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.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Andy Murray's Tennis Club

Wednesday 1st July

This is turning into a regular event. When Andy Murray is doing well it is time to show his home town showing their support from the very courts where he and Jamie started on the road to tennis greatness.

The Satellite Truck Overlooking the Courts.

I got the call on Tuesday to say that there was a possibility of  a live broadcast from Dunblane.

I was aware of a story about a girl who could be the next generation to follow in Andy’s footsteps facing a fiancial problem.

Emma Devine has been tipped for the top by Tim Henman and has received a lot of help from Judy Murray. She is doing a similar training route to that done by Andy.

Where he went to Europe for specialist training at a special tennis school in Barcelona she is at a similar institution in Brussels.

It cost around £35K a year to pay for it. Until now her family have gone all the way to fund it, making a lot of sacrifices on the way. 

Her dad Kenneth is now facing being made redundant. At 52 it may be a while before he gets another job.

So, with no other funding it looks very likely that Emma will have to return to her normal school in Edinburgh and as a result cut down dramatically on both the amount and quality of her tennis coaching.

Could Scotland be throwing away the chance of having another top ten tennis player?

It was worth asking the question at a time when there’s a potential Wimbledon Champion out there now.

I made a few calls to check out the story and see what Emma’s availability was for being live with us in the morning.

After being in Edinburgh for a short time and a trip to Wimbledon earlier in the tournament she was now back in the Belgian Capital.

That was unfortunate as it would have given an extra news line to the story of Andy Murray's success.

Busy Tennis Courts at 6am.

It was still a bit misty and foggy when Colin, the Sound Recordist and I turned up at 5am.

Today it did look like the sun would break through. For the last few days while the rest of the UK has been enjoying a great heat wave a chunk of Scotland has been shrouded in fog.

Nick Dixon had organised a whole bunch of enthusiastic kids to come down to the tennis courts and do therir stuff for Andy.

They had made special Andy Murray T-shirts, had big flags, both the Scottish Saltire and the Union Flag, and brought along their own face painter.

Most of them also were geared up for a game of tennis.

It is always a surprise to me when a lot of folk, especially teenagers and kids turn up at 6am to join in a broadcast when they could easily be still tucked up in bed for a good few hours now the school holidays have arrived.

Nick Organises the Kids.

We did two main broadcasts and a couple of little teases.

It was all pretty straight forward, but almost not.

Before the first broadcast we knew that there were two elements to the Andy Murray Wimbledon story.

Our live from Dunblane would be first followed by one from Johnathan Swain at Wimbledon with the queue of fans outside keen to get good seats.

Just as we were about to go on air the Producer told us over the programme sound feed that we had one minute for our live, which was what we expected.

I then heard over the open gallery talkback him tell Johnathan that he had one and a half minutes.

I said to Nick in mock annoyance, “They’re giving Johnathan thirty seconds more than us!”

“At six o’clock I was told we had nothing. So at least we’re on.” Nick replied.

The next thing it was......


Cue Nick.

We were off.

Nick did his intro’ and chatted to some of the fans and handed to Wimbledon. It was all very quick.

At that point I heard over the gallery talkback Eron the Director say “We’ve lost Wimbledon!”

He then immediately keyed to us over programme sound to ask if they could come back to us.

Nick said yes and I nodded the camera.

Eron told John Stapleton the Presenter in the GMTV Studio to throw back to us.

He did and off we went for about another minute.

From thirty seconds more to nothing at all. 

There had been a problem with the link from Wimbledon to GMTV.

Our next broadcast at ten past eight went off as planned.

The people that run the Dunblane Sports Centre were, as ever very hospitable giving us cups of tea;and coffee along with toast and rather good home made jam and marmalade.

The Toast Goes On!!

I hope we will be there next year routing for the Defending Champion!

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