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.

Sunday, 6 June 2010


Sunday 6th June

My South African mobile rang on my beside table. After I had worked out what it was, knocked it off the table a fell out of bed trying to get to it the ringing stopped.

I composed my self, worked out how to find the number that rang and called it.

It was Richard Gaisford GMTV's Chief Correspondent.

He was outside the apartment building trying to get in.

Security must have regarded him with a bit of suspicion because they would not let him.

Mark and I went down to meet the weary traveller fresh, or rather not so fresh off the overnight flight from the UK.

Like us and unlike the guys from ITV Sport who travelled Business Class he had done the journey in a small economy seat.

We showed him to his apartment and let him settle in to a couple of hours precious sleep.

Then Mark and I set of on a bit of filming and a bit of a recce for live locations.

Our wide smiling friendly taxi driver Enos took us out to the west of Johannesburg to a cultural village.

Our New Friend Enos.

As well as checking it out for a live location I did a bit of filming.

The people were very friendly and keen to help.

We're Not The Only TV Crew in Town.

The little show in a round grass covered hut was very energetic as the guys in warrior costumes from various African countries tried to outdo the girls in a frenetic high kicking dance.

The Girls Frenzied Kicking.

There Were Calm Moments.

Whilst we were busy being entertained Richard was on his way to Soccer City to go through the accreditation procedure.

We jumped back in Enos's little car and went to Soweto to meet Richard, do a little filming and recce a location for live broadcasts in the morning.

We all arrived at a very quiet Walter Sisulu Square. This was the first choice location but after discovering that during the large part of our live broadcasts the square will be as quiet as it is now we decided to check out an alternative place that would be livelier.

The ideal place we wanted to broadcast from would be the Bara Transport Interchange, the main area in Soweto from where people head off to work.

The busy bustling area has a busy Market area and hundreds and hundreds of crammed combi minibuses picking up and disgorging thousands and thousands of Sowetans going to and from their work.

I did some filming of Richard chatting to the exuberant locals who were all very happy indeed that the World Cup had come to South Africa.

Richard Talks to Happy Locals.

Filming in Soweto.

On the other side of the busy road in the fading light I filmed along the busy stalls. Things were beginning to wind down for the day.

There were some people who did not want to talk to us but even they were obviously happy with the whole thing.

Everyone was warm and welcoming including the usual drunks that a camera crew seems to attract.

However, as the light began to fade and the place was quickly becoming quieter we did not want to overstay our welcome.

Earlier in the day some security issues about doing a live broadcast had been raised.

We felt that it should not be a problem particularly as the location for the satellite truck would be right in front of reputedly Africa's best hospital.

Having said that the reputation stems from it's experience of dealing with severe wounds inflicted by big machetes and guns of all types.

Let's hope it does not have to put it's good name to the test.

Just in case the security consultants were still unhappy about our preferred location we thought we'd check out another option.

So we headed off to probably the most visited place in Soweto, Nelson Mandela's house.

The little house is now a museum surrounded by a fence consisting of tall thick metal poles.

Nelson Mandela's House Behind the Fence.

The Little Cafe Opposite his House.

Although of huge historic interest verging on being a place of pilgrimage the way the area has been nicely landscaped it was not good for us.

Even on his Street There are World Cup Signs.

We wanted to show the real Soweto and the real Sowetans going about their real lives.

Twilight in Soweto.

We got the good news about the location when we got back to base.

The security guys were happy with the location but felt obliged to point out that we might get jostled a bit in the morning as the hoards headed off to work.

Producer Mark was busy struggling with one the South African mobiles we'd been issued with.

It appeared that an advanced qualification in IT is required to do the simplest thing, like make a call.

Not for the first time since we started to try and use them we considered kicking them as far and hard as Messi, Rooney and Ronaldo combined with Ronaldinho, Gerrard and Gilardino.

He was trying to organise both a football pundit to be live from Sun City and a freelance cameraman to shoot the broadcast using another of the ITN satellite dishes.

In the apartment we finished editing the piece from Soweto and looked foreword to five hours of sleep before having to get up for our live broadcasts in the morning.

Richard Writes His Script on the Trusty Mac.

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