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, 27 March 2013

Live Budget reaction with Daisy McAndrew and a Ken Bruce lookalike

Thursday 21st March

The budget is an event that happens every year, the date is known about, the format is pretty fixed and these days, thanks to various intended and unintended leaks most of the content is known about before the Chancellor stands up.

However, it appears that how it should be covered does come as somewhat of a surprise.

Late on yesterday afternoon, the day of the budget I was dispatched post haste to Harrogate and then on to Wigan.

The budget pre-filming that I had been taken off of on Sunday had been done by another cameraman and shown on Daybreak yesterday morning. Sam, a married lady with two kids from Wigan and Lisa a single mum with two kids had given their thoughts on what they would like to see in the budget.

It transpired that it might be a good idea to get their reaction to what was actually said by the Chancellor.

So, I did my five and a bit hours drive south from Edinburgh to Harrogate, meeting Rav the producer who had done a similar drive north form London at around eight thirty in the evening.

I set up the lights and we did a quick interview with Lisa.
Rav interviewing Lisa
Rav went on to get to a hotel near Leeds and I went across to Wigan to my hotel near Haydock race course which I got to at around midnight .

At four thirty this morning I drove the short distance to Sam's house where we would do the live broadcast from.

As soon as I arrived and Peter the satellite engineer had his big HD dish up and working we sent Lisa's interview from last night down to Daybreak.
Peter's truck with its big dish
When Fred arrived he did a little interview with Sam which was recorded down at Daybreak in London.
Fred doing the interview
A short while later Daisy McAndrew arrived.
Daisy showing Fred the front of the Mail with it's composite shot of George Osborne looking like Maggie Thatcher
I set up Sam and Keiran's little dinning room for live interviews that Daisy would do at around ten past seven.

The plan was that she would talk to Sam, a local businessman and Angela one of Sam's neighbours who is retired.

The local businessman, a butcher arrived as I was busy getting my little little lights set up, Martin the sound recordist, who bears a striking resemblance to Radio 2's Ken Bruce, was fiddling with microphones, Peter was dashing about distributing talkback units and Fred was chatting to Daisy about the plan for the morning.

He sat down on the sofa looking a little unnerved by all the bustling activity. After a short time of listening to what was going on he said that he had been told by someone who had called him yesterday that he would be finished by six thirty.

When Fred confirmed that the one and only planned broadcast was not going to be until after seven he said that he had to go.

We rather thought that he had developed a bit of stage fright.

Given that the broadcast was probably going to be less than two minutes, now being left with just the two interviewees would be fine.

However, when Fred called London to let them know that one of our contributors had bottled out he was asked if he could rustle up a substitute.

One of the things in the budget was a reduction in the price of a pint of beer by one penny.

Sam's husband, Kieran works in a brewery so he was the ideal and in fact the only candidate.
Martin gets Kieran mic'd up
He was prepared, if not exactly ecstatic, to do it.

We got everything set up and prepared for the cue.
Taking notes before the live broadcast
Just before we went live a voice from London in our ears told Daisy that she had one minute and twenty seconds for the whole broadcast.

It was going to take some doing to get an introduction done and interview three people in the time of one twenty.

We got the cue from the gallery and off Daisy went. She had no sooner finished her short intro' and started the first interview when the call came over talkback to wrap up.

There was a slight edge of panic to the disembodied voice. George Osborne had just arrived and was now sitting on the sofa in the Daybreak studio. Perhaps they though that he might run away if Lorraine and Aled did not start talking to him soon.

She carried on talking, getting to Angela and Kieran as quickly as possible.

The now slightly more high pitched voice burst into our ears again, "When you can!"

Daisy handed back to the studio.

The interviews had run over the allotted time but only by a few seconds.

We had done our one and only broadcast of the morning. The job was done.

Angela had to head out. Sam had to get the kids to nursery. Keiran, who had just come home from his night shift in the brewery was keen to get to bed.

We de-rigged, said our thank yous and got out the house.

Daisy needed to get to the station to get a train back to London for an appointment that she did not want to miss.

So, the rest of us looked forward to a nice early breakfast back at the hotel.

Unfortunately for us the powers that be in London would not let us leave the location until the end of the programme in case there was something to report on from the Wigan area.

Peter's truck might be big but, unlike the smaller trucks it is full of racks of equipment with no space for a bit of shelter.

So for the next hour or so we enjoyed the chilly morning sun on the streets of Wigan before daisy was allowed to get away to catch her train and we eventually got back to the hotel for a bite of breakfast. At least it had not rained or snowed on us.
Martin the Ken Bruce doppelgänger

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