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, 29 October 2011

The Queen's Garden Party

Thursday 27th

It was a relatively early start for a trip to Australia’s Western University.

A beautiful university.

I had drawn the short straw on this pool facility. The Duke of Edinburgh would be looking at some new state of the art mining technology.

There was only one place in the university where we were allowed to film because the technology was so new it was not in commercial production and there were lots of it that we were still top secret.

Meryl from the Palace was our escort on this jaunt which would only involve three of us from the British media, John Stillwell the photographer from the Press Association, Valentine Lowe from the Times and of course me.

Valentine gets his facts straight before we go into the University.

The machine that the Duke would be looking at.

Another briefing, this time about the machine.

As is customary we were mirrored by Australian media.

There was the potential for a similar incident with an in-house photographer like the one at the War Memorial.

In the small room we gathered together in the small designated area and were relaxed and chatting about how little chance there was of getting any of these shots on air or in a newspaper when a guy appeared with a camera, came over to the prime position where my my camera was sitting on the floor next to the Channel 7 cameraman’s and said, “I will be standing here OK! I am from the manufactures and need to get the shot of the Duke and the machine.”

We politely told him that we all needed to get that shot.

He seemed to be quite firm that he should have that slot.

He went off to do some other shots. It appeared that he was getting the privilege of shooting in the top secret room.

I had a quiet word with Meryl about a potential conflict. She had overheard, it would have been impossible not to and was aware that she might have to exert her polite Palace powers.

In the event when the guy came back he was as good as gold and we all got the shots we needed which were as predicted not the most exciting.

Then we scurried upstairs behind the Duke and went outside to get in position to do a walkabout should the Duke decide that he wanted to day hello to any of the small gathering of students that had turned up to see him.

He didn’t.

So after a departure shot that would like the rest of the morning’s material languish in the depths of the archives and probably never see the screen we got back on the bus and headed back to the hotel.

John edits his pictures, Meryl deals with e-mails, or is she on Facebook?

I got my material into the laptop and gathered Phil and Duncan’s material.

Phil had been to Clontarf College where the Queen had seen Aussie football, Aboriginal dancing and sampled kangaroo stew. That would be the material of the day.

Duncan had been there as well but was concentrating on the sound bites that everyone needed.

The joy of the egg timer.

I was running around like a fly with a bright blue bum. As well as getting the material in and shared I was having to turn my mind to the up coming CHOGM. The political team from ITN consisting of Tom Bradby the Political Editor, Sam the political producer and Chris the Westminster cameraman were winging their way with the Prime Minister on his aircraft to Perth.

So, before I needed to jump on a bus to go to the Queen’s Garden Party at Perth’s Government House I nipped up to the CHOGM media centre to collect my accreditation and then have a look at the workspace that we had for the guys arriving next morning.

I handed over my accreditation certificate in order to get my pass. The very nice lady at the accreditation desk could not find it in the white boxes.

She looked and looked and looked again but, there was no sign of it.

It must be in there somewhere!

Luckily for me David from the Palace press office was with me and he pulled the strings that he could and I was reluctantly but politely given a new pass.

Along with the accreditation came a very substantial shoulder bag filled with information

The media and delegate goodie bags waiting to be collected.

The sign says it all.

Early arrivals at work.

I then nipped in to see our friends at Channel 7 to check out the workspace that they were hopefully gong to provide within their little cabin in the media centre.

When I got there it was clear that there was barely enough room for them let alone the interlopers from the other side of the world.

The best option that I could see was to take early squatters rights on a space in the general broadcast area.

I would need to do that after having done what I needed to do at the Garden Party.

The pack going into the Garden Party.

Guests waiting outside.

Tight security if your going to get close to the Queen.

The lawn of Government House covered for the party.

There was a position in the grounds of Government House for me along with four Australian cameramen, two of whom were live.

The camera platform with the house in the background...

...and from the other side.

The BBC's Andrew Marr and crew were here doing a special programme.

The two old royal hands Arthur and Peter chat before starting work.

Andrew Marr and Amanda Platel.

I got the shot of the Queen and the Duke walking down to join the guests in the early evening sun at the party. The path was lined with uniformed school kids which to the minds of us cameramen and photographers rather spoilt the shot. It would have been a great shot if it had just been the royal couple walking alone along the path with the impressive mock Tudor building in the background.

Then it was speech time which I recorded. No speech by the queen so I was sure as the two speeches chuntered on that they would find themselves trodden underfoot on the digital cutting room floor.

The Queen and Duke then set off to mingle with the crowd. Peter would be covering all this. Even from my elevated position all that I could see was a sea of posh hats, well groomed haircuts and the odd smiling face. There was the odd flash of a royal face which was mainly the Duke because he is so tall. The Queen was lost in the crowd.

The event went on for a while. I did get some great shots of the Queen as she and the Duke left and they talked to a few people near to us.

When that was done and the shots ingested and distributed to Sky and the BBC I picked up two of my flight cases and taxied it the short distance to the Convention Centre to block off some space in the Broadcast Area.

The laptop stakes my claim.

All the toys are out today.

That done another long day was coming to an end.

The down side was that it would be an early start for me to film the arrivals at the meeting.

I would have to leave the hotel at 7 am to get in to the position for the arrivals starting at 8 am.

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