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, 11 June 2010

GMTV's World Cup Party in Johannesburg.

Friday 10th June

Could we get a win this morning?

Colin the satellite engineer scored an early opener by squeezing the satellite truck under the car park barrier to get it as close to the cafe location as possible.

We got started on the rig taping the cables down so no one could trip over them and doing a bit of set dressing for the GMTV World Cup Party.

Producer Mark starts with the bunting.

Colin tapes down the cables.

There was going to be a lot to do, loads of guests like Jim Rosenthal, Robbie Earle and K'naan who had been singing in the big pre World Cup concert last night and was number 2 in the UK charts, not to forget lots of England and South Africa fans and a group of dancers.

The Cafe location.

The performance from K'naan was our main worry because being a man down with no sound recordist we'd have to keep it tight.

Colin and I had a tactical chat and came up with a game plan to deal with the audio from K'naan and his guitar backing.

We got off to a good start with the starting line up.

Ben passed a few nifty questions to 8 times World Cup veteran Jim Rosenthal.

He picked them up and using his silky delivery slotted home our second.

Mark talks tactics with Jim befrore he goes on..... mates share a joke....

....things get serious when the game is on.... match coffee... veteran striker Jim.

Things were looking good but our command of the midfield started to slip when the opposition nipped an opportunistic goal when the camera cable developed a fault knocking us off air on one broadcast.

Colin and I had to back track fast to replace the cable.

All the carefully positioned hazard tape was suddenly redundant.

Mark gives Ben a inspirational team talk.

We had to soak up a lot more pressure when the dancers kept disappearing off just before we were due to go live.

This pressure began to build causing great concern on the bench.

Mark's detailed game strategy was starting to unravel leaving us open on the flanks.

A call came from K'naan's manager to say that they were lost. Their driver had no idea how to find us.

Football talk over a cup of tea.

Then in a sneaky overlapping manoeuvre we ended up another goal down.

Robbie Earle caused confusion when he came off the bench making a blind side run.

We managed a quick counter attack to nick one back when the fans we chatted to yesterday arrived and gave us a great breakaway goal by providing a superb sound bite.

We managed to close down the dancers and utilising the much maligned man to man marking system kept them boxed in.

Their performances were very good and energetic allowing us to pull another one back.

Hello! Half time entertainment, the "disappearing dancers".

The support from the stand was invaluable.

Programme producer Daniel and studio director Richard kept our spirits up with useful information and timings from the touchline in London.

Daniel in London talks to Ben over talkback.

Then, after a good recovery, the opposition hit us with a double strike.

In a slow build up that had been on the cards for a while, a shot from distance almost burst the back of the net, showing up a real weakness in our defence.

It brought with it a howl of jeers from the loyal supporters, but they did rally round and bought us some time.

Only about five minutes before K’naan was due to do his performance he pitched up with his tiny entourage and very cool Canadian manager.

Colin and I had to scramble about to try and get things set up in less than four minutes.

Vuvuzelas interrupt everything.

When we discovered that they did not have their promised PA and one of their tiny amps was not working, we knew we would not make it in time for the broadcast.

Extra time was on the cards.

Daniel and Richard told us over talkback that we could have another five minutes but no more, or we'd be into penalties.

Colin at the amp trying to get it working...

....K'naan's guys have a go but with no luck.

This was the only slot that we would have K’naan for because right after he had done our broadcast he would be off to do some rehearsals for his tour.

We tried to get things working. There were bits of cable and microphones flying all aver the place as we struggled to get everything mic’d up.

There was no time left.

It was now or never.

There had been no time to test what we had rigged or get sound levels.

Ben stepped into position and we went for it.

He introduced K’naan and his song “Wavin’ flag”.

When the song started I held my breath and tried to listen closely to both the song and the studio talkback.

I did not hear any sucking of air through the teeth or threats to cut away from us although I was ready for it and a bit surprised that we got the full performance on air.

However, when I spoke to Doug the Technical Director he did not pull any punches when he said that the sound was dreadful even though the sound department at GMTV in London had tried their best to improve on our incoming audio.

Every one enjoyed the performance a lot more than we did.

...K'naan's manager, Ben and K'naan have an after game chat.

So with our heads down we had to try and pull ourselves up and get back into the game.

This was almost taken advantage of when there was a very near miss that might have put the game beyond reach.

Andy Cole appearance was delayed because he had to under go a late fitness test.

He came to us as ambassador for a charity called 1 goal. Its aim is that by the next World Cup in Brazil the 22 million kids not in education have a place at a school or some other educational institution.

He was wearing a T-shirt that was emblazoned with the name of the charity.

At first we asked him to cover it up slightly because of our product placement regulations.

We were told that Ofcom were happy that the name being shown would not contravene any rules.

He said that he was cold and rather than take his scarf off he just pulled it round his neck a little.

I thought it look a bit like he was wearing a quaint bow but he was happy.

He did give a great interview.

It had been the same for his fellow ex-pro footballer Robbie Earle when he arrived. He talked about the controversial Jabalani ball.

Mark doubles as photographer for the cafe staff when Andy Cole arrives....

...Andy Cole talks a good game...

....nice scarf Andy.

Ben does his bit for the charity....

...with a friend.

The final whistle was fast approaching, things were looking bleak and the whole team was getting tired but we needed to dig deep and mine the reserves of energy that we knew we there.

Then with a bit of luck and quick feet we pulled something out of the bag to get back on to level pegging

The last broadcasts were almost on us and apart from the dancers our guests had all needed to leave to do other things.

The cafe was very busy but not with football fans.

A group of business suited people were at a table having a champagne breakfast. The good news was that they were from the UK.

There was a fan who had actually left his work to come to the World Cup. We bumped into him yesterday and he had taken up our offer to come down and be on GMTV.

Things were getting better.

We might grab one back.

Ben just had time to have a very quick word with the guys at the table.

Colin and I dragged out a bit of extra cable to reach that table.

The camera was just back on my shoulder when Richard gave Ben the cue.

It was in the net.

Not long left and it was all to play for.

A fantastic bit of opportunism gabbed a late victory in what had been a tight end to end contest, but at the end of the day in a game of two halves football was the winner.

A family came wandering across the car park all dressed up in Bafana Bafana kit with vuvuzelas and all the regalia.

We pounced on them eagerly.

They had come down from Cape Town just for the game and were only too happy to be on the programme.

With seconds to go before it was all over the win was not in doubt with another beautifully taken effort that came out of nothing.

We heard them before we saw them. A noisy group of Mexicans waving flags and bottles of tequila were approaching.

They were more than keen to join the GMTV World Cup opening party.

They joined our South African family for the last couple of broadcasts.

Setting up the final shot..they think it's all over... it is!

It had been a supreme effort from the whole team. We were all drained.

Ben, Mark and I went to have a well earned breakfast. Poor old Colin who had played a blinder had to hot foot it to Soweto for broadcasts with ITN.

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