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, 17 May 2011

Exclusive interview with the Taoiseach.

Tuesday 17th

Grainne and Gary had been busy at Dublin Castle doing live broadcasts. As well as the planned broadcasts there were extra ones thrown in to accommodate the breaking news about bombs having been discovered.

I, on the other hand had not been up for hours when I met them for breakfast before we went off to film Grainne being interviewed by Ryan Tubridy, the current presenter of “The Late Late Show” television programme on his radio show.

It was kind of fitting then that the most well known of the “Late Late Show” presenters Gay Byrne should be having breakfast at the next table.

Grainne’s little segment on the programme was quite short.

The RTE radio studio's production section.

It's that Tubridy fellow again.

There was then a bit of a break for us because we were not part of the pack that would be covering the actual visit.

The guys doing that would be very closely shepherded around and under tight security.

Press busses with police escort.

I had a wander into the centre of the City to take in the atmosphere. The security was certainly very tight. There were Garda all over the place and at lots of junctions around O’Connell Street there were pedestrian check points with bags being checked.

A wee fly past for the Queen.

Pedestrian check point.

The editors in London were keen to get "proper" people’s opinions of the visit in a rather stereotypic location, a pub.

So our plan for the evening was to go to a pub and speak to as many people that after a few pints of the black stuff were still in a fit state to make sense.

I was rather hoping we would go earlier rather than later because one of my pet hates is trying to film in pubs, bars and clubs.

There is almost always some smart ass that makes a nuisance of themselves and drunken idiots that want to be on telly.

We set out with the minimum of kit, just the camera and run bag. There was no need for a tripod, lights or any fancy gizmos, not that I have any fancy gizmos.

There was a bit of a media PR event that all the media had been invited to. Gary was keen to go to press the flesh and make contact with anyone that might be able to provide Daybreak with stories either now or later.

We were there nice and early.

The National Gallery, venue for the reception.

A demonstration of crystal being cut.

Gary was chatting to a few folk, I was enjoying sampling the food and as ever Grainne was chatting to people she knew.

More people started to arrive and we heard from someone that the Taoiseach, the Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny was supposed to be coming.

Sure enough a short while later he came in with his little entourage.

The Taoiseach started working the room, chatting to folk and getting his photograph taken with various people.

I was aware that he started to make a bee line straight for Grainne. They shook hands and blethered away in Gaelic.

Grainne introduced Gary and me to him. We shook hands and had a brief chat.

Grainne asked if it would be possible to do a little interview. Once more her connections helped. It just so happens that the Taoiseach’s press secretary is an old friend from the same village as Grainne. So we were on.

Grainne chatting to Enda Kenny the Taoiseach.

It was a mini nightmare for me because although we were given all the help possible the event was busy and there was loud live Irish music all the time.

We were shown into the quietest room that there was which was not all that quiet. It had single glazed widows that looked straight out to a tall bank of big black booming speakers.

It was then that I also regretted not having my tripod. Lights would have been nice too.

Before the main man came in I ran around trying to get the background as nice as possible and the ambient sound as quiet as possible.

Mr Kenny came in, sat on the sofa I directed him to and gave Grainne a great little interview about the Queen’s visit, what it means to Ireland and some lovely stuff about how they chatted about the film “The King’s Speech”.

Not the best way to shoot an important interview.

We had just netted ourselves a nice exclusive. The bosses would love that.

Yes they did but, they still wanted us to do the pub thing as well.

I got the distinct impression that Grainne like working pub about as much as I did.

We tried one pub where no one wanted to talk to us, mainly because they said that they worked for the government and did not feel that they could give an opinion.

Just around the corner was one of Dublin’s renowned traditional pubs O’Donoghues.

All my fears went almost as soon as we walked into the busy bar.

Grainne got really good vox pops, there was a band playing great music and she ended up joining in a wee song.

We left the pub on high.

Grainne went home to get some sleep.

Gary and I came back to the hotel where we had a quick chat about what the boys and girls in London wanted. He then went off to bed. LIke Grainne he would be up for the live broadcasts.

The pair of them would be lucky to get four hours sleep.

I then settled down to edit and send the material to Daybreak. Once again I would not be needing to get up for live broadcasts. However, the material did not get to London until after 2 am.

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