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.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Sisters with Heart disease.


Tuesday 31st


I was on the way to Glasgow on the M8.


In London things were hotting up for the launch of ITV’s new breakfast programme Daybreak replacing GMTV now in its last death throws this week.


The stunning new studio with its superb view over the river Thames to St Paul’s Cathedral was being unveiled to the press along with the new presenting team.


Gregg Easteal Daybreak’s Scotland correspondent, my new work partner was down in London to meet the bosses face to face before he comes up to Edinburgh and starts work in the strange twilight world of breakfast television.


Tiffany Royce, one of the best names ever, was similarly stuck behind the wheel of her car trundling up the M6 from Manchester.


I met her at the home of three sisters who suffer from a genetic heart condition that in simple terms means that they could die at any moment without any warning.


The girls were not back from school which gave Tiffany and I time to catch up.


The last time I saw her in person was during the Beijing Olympics and she had told us that she was pregnant.


The two of us had been dispatched to Bangkok to film Gary Glitter as he was heading back to the UK.


I went back to stay in Beijing until the end of the games and Tiffany had been instructed to get on the same flight as the famous pedophile back to the UK.


So here she was, a not so new mum. Her daughter was already rather scarily seventeen months old.


So as well as the catch up there was lots of news about the goings on at GMTV as the programme wriggled and twitched on its deathbed.


When the girls arrived with Steve their dad we did our little bit of filming.


Melissa the youngest, still at primary school was the least shy but still not hugely keen to be on TV.


The other two Courtney and Chloe were typical shy giggly teenagers.


With a bit of gentle banter and coaxing from Tiffany and myself we got the interviews and shots done.


One of my little cheesy tricks with young kids is to make the fluffy microphone cover act like a little furry animal and get it to jump at them.


It usually helps to break the ice and with the older more savvy ones make me out as a harmless nutter and puts them at their ease a bit.


When Melissa asked about the mic, as often happens I was just about to go into my little routine when I stopped.


One of the things that could quite literally kill any of these lovely girls is any kind of shock or upset.


So I thought better of getting my microphone puppet jumping up to “bite” Melissa.


It must be very difficult for their dad and their granny to deal with the real possibility that some kind of exertion or shock could induce an irregular rhythm in the girls hearts resulting in anything from a mild fit to death.


Their mother Sharon had died from the self same condition not long after Melissa was born.


It is not uncommon for people suffering from this Long QT syndrome to die in their sleep because of the upset caused by a bad dream.


Tiffany with Courtney, Melissa and Chloe with Buster the dog getting in on the act.


On the way to Glasgow’s Yorkhill hospital to do a piece to camera Tiffany and I counted our blessings.


Once the piece to camera was done I recorded Tiffany’s voice over.


We said good-bye and I took the tape to STV to be sent down to London.


Will that be it for me and GMTV? I could have just done my last job for GMTV. The end of an almost eighteen year era coming to a close.


It will be ITV Daybreak for me for the next who knows how long.




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