan was for me to film various pieces to camera with the Oliver family, (Maria, Tracy, Jack and Ben), Mr Motivator, Amanda Ursell and Dr Hilary. Then I would film a Mr Motivator workout.

I knew from being at the bottom of the falls before that there was no power supply down there. Chantal the Producer had been on a reece yesterday and confirmed it. We needed power for the PA system so that Mr M could do his workout to music. The people at the falls had said that they could arrange for a very very long mains cable to be brought to the beach at the bottom of the falls. As promised there was a cable and lots of sockets to plug into where we wanted it. However, when the guys who were providing us with the PA plugged it in there were no glowing lights on there kit and a stubborn silence from the speaker.

A bewildered Spark and a lonely silent speaker.

There was a lot of head scratching. An electrician wandered about sticking the ends of a meter into various orifaces looking puzzled as he did it. We spent ages and ages as the guys rushed about, Jamaican style, trying to figure it out. It was taking so long and we had a tight schedule that the executive decision was taken to do the workouts at another location and just get the pieces to camera done.

We did them as quickly as we could and went to the next location where to go biking. The time was now so tight there was no time to stop for lunch. At “Juicy Pasties” we got shrimp, chicken and beef pasties to eat on the bus enroute into the hills.

The bus bounced and twisted its way up two thousand feet up to the top of the rain forrest covered hills. As quickly as we could Michelle, the Producer and I organised the filming of Dr Hilaary and the family having a go at riding mountain bikes. 

The next thing on the shooting schedule was for them to have a go at horse riding but we had run out of time. We climbed aboard the bus bleary eyed from the sun and exertion this time and headed back to the hotel.

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