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.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

It's a dogs life before heading to Mozambique

Thursday 26th

The Channel 4 political news guys were in the lounge at Edinburgh airport. I was good to have a brief catch up with Ken the cameraman. We used to be office neighbours in the days when all the TV news organisations had bureaux in Scotland. Now, full time there is only me left out of the four teams that used to be based in Scotland.

The BBC of course have their squad and Sky News still maintains a presence although that has been drastically scaled back over the last years.

It had been the story on the referendum for Scottish independence that had brought, not only Ch4 north but, a whole host of international broadcasters and press.

Whilst they were all busy interviewing Alex Salmond and pouring over what the whole thing might mean to Scotland and the rest of the UK I was preparing for a trip out to Mozambique.

I had though that I would have had lots of time to sort out the paperwork that needed to be printed, get the few bits and pieces of supplies that I might need and get my malaria tablets.

Of course that plan was doomed before it started.

I had a little job to do first down in the Lake District.

So on a slightly wet miserable and dark Tuesday morning Gregg, Mike the sound recordist and Lawrence with his satellite truck congregated at the Dog Section of Cumbria Police’s Penrith HQ.

It was a nice little story about three pedigree German Shepherd puppies that would be, if they succeeded in training, fully fledged police dogs.

There was only one main broadcast to do and a couple of live shots.

The good news was that there was a dry and warm indoor location. The bad news was that it was a bit cramped, dog kennels are nor renowned for being spacious pads and the noise from the neighbours was deafening.

The very helpful police dog handlers reorganised the accommodation taking the loudest barkers outside where they were quiet.

They must have sensed something dodgy out us to have make such a racket.

I got the lights and camera set up and we had a go at doing a bit of a rehearsal. It is often true, the thing that is said about working with kids and animals.

Two of the dog handlers with the three puppies.

I was looking like being a bit of a nightmare because the little cute fluffy things were about as lively and curious as you can imagine.

Cute and a bit lively.

Gregg and Mark, the police dog handler sergeant quite literally had their hands full as we tried to have a go at practising the simple broadcast.

One of dogs squirmed and squeezed it’s way out of Gregg’s arms. We got it back. By that time one of the others had made a break for it from Mark’s hands. We just about got that one back when the first one got away again and was keen on making friends with the furry mic cover on the camera.

This little bit of mayhem continued until Gregg knew what he was saying and Mark was prepared with the answers to the questions that Gregg would ask him.

There was a little while to go before the broadcasts so we let the puppies have a wander about to satisfy their curiosity.

I was prepared for a bit of shambolic camerawork if the dogs behaved as they had during the run through.

With just a few minutes to go and having had a standby from Erron in the Daybreak gallery the mini beasts were rounded up.

Almost as soon as they had been picked up one by one they settled down in Gregg and Mark’s arms and fell sound asleep.

The broadcasts came and went with hardly a movement from any of the three puppies save for one or two dreamy twitches.

Gregg, Mark and the puppies as they start to fall asleep.

The viewers would have had no idea of the running around, grabbing and trying to stop any of them squeezing past us that had gone on only a moment or so ago.

Fast asleep, but they did not stay like this for long!

Things got back to normal about five minutes after we came off air. The three were once again all over the place playing with anything that there noses took a fancy to.

Channel 4 guys were off on their flight to London City a few short moments before my flight to London’s Heathrow.

The flight was not full and arrived ahead of schedule after battling against a strong headwind.

There was a bit of a delay getting off because the air bridge had broken down a tantalising two meters from the door of the aircraft.

There was now a race to see if a repaired air bridge would get us off via the front or a set of steps coming from the other side of Terminal 5 would arrive first and see us disembarking into the chill bright morning.

The engineers won and after a little bit of a wait we were off and in the terminal using the air bridge.

There was supposed to be a car waiting to pick me up. When I emerged through the UK Arrivals door there was no sign of a sign with my name on it or any text from the car company.

A quick call sorted it all out and I met up a small taciturn burly eastern european who had been waiting at the International Arrivals area.

Guys the referendum has not been held yet!

At Daybreak I picked up a few bits and pieces of kit and my anti-malaria tablets. It is prime malaria season in Mozambique at the moment.

There was just time to join Simon the departing director, Clare Nazir, about to head for the excitement of Media City in Salford and a few other much loved colleagues for a lunch that was all to short before producer Michelle and I had to dash to Heathrow as fast as traffic would allow to catch our BA flight to Johannesburg.

There we will meet up with our presenter for the trip Natasha Kaplinsky and the team from Save the Children. We will then all get a flight back up north a bit to Nampula in the northern part of Mozambique.

We had just gone through all the formalities of customs carnets, paying the not too excessive excess baggage and arrived in the departure lounge when we saw the departure board flash up that the flight was going to be delayed by an hour and a half.

Bugger. If we had known we could have spent more time enjoying Clare and Simon's company.

Next stop Jo'burg then. We should still make the connection.

No comments:

Post a Comment