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.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Dolphins, spice and seaplanes

Monday 16th

Up and out of bed too early for breakfast as none of the breakfast areas were open yet I headed down to Atlantis’ Dolphin Bay to get ready to record the “Downsizers” exercising and playing with dolphins.

Early morning view of Dubai from the hotel beach.

I might not have had any breakfast but at least I had had some sleep.

Paul the editor, “Wurzle” to his friends had been up all night with still a few hours of editing to go before he would be able to get to bed.

Wurzle nearing the end of a marathon shift.

In the halcyon days of golden time and penalty payments he would have been reaping huge financial rewards of doing a 36 hour shift. These days his reward would simply be the satisfaction of knowing he had done a good job and the pieces had made air.

Producer John and I were taken by Maria the PR lady from the Atlantis to meet dolphin trainer Yuri to be shown what the dolphins could do and sort out how that would fit in with what we could get the guys to do in the water with the fantastic animals.

Trainer Yuri. Maria and John on the way to see the dolphins.

When the “Downsizers” arrived they were brought in through the back gate so that they could not see the dolphin branding and the sleek grey animals were out of sight.

Daybreak’s fitness guru Elise then sprang the surprise that Richard, Jordana, Laura and Amy would be working with dolphins.

Dolphin Bay in the morning light and dolphins in hiding.

Thanks to Yuri and his fellow trainer’s skills four of the dolphins then appeared and did huge leaps out of the water.

John and Elise.

The trainers show us what the dolphins can do.

It had taken a fair bit of trying to work out how we could make their appearance a surprise. We were really chuffed because it worked a treat. The surprise and excitement was genuine.

Simon and I then shot the guys in the water with the dolphins doing their spinning, splashing and dancing from dry land.

Along with the guys I had changed into a wet suit and put it to use by joining them with a little GoPro camera to get some shots from in the water of the antics.

He must be a producer Maria, he's on the phone a lot.

Simon and Nigel record Richard's reaction to the experience as he speaks to Emma.

Once we had finished at the dolphins there was time for us to get a late breakfast and also almost time for a very knackered Wurzle to hit the hay.

Next on the agenda was a trip to the very small old part of Dubai with the “Downsizers” and dietician Faith Toogood.

In the Spice Souk Faith spoke to the guys about the benefits of spices and herbs.

They are a tasty substitute for salt and fat.

Christina and Faith check out the spices.

Faith explaining a spice fact to Christina.

Set up ready to go for a bit of spicy chat with the Downsizers.

When that was done we had another surprise up our sleeves for the guys.

They were intrigued when Christina demanded that they give her their passports.

We had to do that because the seaplane company needed them as identification for the booking.

We did not let them know that until we drove up to the seaplane dock on our mini convoy of golf buggies.

Transport to the seaplane.

The seaplane.

Nigel and I went up with them. Simon was grounded to get shots of the plane taking off and landing.

The guys taking in the views...

..and what views they were. The Palm.

Our hotel, The Atlantis.

Some of the massive buildings.

Heading for Downtown Dubai.

When the bright blue of the day had faded into the inky arabian black of night we arrived back at the hotel to get things prepared for the live broadcasts in the morning from beach by the hotel.

In the function room doubling as our production office there were lots of discussions about what would be the structure and content of the mornings broadcast and composing of scripts.

During this process Sarah was leaning her lines and rehearsing with energy and excitement.

John and a rejuvenated Wurzle had embarked on the editing process.

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