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, 21 May 2011

Final broadcast on the Queen & Obama's forward party.

Friday 20th

Gary and I went to Dublin castle for our live broadcasts with Grainne.

Dublin Castle before the sun came up.

Getting to the live location was nice and easy. Traffic restrictions had been lifted, the crowd control barriers had gone, the security scanners had been removed, there were no Garda to be seen and most of our broadcasting colleagues had also shipped out.

The media area almost empty....

...just a French crew doing a live report.

The Queen had finished here business in Dublin. The rest of her visit would be much farther south at the Rock of Cashel and Cork.

Richard Gaisford with cameraman Simon and satellite engineer Alan would be live from there previewing her day. Grainne would be talking about her day yesterday at the big concert and meeting the Duke of Edinburgh.

Our position on the gantry.

Engineer Kelvin had everything ready for me. All that I needed to do was connect my camera and it was all systems go for broadcasting.

It was never going to be that straight forward. When all the kit was in place and cabled up Kelvin could not seen or hear anything from me.

After a series of tests we discovered that the problem was with the output from my camera. Luckily Kelvin had a camera that I could swap with to get the broadcasts done.

There had been plenty of time to get organised so there was not too much stress.

Grainne checking the newspapers before we go live.

Grainne did her broadcasts telling the Daybreak audience all about yesterday; events.

We had a very nice wrap breakfast in the plush surroundings of Dublin’s Shellbourne hotel.

Then it was time to say good-bye. Grainne went the relative short distance to her Irish home, Gary prepared to jump into his racing green Jaguar and drive to see his parents in Wexford, Kelvin wandered back to his hotel to stay for another couple of days and I got ready to head back to Edinburgh.

I was not looking forward to the trip home. My flight was with Ryanair.

The only way to pre book my kit on the supposedly cheap budget airline was for the travel company to book it as sporting and music equipment.

I would have to have all my usual hand baggage in my already fairly full hold baggage.

After I had dropped off the hire car at the return area near Terminal 2 I shoved my laden trolley to the smart shiny terminal building.

I looked up at the departure screens on the way in. There was no sign of my flight. There were details of other Ryanair flights. I was a little confused and double checked the information on the e-mails to see if there might be some obscure airport that Ryanair were using that I was not aware of. There was not.

I eventually found a screen that gave me the information I did not want to see. The flight was leaving form Terminal 1.

I heaved the trolley out of the sparkling modern building and bumped it over the roads and pavements to the older more careworn building.

I approached the check-in desk and gave the small sharp featured lady as warm a smile as I could and said, “Good morning. How are you?”

She looked at me with a neutral expression through her silver rimmed spectacles. “Where are you flying to?”

The question was delivered in a slight Eastern european accent and with no emotion.

I handed her my boarding card and passport as I said, still smiling, “Edinburgh.”

She tapped a couple of keys.

Without looking away from the screen she said, “How many bags are you checking in?”

“Five,” I told her, still maintaining as much of a good humoured smile in the face of such coolness.

“One normal bag, sporting and music equipment.” she said. The statement phrased as a question.

I nodded.

“Normal bag on the scale please.”

I put my suitcase on the scale.

“This is too heavy for normal bag. Put on first sporting equipment.”

I swapped the case for one of my kit boxes, the smallest one.

“This is too heavy for sporting equipment.”

Then she asked the question that I had been dreading.

“What kind of sports equipment to you have?”

The game had started. I was standing there with cases that could not fit golf clubs, surfboards, skis or any of the other sports kit that is often seen around airports. My hand luggage was a large broadcast camera draped over my shoulder.

I evaded the question as best I could by saying, “Oh, there is a variety of equipment in the boxes.”

She asked a few more probing questions about my bags and boxes.

Things were getting difficult. I was sure that she was about to ask me to open the boxes to show her what was in them, particularly when I eventually told her that the tripod bag contained special mini ski poles.

We were carrying on this conversation as she weighed the boxes and tagged them.

Then she told me that I would have to pay an extra €120 and take some of the bags to the outsize belt.

I gave her one more smile and said thank you.

She dealt with the payment holding the same emotionless gaze.

At the gate I was glad that I had got myself another bag to keep my normal hand baggage safe and secure and put it with the hold baggage.

As passengers were filing past the gate to board their flights two Ryanair women were checking the size of the hand baggage being taken onboard.

When I was waiting I looked out over the airport. In the distance I could see the forward party for the visit of President Obama. There were two large C17 transport aircraft and a two small helicopters as well as a few large Chinook helicopters.

Two US Airforce C17s behind the budget 'plane.

Obama's forward party. Two of everything.

A closer view of part of the presidential entourage.

When I had arrived in Dublin last week the plan was that I would stay over to cover the American president’s visit as well. However, during the week the plan had changed. Daybreak would not be bothering with his visit.

That was until I was at the airport ready to go home.

I received an e-mail to say that I would be coming back on Monday.

The flight would be a Ryanair one again. At least on this flight I would not have any kit because I would use the kit that ITN already has in Ireland.

No comments:

Post a Comment