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.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Sunny Donetsk in the Ukraine

Sunday 10th June
Donetsk Ukraine

Even on a Sunday there was no time to enjoy the comfort of our beds.

The logistics of getting to Donetsk in the Ukraine from Krakow and then back again were a bit of a nightmare.

So, a special charter was sorted by a BAC Sports to get the media and a few fans there and back as smoothly as possible.

We were going to get to Donetsk on that flight but unlike the vast majority we did not plan to return on it after the game on Monday evening. We would do live broadcasts from Donetsk on Tuesday Morning and then go directly to Kiev for the next game on Friday.

We had to be at the media hotel, where we had picked up our FA accreditation for 6 am to get a coach to the airport for the flight.

Early morning coaches
Checking in at Krakow
Thank goodness it was not a Ryanair charter. It was a Greek flight though.

The Greek plan that we flew in on, arriving in sunny Donetsk
I Suppose they could do with the cash!

Other media waiting for the imminent arrival of the England team's flight
Apart form another day of dragging ourselves out of bed when at least another couple of hours asleep would have been nice things all went very smoothly.

There was just one small hiccup, not as bad a hiccup as we had been prepared for but enough to delay us very slightly.

With our trolley laden with kit Ravi and I went to get the dreaded customs carnet sorted out.

There had been several TV crews on the flight with us; BBC, ITV Sport, FATV, and a few others.

We were quite pleased when we arrived at the pristine new customs office in the shiny new airport terminal and there were only a couple of photographers in front of us getting there carnet stamped because it looked like it was going to be a fairly long process.

After a little wait the pair of customs officials came to us asked to see the carnet and more importantly the letter, in Russian from UEFA stating that we were part of the official media covering the Euro 2012 tournament.

I gave them the letter, the carnets and my passport. They looked at everything for a while, had a little chat pointing at various things on the documents and then nodding in, I was pleased to see, a positive way.

We thought it strange that whilst we had been waiting and during the examination of our papers none of the other crews, who had had their carnets done leaving Poland, came to join us.

I made a discrete call to see if they had decided not to bother given that they would be leaving enmass on the charter back to Krakow straight after the game.

That was indeed the case. We could not take that chance because we will leave the Ukraine later, by scheduled airline at a date that will be determined by how well Steven Gerrard and his boys do on the pitch.

The very new and spartan customs office
When all the copying, signing and stamping was done we met Maria our local fixer, got a hire car and went straight to get our accreditation at the media centre at the Donbass Arena.

It's not all about being glam on telly Tiff has to do a bit of real grafting..
..getting a hand from Maria our local Ukrainian fixer and translator
Sparkling new airport terminal
First glimpse of the stadium
Tiffany getting her accreditation sorted
The main walkway to the Arena
That done we went to out slightly quirky hotel to drop off the kit and change into something more suitable for the very bright hot weather that had greeted us.

According to Maria this was the first really good hot day of the year. Chances are that it would remain like this now for a while.

Next stop was for food before heading to the unofficial campsite/fanpark.

We checked out the location for our live broadcasts and where we could park our satellite truck which will also be used by the BBC in the morning. 

Tiffany had a chat with as many of the happy campers as she could find to see if they had any interesting stories and if they would join us in the morning.

Tiffany chats up Terry one of the camping fans
Ravi calls London
The good news for them was that it would not be as early a start as it is in the UK because the Ukraine is two hours ahead.

That was all sorted almost worryingly easily and without too much stress and difficult negotiations.

On the way back to the hotel we stopped of at the Golden Lion in the city which will be the focal point for the England fans. It was not exactly packed to the rafters but there were enough guys there having a good time to make it worthwhile taking a few shots.

Ravi on the phone to London once more
Back at the hotel after a few e-mails and calls what we would do tomorrow morning if everything went according to plan was agreed with the Daybreak programme in London.

I had spent a large part of the afternoon trying to sorting Tiffany out with a Twitter account and getting it set up on her Blackberry. Oh if only she had an iPhone it would have been so much easier and quicker, but hey it got done so now she can join the ranks of tweeters.

Although, she will need to go some to compete with senior producer, "my name is Ravi and I am a Twitter addict".

Then it was time for bed for Tiffany, for me to get this blog done, and Ravi to edit the few shots that I had done and get them sent to London.

I had to do my blog sitting on the hot sticky stairs outside my strange small but lovely air conditioned room because the internet signal was no good on the cool side of the room door but perfect on the stifling exterior. 

My quirky but cool room

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