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.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Long snow day

Monday 14th January
Abington South Lanarkshire and Danby North Yorkshire

The forecast was for a "white hell" over the next few days.

Newsdesks like nothing better than a good snow story. The pictures are good and it is easy to fill a lot of air time.

Resources from all over the country were mobilised by all the news organisations ready to cover the chaos that was about to ensue.

ITN had hired a veritable fleet of four wheel drive vehicles so that their crews could respond to the inevitable command, "(insert name of remote village) is cut off by the snow. Get there now! We need shots as soon as possible!"

Yesterday it started happening. Debi with cameraman Alan had been sent out down the M74,  the motorway that snakes out of Scotland becoming the M6 as it gets close to England, in their shiny new hired all terrain machine.

The snow fell for a few hours in tje afternoon giving them the chance to get a few shots which when seen by an excited news team in London ended up as a full report in the ITV news last night.

I had been put on standby for live broadcasts from Edinburgh.

Apart from the short window of snow fall that Debi and Alan filmed the forecast deluge of white had not quite materialised.

In Edinburgh the sprinkling of snow that had fallen had actually started to melt.

As a consequence I had the feeling that there was little chance of snow in the morning.

The arrangement was that in the morning early we would go to wherever there was snow.

When I went to bed at 10  pm after a quick check call to the Daybreak Newsdesk the roads outside were a dark black and the sky was fairly clear with a few thin clouds hiding the stars.

When I got up at just after 3 am not much had changed. The roads were black. It was possible that the clouds were a little bit thicker.

The flurry of phone calls  between  Daybreak, Debi, Alex the satellite engineer and me was considerably heavier than any snow nearby we decided to head south to the M74 motorway junction at Abington in the hope that at least some of the snow that had fallen yesterday would still be there.

Driving south along the A702 there were a few short stretches where snow was visible. There might well have been a lot on the hills over on the right of the road. However, they were hidden from view in the darkness.

When we got to the services there was enough snow around to make the point that there indeed had been a snow fall.

The only thing was that as well as being very cold it was raining fairly heavily rather than snowing.
STV's four wheel drive satellite truck
Debi kitted up for the weather...
.. and ready to broadcast..
..just time for a quick tweet
There had been a bit of snow over parts of the country, perhaps not as much as the journalists in their warm offices would have liked but, just enough to justify the facilities devoted to the story. Daybreak alone had four satellite trucks, four correspondents and four sets of camera crews assigned to the story.

At least I just about had time to dry some of the gear off before I hit the road again. As soon as we had finished our broadcasts for Daybreak Debi was heading north to Aviemore at the behest of the ITN.

I was off in the opposite direction.

I had the feeling of a wasted journey as I drove down the east of the country. It was a relatively clear night and not too cold.

Then I was subjected to a bit of rain. The deeper I got into England it gradually turned to sleet and then at last my near four hour journey was becoming justified. I got to North Yorkshire where the snow was thick on the ground and falling in big flakes.

I met Gregg in a snowy Great Ayton. Sure it was white but, nothing spectacular and all the roads were quite clear.

Up on the Moors it was a different story. 

The snow was thick and there was a covering on the road. 

In the little village of Danby Gregg and I did a few interviews with folk at the local pub, The Duke of Wellington. 

When we got back down from the moors at around 10 pm Gregg took the tape to send to London in the morning before he did a series of live broadcasts from another snowy North Yorkshire town Guisbourough.
Pretty trees..
..on a roundabout near Guisborough

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