Tuesday 11th August
We had all the technical bits and pieces set up without any problems well before the time of our broadcasts.
It was a little before 7 am. There was around fifteen minutes to go before we were due to go on air.
We were on the canal side of the International Convention Centre in Birmingham.
Ian the producer and I looked around at the small group of contestants and wondered why there were so many less than had turned up at all the other locations.
We were trying to work out how to make the ten people that were standing around look like a crowd.
It was not going to be an easy job. Ian was mystified because there should have been lots of budding superstars turning up.
The transmission time was creeping up pretty fast.
Things were not looking too good.
Like the cavalry riding to the rescue over the horizon marching over the canal bridge leading to the ICC entrance was a long line of singing saviours.
We had our crowd and we were pleased that it was a pretty big one for seven o’clock in the morning.
We did the little teases, live shots and broadcast in to the seven o’clock hour. It was a bit of a scramble but they went off without any hitches.
The hopefuls then went off into the ICC to go through the registration process.
The Big Crowd.
The Web team on the Bridge.
Jeff Gets Close to Clare with the Coffee.
Ian and I got our heads together again to workout what we could do for the next broadcasts in the eight o’clock hour.
There was over an hour to wait before we were back on telly.
We had worked out scenarios using the picturesque bridge, the barges on the canal and the entrance to the convention centre.
There were a few minutes to go before the next thing, a little tease.
Ian went inside to start getting the people to come out.
I positioned the group of cute little singers we were going to be hearing and briefed Jeff on what we planned to do.
I heard the PA in the gallery say that there was three minutes until we were on air.
In front of me there were about twenty people, far fewer than should have been around.
Ian came out saying that there were still people inside but they were reluctant to come out.
We had to use the little group we had as a few more wandered out as Jeff was cued.
It did not look as bad as we thought it might.
There was still enough time to get the rest of the crowd in position for the main broadcast.
Then we realised that we had everyone that was around beside us.
There were about half the number that had been with us for the first broadcasts.
The plan we had would not work with this amount of people.
Where had they gone?
It hit Ian and I at the same time. Those that had done their registration and were given a time later in the day had sneaked off.
The locals had probably gone home for breakfast and those who had travelled had sloped off to find a nearby cafe.
We had to change things and use the somewhat smaller group in a more compact way, but still make as much of the location as possible.
The introduction to some of the little teases started of with our location being in small boxes on the screen alongside broadcasts with Keith Chegwin and Richard Arnold.
This meant that for all the time that for what seems like a short time, a minute or so Jeff and the crowd would need to be waving because they’d either be in the screen or just about to go on with hardly any warning.
It may not be a long time but waving for more than a few seconds is actually quite tiring.
Did the Web Team pick these Interviewees or did Jeff?
They'll be in The Birmingham Mail as well as on Telly.
I called the GMTV office in London once we had finally come off air to see if there were any plans for me.
Carol the programme organiser told me that that there were two possibilities, a live broadcast in Glasgow and a shoot in Argyle.
I was assigned the live broadcast in Glasgow.
I set off up the M6 heading for home.
I was around the Manchester area when Carol called to update me by telling me that the live bracts was now not happening and I would be needed for the shoot.
I was just getting close to the outskirts of Edinburgh when Carol’s voice came out the hands free speaker to tell me that the shoot had also been cancelled.