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, 29 April 2010

The Return from Afghanistan

Tuesday 27th April

After enduring a crowded train journey opposite a man that spent most of the time on the trip from Manchester clearing his throat and chewing on the resultant phlegm correspondent Elaine Wilcox arrived at Edinburgh’s Waverly station.

I picked her up and we went off to do the story of the men from the 3 Rifles Battle Group who were returning from Afghanistan after taking more casualties than any other British fighting unit since the Korean war back in the fifties.

Thirty of their number had already come home draped in the Union Flag on the shoulders of fellow soldiers to the accompaniment of sombre military music.

One of the main elements of the story was that on Sunday the 8th of May they would parade down the famous Royal Mile in Edinburgh. The road that leads from The imposing castle to the grand palace of Holyrood House.

The large bulk of the members of the Battle Group are recruited from south of the border so it is interesting that these Englishmen will receive this tribute from the people of Scotland and its historic capital.

So the first thing we did was a piece to camera in the High Street, part of the Royal Mile.

The jolly Post Master in the village of Colinton was our next stop where we did an interview and some set up shots.

He had helped raise quite a bit of money by selling wrist bands in tribute to the troops.

When we arrived at Redford Infantry Barracks and met Bill Jameson the army press officer I felt for Elaine as the story was not quite as straight forward as we first thought.

Firstly, we discovered that apart from the repatriation of the fallen soldiers a large number of the lads were already home.

The timing of the others returning was rather “fluid” because of the knock on effect of the ash cloud and other unspecified operational reasons.

We then found out that there was a group actually enroute from Cyprus but we would not be allowed to film their return.

Then there was confusion about the difference between 3 Rifles, the regiment, the battalion and the battle group.

This had a bearing on what was the actual number of casualties.

There were three statistics that were being bandied about 15, 30 and 45.

There was much discussion and drawing of diagrams of he structure of the army before the figure of 30 out of the Battle group was agreed as the definitive fact that Elaine could work with.

A group of the soldiers wives came to the welfare centre, a stone building to the side of the large parade square on the barracks to have a chat with us and help with the filming.

I did some shots of them as they sat around and chatted and their kids as they played around with toys.

After we had done the filming we adjourned to the office in the welfare centre where I recorded Elaine’s commentary and put the material into her computer so that she could edit it.

Elaine Wilcox gets the Material in From my Camera..........

.....Then she Writes her Script.

We had also had a look at the new monument in memory of the soldiers who had given their lives for 3 Rifles.

This was to be the location of live broadcasts tomorrow.

When tomorrow comes and the memorial is on air I would not be shooting it. I would be burning rubber in the way down the M6 to Birmingham for the final of the televised leader’s debates.

1 comment:

  1. Incidentally, that prompting system was developed for the roving steadycam used on Big Brother - with wireless attachment.