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.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Live interview with Gordon Brown.

Wednesday 30th September 

“We’ve lost John’s sound!” 

Simon the sound recordist looked bemused.

The sound was alright according to his equipment. The needles were waving around like demented windscreen wipers.

Things were not off to a good start on this of all mornings.

Everything had been perfect until we went on air.

GMTV in London cut away from us to allow us to find the problem.

In a flurry of activity cables, cable joints and batteries were checked.

The sound came good but not as a result of any of the things a manic David the production manager and Simon did. It just suddenly worked again.

The morning the Prime Minister was due to give his first TV interview after his speech at the final conference before an election and when the biggest selling newspaper in the country had decided to switch allegiance was not the ideal time to have a difficult to find technical fault.

The next broadcasts with John Stapleton on the sofa and Gloria De Piero out in the early morning darkness went without a hitch.

TV Presenters dream. The set in a bar!

Caroline the producer goes through the papers in the midst of technical kit.......

........John does it in more comfort.

Nice bit of cut glass.

Check that connection Dave!

Gloria in the dark and cold.

The Sun on the GMTV set might be on the BBC later.

Simon gets the good job when Emma arrives!

We waited for the main man to appear.

A Special Branch officer had been hovering around our improvised studio in the bar of the Metropole hotel for most of the morning.

He was joined by several of his colleagues as they suddenly appeared from nowhere escorting Gordon Brown over to the set.

He sat down with Emma Crosby and John commenting that the sofa was a bit low, whilst Jon on sound clipped the microphone on.

Let’s blame the Swedish designers.

"You Keep Him Talking. I'll Go Through His Pockets!"

On Air in a Moment.

It was a three camera broadcast. Two cameras on either side doing close ups and a wide shot camera in the middle.

I was doing the middle camera.

My first shot was a close up of the front page of the Sun. 

I would do that from a tripod. The plan that Erron the director and I had was that after that shot I would do various hand held wide shots.

Emma started her intro talking about the Sun now not supporting Labour in the next election.

She held the newspaper up towards my camera.

Erron took the shot.

She started the interview.

I slipped the camera off the tripod and went round to the right.

Erron took the wide shot.

I moved round to my right.

The viewfinder went dark.

“We’ve lost three!” came the cry from the truck.

“Think I don’t know.” I thought as I quickly checked the connection of the camera cable.

I made sure that it was pushed well in.

The viewfinder sparked back into life.

Echoing my thoughts Erron said, “Let’s play safe.”

I placed the camera back on to the tripod.

I gently pushed it along the guideways to lock it in position.

I did it as slowly a gently as I could to minimise the noise of the click as it locked in position.

Obviously I didn’t do it gently enough.

I winced as the loud sharp click reverberated around the large room.

The Prime Minister carried on talking.

None of the Special Branch chaps were reaching for there guns.

The only person that appeared to notice was Emma. She quickly turned her head in the direction of the sound.

There was no comment from Erron the director.

He used a few more wide shots and then it was all over.

Mr Brown took off his microphone, stood up, said good-bye to Emma and John and disappeared in a shroud of security and advisors.

We all then relaxed and waited on standby for any other unscheduled broadcasts.

All of us except Gloria and Nic on camera one who went back outside.

At least it wasn’t dark now.

Still Out in the Cold Gloria?

We had to wait until the GMTV programme was off air before we could go and indulge ourselves in a hearty breakfast.

John Critiques the Papers as He Waits to go to Breakfast.....

......So do the Crew.

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