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.

Monday, 6 September 2010

The Birth of Daybreak

Sunday 5th

I was happily trundling up to Kirkcaldy in Fife on a bright sunny early evening about to do a happy job.

With the birth of Daybreak in the morning I would be doing some filming and live broadcasts from Forthpark maternity hospital in the town as other new babies came into the world.

The gleaming towers of the Forth Road Bridge were looming up in front of me when a thought flashed into my mind.

My happiness turned to frustrated annoyance quicker than I turned the car in the opposite direction.

I needed to head back home. I had just remembered that I had forgotten to bring the keys for the padlocks on the flight cases containing the dreaded Avid edit kit that I would be needing later in the night, or more probably the early hours of the morning.

My detour had lost me a bit of time but there was no panic.

Gregg the new Scotland correspondent had driven up from his home in the north east of England and arrived at the hospital at the same time as me.

Michelle the producer was already there and had sorted out a little bit of shooting that we could be getting on with.

So, in one of the labour rooms we did an interview with Melanie and Rab with their very new baby Ava, who had just been born only forty minutes after they had arrived at the hospital.

Ava’s two brothers and sister were also there. This was a bit of a stand by item just in case there were no babies actually born after midnight and before the programme went on air.

Melanie and Rab with Ava and her brothers and sister.

She would be the nearest we would get to a baby born on the same day that Daybreak started.

Newly born little Ava.

The edit was going on well until the point, that almost inevitable point when the Avid and laptop crashed.

The edit, working.

Then the edit, not working.

The hated blue screen!

Monday 6th

The evening had become night had become the early hours.

The edit had gone and there was no sign of any more potential mums turning up.

It was not looking good. Then a call came from the Daybreak office in London.

Unless a baby was born near or at the time the programme was due to go on air they would not take any of our items.

That was not good news.

I did manage to get the edit back up, thankfully nothing was lost.

However, still no imminent births.

The kind midwives had offered us beds so that we could get our heads down for an hour or so.

They would call us if anything broke, like waters we hoped.

I have slept in some strange places but an examination room in an anti-natal clinic must go down as being one of the strangest.

I've slept in some weird places!

When we got up and wandered through to the delivery area there was a woman being rushed through the door in a wheel chair screaming very loudly and yelling that the baby was coming.

One of the midwives whisked her away into a room with soothing words. Followed by another with a pile of big absorbent pads.

As the wailing faded away with the closure of the room door Michelle and I exchanged relieved glances.

Fingers crossed that all would be well and she would be able and willing to talk to us, live if possible.

Gregg arrived back after his short sleep in a nearby hotel.

Dave and Ruaraidh arrived with the satellite truck.

Things were coming together at our end.

Listening to gallery talkback it sounded like it was also coming together in the new Daybreak studio as well albeit slightly nervously.

Once the loud ladies baby had been born and things had calmed down Michelle went of to see if she and dad would be happy to talk to us.

Good news, she would.

The bad news was that we would not be able to do it live because the new baby, would not be able to get to where our live location was.

So the interview would need to be done on tape.

The first live thing that we had to do was to be a part of nine live cameras from around the country to be an introduction to the new weather set up.

I set up the camera at the entrance to the hospital and joined in with my colleagues from the ITV regions and waited for the weather item.

The weather shot from the hospital gates.

As soon as the weather was done we dashed back into the depths of the maternity area and did a great little interview with new baby Lucas’s mum and dad.

Daybreak baby Lucas with mum and dad.

That was quickly sent back to Daybreak in London so that it could be played in during our live broadcast.

In the old days of GMTV there would have been lots of live broadcasts from various locations throughout the world but on this the launch day of Daybreak we were one of only two proper live broadcasts apart from the weather shots.

From what I was hearing over talkback it sounded as if the programme was going well.

We got set up in the reception area and in one of the consultation rooms where we would see and talk to a midwife with another new baby, Max with mum and dad.

It would be Gregg’s first live broadcast for breakfast TV. He was very relaxed about it and after a couple of quick run-throughs to get it spot on we did it for real.

Gregg with little Max, his mum, dad and midwife.

It went well. It was good to be a part of the new programme that will hopefully become a bigger part of the Great British morning than either TVam or GMTV were.

No comments:

Post a Comment