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.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

The refugee camp and a quick recce

Tuesday 1st

At 4:00 am we were in Gregg’s room recording the voice over for the report that had been compiled in London overnight.

There was not a great deal of time to get it done because we had to leave by 4:30 am to get to the refugee camp in time to get ready for the live broadcasts.

We managed to get it done in time but, it took a little longer to send than expected so it was almost 5 am by the time we actually got on the road.

Hasan the driver put his foot down. Even so we would be cutting it fine to get on air for the 6 am broadcast.

The light slowly started to come up as we thundered along the road towards the border town of Ras Jadir. The camp was just before it.

The normally isolated residents suddenly have a lot of new neighbours over the road...

..the road to Libya...

...and here they are, well some of them.

We pulled up at the same spot that we had done our live broadcasts from yesterday.

It was 10 to 6.

I was fairly sure that the chances of getting the 6 am broadcast done were slim to say the least.

However, we both jumped out of the car and started to set up.

Gregg rigged up the camera on to the tripod and cabled up a mic.

I fired up the BGAN satellite terminal and pointed it towards the satellite.

I booted up the laptop.

While they were going through their set up phase I dialled up the programme talkback for Gregg on my Blackberry and gallery talkback on my phone.

I then tried to connect the satellite to Daybreak in London.

This was where I expected to have trouble. It often takes a few goes before it connects but, this morning it was first time lucky.

Gregg was shoving the earpiece into his ear and I handed him the mic.

There was still a couple of minutes before the programme was due to start.

We took a breath and settled down just as the PA counted into the opening titles.

A few short moments later Gregg had finished his report about the growing humanitarian crisis at the border between Tunisia and Libya.

We we very happy that we had made it.

A couple of white UNHCR tents had appeared since yesterday.

It's one way to get through the crowd with your stuff.

There were another few broadcasts to do and with the exception of one that we missed because for whatever frustrating reason the satellite would not connect with Daybreak in London.

When we finished we turned our thoughts to what we might be able to do for tomorrow’s programme.

A smile and a wave as we leave.

Chokra had told us about a boat that would be leaving from the port of Zarzis in the morning laden with up to a couple of thousand Egyptians bound for Alexandria.

The plan as far as we understood it was for the boat to both dock and leave within our air time.

We were a little sceptical of the exact timing but if there was going to be a large number of the refugees waiting to go that would be a great backdrop to illustrate the continuing and growing problem of what was needing to be done to get the thousands and thousands pouring over the border every day back home.

So we went off to the port to have a look and confirm as much as we could.

The officials at the port could not have been ore helpful showing us where the boat would tie up and where the people would be.

It sounded like a good plan so we put it to the bosses in London and they were happy with it.

We went back to the hotel for a bit of late lunch and for a bit of techie talk with the guys at Livewire in the UK about the BGAN satellite terminal and its tendency to unpredictability

I had a few test things to do in the afternoon which took up the rest of the day.

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