Even on holiday there’s no escape in this world of mass communication Maybe I should have left the Blackberry at home, but then I would have missed out on a morning of stressful running around.
I was enjoying the sights and expense of Rome with my wife and eldest son. We got back to the hotel after a day in the Eternal City.
I had an e-mail from the GMTV office asking about possible locations in Edinburgh where a live broadcast with the Proclaimers could be done.
I gave some suggestions and offered to do the broadcast even although I would strictly speaking still be on leave but back in Edinburgh
So a week later I found myself on the shore at Leith in holiday mood prepared to do a nice easy couple of down the line live broadcasts with Charlie and Craig Reid, The Proclaimers.
The sun was not quite shining but at least there was no sign of the rain the deluged the city yesterday.
Andrew the satellite engineer was getting the truck ready.
Colin the sound recordist and I were thinking about getting our kit organised. There was still ages until the broadcast.
I chatted with Colin and Michelle regaling them with stories of expensive bottled water and extortionately priced breakfasts in Rome.
I noticed that Andrew was looking slightly concerned but not too stressed about something.
I asked if there was a problem.
The Amps for the satellite transmission would not power up.
He was fiddling with cables and buttons trying to get it all up and running.
There was no need to get to stressed at this stage there was still plenty of time.
As he carried on we checked out the boat that Minty from the Cities and Culture Department had organised as our location.
Things were not looking good on the satellite technical front. We needed to think about an alternative if there was one.
The only option was the STV studio or roof top position in the centre of Edinburgh.
I called the main office in Glasgow to discover that there would be no technical types in their Master Control Room until 7:30am.
It was now a bit after 6:30am. Our first broadcast was due at 7:20am
Charlie and Craig along with their manager had just arrived.
Michelle broke the possible bad news.
They took the news without jumping around or throwing a fit.
After a chat with the security lady at STV in Glasgow and Ian the Programme Organiser at GMTV in London we decided that if we got to STV in Edinburgh in time and set up, as soon as the guys from MCR came in they could switch our pictures out to London.
The time for the broadcast was put back a few minutes to give us a bit more time to get into town.
We leapt into my car. The boys stayed in their taxi. We said a quick good-bye to Minty and Andrew, who was still busy talking on the phone and doing some kind of engineering sorcery.
We were approaching STV with the clock ticking towards 7:15am.
It was going to be touch and go just getting set up in time never mind hoping that MCR in Glasgow got the message and the guys did not go for a leisurely coffee as the came into the building.
Colin and I formulated a plan to rigs as quickly as possible.
Michelle’s phone rang. It was Ian in London to day that the truck was now up and running.
If we turned round now there was a better chance of getting on air than hoping all the things at an unsuspecting STV.
I spun the car round. The boys had just arrived at the STV door. Michelle jumped out and got them back in a taxi.
In rather quick time we got to the boat.
Colin and I were a fury of activity pulling out the camera, rigging the tripod and getting the sound mixer ready.
Michelle pulled up with Craig and Charlie.
She said,”Can we be ready in two minutes?”
We nodded and at the same time rather unceremoniously started sticking earpieces in the lads ears and making sure they could hear the programme.
In the ear I use to listen to the gallery talkback I could hear the Senior Producer’s voice.
She was on the phone to Michelle.
We had missed the broadcast time by a few seconds.
We were all rather disappointed that after all the dashing around we’d not succeeded.
The brothers were not upset and realised that these things happen on live telly.
There was another broadcast due but not for about an hour and a half at 9:10am.
That was consolation because it would give us time to destress a bit and have a nice breakfast at the nearby Mal Maison hotel.
We derigged the kit and went into the dinning room.
It was great to have the time to come down with more than an hour before the next transmission.
Over some nice bacon and eggs, and tangy orange juice we relaxed a little as our blood pressure came down and the colour returned to Andrew’s cheeks.
We were munching on our very tasty toast when Michelle’s phone rang.
She pressed answer and we heard her say, “I thought you did not want the next one until ten past nine.”
I knew instantly what was coming and got up out of my seat.
The time had been brought forward by thirty five minutes.
Michelle stopped the bespectacled pair in mid tea gulp and got them to come outside where Colin, Andrew and I were getting the kit rerigged.
This time there was not such a rush but enough to get the adrenaline flowing again.
Craig and Charlie had the earpieces in and Dougie the technical director and fellow Scot asked them for sound levels.
In true musician style they both intoned, “this is Charlie and Craig in Leith. One two. One two. One two.”
“Thanks.” said Dougie.
A few moments later they were on air chatting to Penny Smith.
The little interview went well as they helped launch GMTV’s X Factor style search for Britain’s number one talented family.
When it was finished we apologised for all the mucking about this morning. The lads took it all with good humour.
It was a real pleasure to meet and work with them. A pair of top guys, professional and totally down to earth.