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.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Festival Mayhem in the Castle

Thursday 5th August

A Great Place to See a Sunrise.

Yesterday had been busy for Nick the reporter. He was organising a host of guests to get up early for this morning’s programme.

I had been busy doing a recce at our location in Edinburgh Castle and getting a wide angle lens.

Making sure that we could get a satellite signal from the area we wanted to do our live broadcasts was important. I knew that there were not many areas in the castle that would be suitable.

By late afternoon I was happy with the technical things and Nick was happy that we had enough guests.

I was slightly disappointed as I drove across the Esplanade towards the castle and the security chaps directed me to drive over the drawbridge and through the main gate.

One of the most interesting and exciting things about going to the castle is going through the tunnel that cuts through the castle rock bringing you out near the heart of the castle.

It feels like you are driving into the criminal mastermind’s headquarters in a James Bond movie.

We did get to use it on the way out.

Going Through the Tunnel.

The day was perfect with a beautiful sunrise over Calton Hill to the east of my beautiful city.

We could not get into the castle until 6am, an hour after we would have ideally been in. So Nick had arranged with GMTV in London that our first broadcast would be at the earliest 6:50.

We had just started to rig and a few of the guests had started to arrive when we got a phone call to ask if it would be possible to be ready for a broadcast at 6:20.

We said we’d try our best but no promises.

We then went into overdrive to get our techie stuff sorted.

Alongside doing that we had to choreograph our growing cast.

We had: Tao the Japanese drummers, The Sowetto Gospel Choir, The A-Team The Musical, Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson, a one man puppet theatre, Jeff Norcott a stand up comic, Philip Escoffy a mind reader, two rappers, the Roald Dahl story tellers, the head of Homecoming Scotland, a couple of other fringe acts and not forgetting Yasmin the belly dancer(by night).

Nick and I ran around getting them all in position and working out how we would do the broadcasts.

Yasmin the Climate Change Scientist!!

Japanese Drummers Warm Up Rehearsal.

Japanese Drummers High Kicking Rehearsal.

There was a bit of waiting around....but not much.

The main thing that had to be done was get all the performance down to a taster size of between fifteen and thirty seconds.

They then had work out what to do and have a bit of a rehearsal.

Things became a bit of a blur then suddenly we were on air.

The staff from the various organisations were very helpful and went out of their way to help at a really busy time in the castle.

During the day the place is absolutly rammed full of fascinated tourists.

So around our on air time there were loads and loads of deliveries being made.

Just before the final broadcast there were a few trucks and vans dropping off supplies for the cafe and they were doing it right smack bang in the back of my shot.

It looked like they would be done quite quickly. Well all except one. The delivery men had two operating speeds, very slow and totally stagnant.

Rebecca from Historic Scotland tried in her best gentle cajoling manner to hurry them up. 

If they move up a gear it would only have been noticeable on time lapse photography.

The van was still reversing away when we went on air.

From arriving until almost the time that GMTV finished at 9:25 we did not stop.

There were little teases, live shots and weather shots as well as the main performance broadcasts.

Nick did his chat, the drummers drummed in spectacular fashion, the choir sang beautifully, the A-Team burst in, Jeff did a few gags,  the sock puppets socked it to us, Sherlock deduced, the mind reader genuinely read Nick’s mind, little kids stood transfixed to the Roald Dahl stories, the rappers ripped GMTV apart, and Yasmin kept all the boys happy with her exotic moves.

The Sowetto Gospel Choir Play Us Out.

Colin the sound recordist and I were amazed that neither of us tripped over the cable on our scurry around.

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