Wednesday 10th February
I got my kit out the boot of the Peugeot Estate hire car in the Granada TV car park.
The bitter wind was making the snow swirl around me stinging my cheeks and hands.
It was one of those strange days when the sky was mainly blue with a bright winter sun yet their were a few maverick clouds chucking out needles of ice.
I was keen to get inside the building as soon as I could.
The warmth of the welcome from the Irish lady on reception helped me shake off the effects of the cold.
Elaine Wilcox was doing a background report on the horrific story of a woman who was on trial for allegedly starving her daughter to death.
We were doing an interview with a chap from the British Association of Social Workers.
Granada had allowed us to use a room just off their newsroom for the interview.
I was pleased to see that it had enough daylight coming in nice and softly that I would not need to put up any lights.
I got set up as our interviewee gave Elaine some background information.
One of the issues that might be at the heart of the case was that the little girl and her siblings had been taken out of school for home schooling and there were questions to be asked about the checks made on children in these circumstances.
In a nut shell what Elaine had asked in a telephone conversation with this chap and his boss was if the powers that currently existed were enough to allow Education Welfare Officers be able to call on and see home tutored children at any time.
On the phone she had been told no they were not.
However, no matter how she tried to illicit this answer from our man he would not come up with the goods.
I have seldom heard anyone use so many words and take so long to say virtually nothing.
I felt Elaine’s frustration as she struggled in vain to get any kind of usable sound bite let alone the one that she had been lead to believe she would get.
When the interview came to an unsatisfactory end I am sure it was a wry smile that played over his face when he said to Elaine,”you didn’t get the sound bite you wanted”.
In sensitive cases there is a great reluctance for people to say things in case they up set some one or some organisation or other. That’s just understandable.
However, when a reporter asks and get told that they will get a certain thing in an interview and then it is not forthcoming it can be rather annoying.
During the interview one of the Granada news reporters stuck his nose against the little widow in the door of the room.
This was a room that is often used for interviews for the Granada nightly local news programme, because we were doing our one there he, the Granada cameraman and their interviewee were unable to come in.
They had to brave the sunny chill on a balcony outside to do their interview.
The Granada Crew Out in the Cold Thanks to us.
I packed my kit up and Elaine left for a trip to Birmingham to do an interview with the father of the little girl in question.
I went off to see Steven Kay in Bolton and get the postponed Brain Teasers done.
He came out into the school car park to meet me.
The last couple of days with his brother Vernon featuring on the front pages of at least one of the red tops had definitely taken there toll on him.
He looked a little drawn and his slightly unkempt designer stubble was not a fashion statement.
When we went into the classroom to shoot the Brain Teasers Steven said that it was very strange having some one so close to you make unpleasant headlines, particularly when all that Vernon had done was have text conversations with friends who happen to be very sexy girls.
Oh, and the texts were a bit on the hot side.
However, he had not been caught doing anything particularly bad, like having an affair with a mate’s girlfriend.
As Steven had said to his mum, probably the only person to be pleased with the headlines would be John Terry.
We did the Brain Teasers as quickly and simply as possible.
Steven was, not surprisingly less focused than he normally is but did come up with the goods.
Also it did not help when he was having to deal with various text messages a lot of the time.
When we were done I made a trip back to Granada where I left the tape containing the rushes to be sent down to GMTV from the Granada TV news traffic area.
It had been a longish day but not too long so after some food I got to my hotel with the prospect of a long night’s sleep.