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.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

The Morning After

Thursday 28th May

It felt as if I had just fallen asleep when the alarm went off. I felt like that because I had just fallen asleep. 

It is not often that I would like to have anything to do with Maggie Thatcher but I really wish I could be like her and operate with a tiny bit of sleep.

So it was feeling pretty knackered I went with Emily and Ben back to the Colosseum. 

We arrived to find the satellite truck with stuff strewn all around it and Colin looking a bit stressed.

Colin trying to workout how to solve the problem.

He gave us the bad news. The generator that provided the power for the truck was not working.

The ideal thing would be to take power from a nearby mains source. The problem with that was that all the possibilities would involve the cable going across a pretty busy road.

In these days of Health and Safety paranoia there was no way that was a goer.

The BBC had offered to help but their truck did not have the spare capacity.

The little generator brought for any lighting was just too small and instantly tripped out when the dish was powered up.

It was all looking pretty bad. Along with the Manchester united team and their fans it looked like we would be going home without doing the full job.

Ian, the Programme Organiser in London was making frantic calls, waking up lots of people in Rome from other companies that had satellite dishes in town to see if we could use any of their trucks.

He was having no joy and it was getting near to transmission time.

Colin was raking around all the little cupboards, drawers and spaces where he might find bits and pieces to repair the fault.

Scrabbling about to try and find a solution.

He gave a tentative shout for joy as there was a chance that something might just work.

He set to work, his hands were a blur of action as he fiddled and  screwed things faster than George Best on acid.

A cough and a splutter heralded the welcome quiet confident purr of the generator.

The generator kicks in and Ben and Emily go over scripts as Colin calls London.

Were we going to get on air?

Our slot was right at the start of the programme.

It was now very very close.

The satellite dish still had to lock on to the satellite 32 000 kilometres above us in space. That could easily take at least 10 minutes.

We did not have that long.

I got the talkback ready so that Colin would have one less job.

The very cool and calm Scottish tones of Doug the Technical Director in the Studio came on saying, “Seeing you. Just checking talkback to Rome. One minute to air.”

Ben and I got ready.

The titles rolled. 

The music played. 

The presenters in London did their quick openers.  

The Director cued Ben.

The viewers would have been totally unaware of the stress that had gone before Ben’s relaxed piece to camera.

Unlike the pleasant and courteous pundit that we had yesterday in the form of Henry Winter. The crusty faced arrogant vision of another football writer, Brian Walno approached.

He is the antithesis of Henry. 

As a supposedly good writer he seems to have the complete lack of a vocabulary containing any words of common courtesy.

Well, that is of course unless you happen to be a Presenter, journalist, footballer or someone that will provide him with a fee.

Most of  inhabit a planet that orbits the sun and is populated by millions of people. We are fortunate come into contact with some of them.

He is one of those people that believes he is at the centre of a universe with planets only populated by people useful to him. They are blind to any others.

I put a microphone on him and got him wired up with talkback. His only words to me were a few moments later. 

He barked, “Where’s the volume on this?”.

I showed him.

No thank you or acknowledgement was forthcoming.

Having said all that he’s not too bad on air.

David Davis and Kevin Miles made a return appearance giving their take on yesterday’s events.

It was not surprising that no fans were keen to make the journey early this morning to see us.

Once we were off air Ben dashed off in a taxi to the airport to catch a flight home. He would have to rush to get there in time.

Given the experience of the local taxi drivers he would have a good chance of getting there.

Emily, Elaine and I went back to the hotel to pack for our later flights home after we had derigged and said a big thank you to Colin for getting us on air.

On the way from the hotel to the airport with not a lot of time to spare to catch the flights I remembered not seeing one of the cases that Emily had to take back to London.

The porters at the hotel had not brought it out from the room they had stored our kit in whilst we waited for the airport transport after checking out.

We had to get back to the hotel to pick up the box.

At the airport we checked in and after a bit of stress about my excess baggage not being paid Emily and I dashed to security. Elaine had gone to get her flight from the other terminal.

The queue was huge and not moving slowly. It was getting tight to catch my flight. There was another set of security at the other end of the terminal.

Chris Hollins from the BBC was just behind us as we joined the queue. He went with his producer to check out the other security section.

They called to say it was much shorter over there. Emily and I hurried over.

We cleared security quickly and made the long journey through the terminal to the gate. We went past lots of interesting looking shops.

I would have loved to have had the time to stop and get a gift for my wife, but no chance.

The flight had started boarding as I arrived at the gate.

That flight and the flight back up to Edinburgh were both very busy.

I got home at just after midnight Rome time. I was somewhat shattered.

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