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.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Schoolboy errors, long drives and missed flights.

Saturday 26th

In the weeks since getting back from Cairo it has been busy, particularly behind the wheel without major incident or big breaking story.

There have been long drives, minor hiccups and the odd schoolboy error, mainly on my part.

On a story in Edinburgh about the good work done by Spartans FC, a local football club in a deprived area of the city and the relatively small deficit in their funding the main player in the tale did not turn up because he missed his flight to Edinburgh from Southampton.

Gordon Strachan the renowned footballer was born and brought up in the area around the football club and he takes a keen interest in it and helps to raise money for it.

Grianne Soeige also had a little plane trouble when she missed her connection on the flights from Dublin to Edinburgh via London.

She ended up in Glasgow and had to drive through to Edinburgh.

So myself, Andy the sound recordist and Ian, the slightly stressed but still good humoured producer had to crack on shooting kids learning about dental hygiene through football in a school gym hall, to long to explain how but it did work, without the principle characters.

When Grainne had arrived and we were filming back at the club I went off to do some shots without being attached to Andy.

Producer Ian much happier now Grainne's there.

When I had done the shots we got back together in the cable connection sense and did some more interviews.

It was only after we had finished those that we noticed that I had not switched the microphone inputs back from the camera to the sound mixer.

Thankfully when we played the tape back the recording conditions had been pretty much near to ideal so the camera microphone had done it’s job perfectly.

I then had a car collection job. The Galaxy crew car that had gone off the road in the snow last year had been repaired and was ready to be collected from deepest West Yorkshire. So, I had a long driving day to get it back.

Valentine’s day found Gregg Easteal and me not doing a schmaltzy love story but, a report about the huge number of businesses that are going bust because of the economic climate.

It was an easy job to shoot. The only problem we had was with the number of curious drunks, addicts, kids and just plain nutters who came up to us to enquire about what we were doing.

The job would have been even easier had they been lucid enough to talk about the other thing we were asking opinions about, “The Big Society”.

It may be David Cameron’s big passion but there were few folk in Stockton on Tees who had any sort of idea what it was about or what it might mean.

I had not bothered to put an overnight bag into the car when I had left home in the morning so when I got the call to say that I would need to go to Leeds for a job the following morning.

At least the shoot with Phil Ray Smith would not start until the afternoon I had time to go out and buy the stuff to stop me looking unwashed, smelly and unkempt.

This was a nice easy job, simply giving a family the first of the first electric cars to be freely available so that they could see what they thought of it.

The car, Phil and the family.

Says it all.

On charge in the drive.

The charging box on the house wall.

I was looking forward to getting back up the road and home when another job with Gregg was thrown at me.

At least it was in Leeds.

A report was out saying that even with all the social and educational improvements in the last forty years people in the North of England still die, on average much younger than the folk further south.

We did our bit of filming in a working men's club on the outskirts of the city.

The folk there were great and it was another easy shoot.

The material had to be sent back to Daybreak in London.

This we were going to do from Yorkshire Television near the centre of Leeds.

When we went up to the newsroom to sort out getting the stuff to London I was very pleased to see my old GMTV colleague Duncan Wood.

He’s now the main presenter on Yorkshire’s evening news programme, “Calendar”.

We did not have a great deal of time to catch up because he had a late programme to do and we needed to get the shots away south.

However, there was time to have a chat about the goings on at GMTV’s new incarnation as Daybreak.

Next day at least I got a little bit nearer home.

I went up to Heads Nook, a little village just outside Carlisle to do some shots of a interesting chap.

Artist and designer Ian McMean had become a father again just two weeks ago at the tender age of seventy two.

Ian at work with Katie not far away.

Claire, his wife, also a very good artist was forty three.

All that was needed were a few shots of them in their nice family setting dealing with their little family of baby Katie and their seven year old son Kit.

When the filming was done I paid a visit to yet another of the northern ITV regions. This time it was Border’s small office that I went into to sent the footage back to Daybreak.

I did manage to get back home, however briefly.

Next morning I was back in the car heading south again.

This time to the depths of Northumberland to do a report on fuel prices hitting the highest that they have ever been.

Expensive fuel in a country garage.

I met up with producer Luke for my next job a few days later in Redcar.

We then went on to meet a remarkable kid.

Tom Cave is ten years old and already a seasoned anti knife campaigner.

When he was three his brother Chris was knifed to death.

Tom has done a lot of things to try and reduce the numbers of kids that carry knives.

He’s raised cash for a playground, in a letter taken the Prime Minister to task about what’s being done about knife crime and had a lengthy reply. He also helps out the South Yorkshire police force in their anti knife campaign and has won awards for what he has achieved.

I filmed him in and his mum in and around the house along with him playing with his mates on the playground that he was instrumental in getting the funds to build.

Luke chatting to Tom and his mum.

The down side was that the policeman who was best to tell us what a great kid Tom is was down in Sheffield.

After that interview I then had to get back north for a job in St Andrews.

It would be the University’s six hundredth anniversary and to mark it two of the most famous students that studied there would be coming back to pay a visit.

This event would be Kate Middleton and Prince William’s second official engagement.

Gregg and I had already done exactly the report that Daybreak wanted done a little while back when the royal engagement had been announced.

Unfortunately the report never saw the light of transmission.

So here we were doing the same thing again.

At least this time it would run because there were live broadcasts planned for the morning of the visit.

Gregg interviewing Stephen Magee the University's Vice Principal.

St Salvatore's the halls of residence where Prince William and Kate lived, separately.

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