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.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Day three at the camp near Ras Jadir

Thursday 3rd

The best start to the day is not seeing your colleague in his pants.

At least this morning when I went to Gregg’s room he turned me away.

There was no voice over to record and send to Daybreak.

There was nothing to add to the piece that we had sent last night.

Gregg editing last night.

Me sending the report to London on the BGAN satellite terminal.

That gave me the time to go back to my room and carry out a more normal morning routine rather than the routine of the last few days.

That had consisted of rolling out ot bed, pulling on whatever clothes I had dropped beside the bed when I got in and putting the camera and satellite kit in a bag.

I may also have paid a visit to the smaller of the rooms at my disposal.

Too much information I know but, when one gets to bed late and has to get up early sleep is the number one priority.

A slight neglect of personal hygiene comes as part of the job.

It was thus with fresher breath and a dose of caffeine I met Chokra and Gregg at the reception.

Hasan arrived a few moments later after having paid his respects to Allah as the early call to prayer that echoed out in to the dark morning sky had requested.

We were once again heading back to the refugee camp near Ras Jadir.

The road to Libya at dawn.

We would have company this morning as Daybreak in London had organised a guest to talk to about the refugee problem and more specifically the effect on the younger more vulnerable ones.

Tom from the Save the Children would meet us at the camp.

Although we had witnessed the hundreds of tents already up and some of the further thousand that were being put up the sight in the distance as we approached in the half light of dawn.

The white UNHCR tents seemed to glow on the raised horizon.

The place was already looking like a busy town.

Morning wash at the one water tap available.

The buses to move people on had already arrived.

People were getting on in a chaotic and frantic manner.

Huge tied bundles were thrown on. Suitcases were pushed on,

Going to the buses.

Men tried to make themselves as thin and small as possible to squeeze into what ever space was available.

Expressing thanks to the Tunisian people by wearing the flag.

Families get priority.

Mother and son.

Others stood with weary resignation waiting for their turn.


.....and waiting.

Hasan edged the car past the mayhem and parked up a hundred meters or so past the madness.

Gregg and I had the rigging of the kit down to a fine practised art. That late arrival on day one had been the perfect training for it.

We were quickly all set up.

As soon as the slightly reluctant equipment had connected with London Gregg recorded a report that would be kept on standby in case of failures in the live broadcasts.

On the other side of the road I saw a tall western figure climb out of a dusty car. Under his jacket I could see a red T-shirt.

It was our man from Save the Children. Tom crossed the road and introduced himself.

Set up at the roadside.

After we had done the first main broadcast with Gregg we prepared for the interview.

Just before we went live we spotted a few little boys around the water tap in the distance.

I started the live broadcast with a single shot of Gregg and when he started to talk about the kids I slowly, so as not to cause the picture to pixilate zoomed in on the group at the tap.

Gregg made reference to seeing the boys.

I winced because in the very short time between seeing them and going on air they must have gone off because all that I could see in my viewfinder was a group of men.

At this point I rather perversely hoped that in the lower quality of the BGAN picture viewers might not notice.

As slowly as I zoomed in I zoomed back out again.

At the end of the broadcast Chokra pointed out that a little group of women and girls had appeared just out of shot to our left.

Rehearsing the interview with Tom.

Driver Hasan by the shade of a tree....

...phoning home.

Chokri our Tunisian fixer.

The rest of the morning’s broadcasts went off with out any problems, well apart from the usual failure to connect a few times.

Gregg on the phone to London.

The final broadcast contained some breaking news. Three Dutch Marines had been captured by pro Gadaffi forces.

On the way back to the hotel we stopped of at the "Parc des Princes", our preferred breakfast stop in Ben Guergane. Gregg had discovered it on Monday morning.

Our breakfast stop.

This time we were having a Mlaoui.

It was similar to yesterday’s Tabouna, but in a large thin tortella type bread rather than a bread roll.

Chokra told us that if we ever went to Morocco it would not be wise to try and order a Tabouna there because it is Morrocan slang for “lady parts”!

The Mlaoui.

Very tasty.

The place is run by a couple of boys of about 13 or 14 years old.

Their food was excellent, prepared and served with a real enthusiasm.

The boys at work.

One of them was chopping up tomatoes with speed, precision and skill when we went in.

Preparing the Mlaoui.

A dish called a "brik" goes in the oven.

When we were eating, one of the boys went of on a rickety bike. The saddle was ripped and what padding there was stuck out in all directions, except the direction that would make for a comfortable ride.

The pedals consisted of single worn bars sticking out of the cranks.

It must have need a practised skill to be able to cycle it in worn flip flops.

A short while later he returned with a small bag of chicken meat, gave it to the other boy then went off again for more supplies.

The rest of the journey back to the hotel was spent trying to organise flights home after the programme tomorrow.

It was not a simple task because of flight timings and many flights being full for obvious reasons.

At one point it looked like we would have to do a bit of a tour of europe before getting home and even then not get home until Saturday.

By the time we got to the hotel a combination of Chokra on the phone to local airline offices and travel agents, Raj on the production desk at Daybreak, and the ITV travel company Uniglobe things were pretty much organised.

We had to move hotels in the afternoon to be closer to the location for tomorrow’s broadcasts.

This gave us a couple of hours of free time to get a gentle dose of vitamin D under the bright but slightly chilly Tunisian sun.

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