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.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

More campsite capers and off to Kiev

Tuesday 12th June
Donetsk and Kiev

There was no stress this morning at the gate to the campsite. The wrath of Maria had worked wonders.

The only slight hiccup to start with was that the sat’ nav’ in Keith’s satellite truck had lost the location of the campsite. So we had to make a small detour to collect him and go on a convoy of two to the location.

On our way to the campsite
The plan of action for the morning was much simpler and less hectic than yesterday’s full on morning of doing live broadcasts into the sport’s bulletin, the news bulletins and the two manic run-a-round broadcasts for the programme, not forgetting the short teases and live shots thrown in for good measure.

Today we had only one sports bulletin broadcast, one programme broadcast and two short teases on the agenda. So, a relaxed stress free morning ahead then.

My friends the gremlins decided that would be best if that was not the case.

Their victim this morning was Keith and his not so trusty Upod satellite dish.

This type of satellite dish is designed to be fully automatic and under normal circumstances almost all the engineer needs to do is press a couple of buttons on a computer screen and a few minutes later the dish should be pointing at the satellite in orbit and transmitting a signal to it.

This morning however, the ghastly gremlins grappled with the GPS system so that the dish did not know where it was.

 Keith then had to manually coax the thing to do what it should have done by itself.

This as everyone knows involved a few swear words and a bit of control alt delete.

The dish is up but, not pointing where it should be pointing

Keith on the case
Although we had prepared London for the worst we were up and running in time without missing anything.
Campsite this morning

Tiffany and Rav go through e-mails from London on the Blackberry
Using a bit of height to look over the tents for the sports broadcast
Just two vehicles this morning, no BBC
Maria then took us to a place to eat in the centre of the city for a late breakfast/early lunch.

The trams are a sight on the roads of Donetsk
The restaurant
The waiter brought a basket of bread and two little dishes that had a solid whitish substance in them.

In the heart attack stakes it appears that the Ukraine can give Scotland a good run for its money.

Not that many Scots really eat deep fried Mars Bars or pizza but according to Maria, and who were we to argue with her the stuff in the dishes was a Ukrainian national dish, lard.

No butter or sunflower oil spread for them just straight forward animal fat to spread on bread.

Don't think Tiffany fancied the butter substitute..
After a bit of sustenance, not the lard sort, we went back to our quirky little hotel with the statue of the Good Soldier outside it to get packed for the trip up to Kiev.

The hotel Prague
The Good Soldier
The Good Soldier is a humorous book about the futility of conflict by Jaraslav Hasek set in World War 1.

Signs of Euro 2012 are all over the place
The roads are busy..
..and it might not be the most beautiful city..
..but, it does have some fantastic buildings..
..sparkling in the sun
Rav was in constant contact with the office in London checking what was wanted for tomorrow's program and what we would be able to do.

We had heard, at the game yesterday that the England band, which had played at all the England games over the last eighteen years had been banned from the stadiums by the Ukrainian authorities even though UEFA had no issue with them.

The band, fronted by the mad, but lovely Bernie Clifton is well know to us. I have filmed with them many times at both football tournaments, the last being the World Cup in South Africa and the Olympics in Beijing.

The decision from the office was that we needed to get them on the programme. That would be much easier said than done. We were heading to the airport  to fly to Kiev and we did not have any of the numbers for the band with us.

Rav and Tiffany would need to get on to that as soon as we got to Kiev.

En-route to the airport I had my stills camera on my lap and from time to time I would pop off a shot of something that caught my eye as being interesting.

Like this..

..or this. Waiting for business. Which one is your money on?

As we got to the airport I yelled out, "It's the band!" and took a photo if their van as I saw it on a road a little way from us.

Chasing them round the airport roads
Rav went into off road rally ninja mode and sped after the van. We got to a corner  where we slowed down. Tiffany jumped out Delta Force style and ran waving her arms signalling the van to stop.

The guys piled out and spoke to her.

Coming out to chat to Tiffany..
..can't help bursting into song
It was not possible for them to be on the programme with us until Friday because they were not fong to be where we were going to be.

So, in the carpark of the airport Tiffany and I did a little interview with them and some shots as they sang Tiffany a song and generally took the mickey out of us.

A lovely bunch of guys.

We did not have time to hang around because we had a plane to catch.

The flight to Kiev was not from the nice new state of the art terminal. No it was from the old grey communist era terminal a short but sweaty walk away.
Outside the shiny new terminal
The old terminal outside..
...and inside
A bit difficult to get a trolley up the steps
Only one way to do it
No hi-tech air con in the terminal as we waited in the line to check-in. At least most of us waited in line. It would appear that Russians in particular don't do the queuing thing. They just head to the front of the line and get dealt with. 

Waiting in line
The check-in girl's eyes widened in horror when she saw the two trollies full of kit.

When each of the ten pieces had been weighed and put back on the trollies the adding up of the weights  caused a bit of giggling.

We thought that there would be stress when I gave her the voucher to say that the cost to the excess baggage had been prepaid. This voucher was of course in English.

A rather stern older lady was called over. The piece of paper was studied for quite a while accompanied by the obligatory pointing, discussing, nodding and shaking of heads.

Excess baggage stress
Studying the excess baggage voucher
The stern lady then got on the phone, had a brief serious conversation and then wandered off.

She strolled back and I heard the words da and harashow which I took to be positive. I think that they mean yes and OK. I was right the baggage labels started to churn out of the machine behind the small desk.

The plane to take us to Kiev
Tiffany gets her expenses up to date on the flight
It was getting to evening when we arrived in Kiev to be greeted by Arthur. He would be our fixer and translator for our stay in Kiev.

Arthur and his colleague load up the kit in to the cars
Kiev skyline
When we got the the hotel and checked in Rav went off with Arthur to check out locations, leaving Tiffany and I to get something to eat and go to our beds.

I could not resist it. A chicken kiev in Kiev.

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