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, 30 April 2010

Unhappy Special Branch

Thursday 29th April (pm)

As well as winning on the wristband front the BBC came up trumps on the catering at the press centre in the Avon Theatre at the University of Birmingham.

Best yet, but do you need to call home to tell them about it?

It was the usual plan for Ravi and I. We were to be doing the post debate interviews with the members of the audience.

So after partaking in some of the cold buffet paid for out of our licence fees we made our way across to the main building inside the inner security cordon.

Once again we went through the airport style security check to get to the debate area.

The Avon Web Building Lit for the Debate.

The BBC, ITN and Sky were all busy getting set up for their live broadcasts into the nightly news programmes.

The BBC and ITN Amost on air.

We started to wait for the debate to finish in a few moments.

Then we thought that as well as getting the interviews we could take the opportunity to get shots of the leaders leaving.

As the debate finished we sauntered across the large tarmac area in front of the brightly lit building.

Some of the posh cars were being driven up to the main doors.

Someone was about to leave.

The cars were between me and the door when there was a mini rush of activity as guys with earpieces talking into their sleeves strutted out.

One of the three was about to exit.

I rolled the camera and as Nick Clegg came out I filmed him as I made my way to the building side of the car, thinking as I did it,”Special Branch won’t be happy with this.”

Ravi shouted to Mr Clegg asking him what he though of tonight’s debate.

He replied whilst getting into the back of the car simply saying that he had enjoyed it.

The car door shut with solid clunk and the small convoy swished away accompanied by more talking into sleeves.

The hiss of the disappearing cars was still fading into the distant damp night when Ravi and I were turned on by two rather upset chaps.

The first one to round on me was one of the overcoat wearing officials who had been having a conversation with his shirt cuff.

“Where did you come from?”, he asked in a rather serious voice.

I pointed in the direction of all the other media preparing for their broadcasts.

He looked at me with obvious annoyance. Then he turned away.

I knew why he was upset.

It is a bit of a no no to get in front of a VIP vehicle as it ready to drive off.

It would not be the first time I have seen cameramen, photographers, reporters or even innocent members of the public quite forcefully moved unceremoniously out of the intended path of the cars.

At this point a rather more casually dressed chap standing beside another cameraman who I recognised as a BBC producer asked Ravi where we were from.

When Ravi told him he said that there had been a pool arrangement for the departure shots and no questions were to be asked.

We had not been aware of the pool situation.

A bit of a discussion ensued.

He said that the security people did not want anyone to throw questions to the three leaders.

I had to wonder why the security services had any say in whether, as both members of the press and the voting public we could not ask legitimate questions to anyone that was about to be elected to serve us in high office.

The BBC cameraman was clearly not happy and from under a black beanie hat gave me a challenging stare through narrow eyes.

I ignored him.

Then another crew from ITV Central arrived to do a piece to camera at the other side of the door.

The BBC producer then went over to chat to them.

There was another out spill of plain clothed policemen, including the one with the friend up his right arm.

He was still clearly not happy with Ravi and I and proceeded to ask us and the BBC guys to move slightly.

We complied.

Gordon Brown and his wife then strutted out of the building looking reasonably relaxed.

They got in their car and off it went.

The BBC producer was busy sending and answering texts.

Clearly it was not only Special Branch that was not going to be sending us any Christmas cards this year.

Then it was David Cameron’s turn to come out.

Ravi again asked a question. This time about what the tory leader though about a snap poll that said he had won the debate.

At first I though that he was about to give us a bit of a sound bite but he just gave the stock reply that the people would decide and he had enjoyed the debate.

He was then whisked off to his hotel in the city centre.

We went off to do the next bit of the job. Ravi told the BBC producer that our material would also be available if anyone wanted it on a pool basis when it was sent to GMTV via ITN.

He and the BBC producer then parted on friendly terms.

The BBC cameraman on the other hand who had found himself unable to talk to me fixed me with another look that was full of a mixture of anger, aggression and disgust.

I returned it with a “it’s just one of those days” shrug and wandered off to get the interviews with the audience members who were at that moment being lead out.

We knocked them off and the material was fed to London.

I returned to my hotel to see the cars in which Mr Cameron had departed parked outside the front door.

I bet that his room was better than mine.

1 comment:

  1. Also, the irony that the BBC Producer agreed 'as a journalist' we ought to be asking the leaders questions post debate. Your departure shots were better than the beebs.