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.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Laura Hamilton gets in a spin at the Moscow State Circus

Friday 5th April

The sun was out. It was warmer than it had been for ages. The conditions were pretty much ideal for a pleasant relaxing journey down the M74, M6 and M62 to Liverpool.

I just needed to fill the car up before hitting the road.

The car had been giving me a little intermittent problem for the last few months. For no apparent reason it was loosing power and on occasions just cutting out.

When it lost power it would come back again after a few moments and when it cut out it started again first or second time.

Surprise surprise the garage could find no fault.

So, when the car died at a set of traffic lights and this time would not start it was obvious that problem coming to a head. At least there would be a proper fault which would enable the garage to diagnose the problem this time.

It was going to be much easier to diagnose than I thought.

I had only just left the petrol station after filling up. I had a horrible thought but, dismissed it because I could not have been that stupid.

Oh but I had.

The tank and engine had runny unleaded petrol sloshing around it, not the oily diesel that should have been quivering in there.

Feeling rather embarrassed I made all the necessary calls; to the AA for a tow, the garage to book the car in, the hire car company to sort out a replacement car and to the ITN transport department to let them know what had happened.
My ignominious start to the day
When I eventually did get on the road a good few hours later than I had wanted, the sun might still have been shining but my disposition was most certainly not bright.

When I got to my hotel in Liverpool things did improve. The hotel, although not five star luxury was in its own faded 1970s style perfectly acceptable. What helped this was the room that I was given.
The door to my room.. keeping with its name..

..and my status? 
The other good thing was that I could see this morning's location, The Moscow State Circus from my room widow.

I met Christina and Laura for a quick light dinner.

A week like this one that Christina and Laura had done is always very tiring because of the very early mornings followed by long journeys and then having to go to check out the next day's location.

Laura had also done a couple of days doing some pick up filming for a property programme that she was doing.

So, it was no surprise that she looked and felt a bit tired.

At least she had not yet done the thing that all the old hands at this lark have done at some time, which is sitting on the bed in the hotel room for a few moments and then waking up a couple of hours later having involuntarily crashed out.

Last night's recce was a total pleasure even if it did delay bed time by an hour or so.

The three of us watched the amazing skills of the performers and worked out which ones we could use on the broadcast for this morning.

Paul, the owner of the circus and his staff could not have been more helpful.
The show started..

..with unbelievable gymnastics..
..some great juggling..
..along with really spectacular juggling..
..amazing aerial antics..
..a bit of spinning on roller skates..
..naturally a bit of whacky clowning around..
..impressive football skills..
..keeping the Everton supporters happy..
..and the Liverpool ones as well of course

This morning when we arrived the guys were emerging from their trailers to get warmed up for their appearance on Daybreak and help us work out what we could do.
The sat truck outside the circus big top
Laura dons roller rather than ice skates this time..
..for an easy spin to start with..
..then it gets a bit more dramatic!
 Time to check out the VT she'd be linking into before going on air
As had been the pattern during the week there was only one main broadcast and a couple of teases and live shots scheduled.

Along with the performers we had a cast of children who had been asked to come along and join in the fun.
Trainee ball spinner/juggler
There might only have been one three minute main broadcast to do but, with nine performers who did not speak the best English, a stage crew who appeared to speak no English, a dozen or so kids and a technical crew to organise, along with our own little technical issues it was a bit of a manic morning.

At least our little technical problem which was that the truck's radio link for the camera was not set up correctly, which meant that it was transmitting the vision but not the audio, was sorted fairly quickly.

There was also the usual issue of the sound and pictures not being in sync. This was also dealt with pretty swiftly.
Sound recordist Matt helps Derek as he tweaks the Digi-Link
The only thing that threw us a bit was when we were dealing the sync situation, Christina was sorting out the kids and I was also talking to the lighting guy about what lights I needed, suddenly we were asked to be on air in three minutes time for a tease a full half an hour before we were expecting it.

Laura was not mic'd up nor did she have talkback on. The performers were in their own little huddles warming up or practising.

After a brief exclamation of surprise we started to dash about to get ready to do something in the less than three minutes that we had to work with.

This eruption of activity only lasted a few seconds because obviously the gallery could see that we would be going some to get set up. They made the sensible decision and cancelled the tease.

All the planned little teases, the live shot and the longer broadcast went without any hitches.

Shooting the final part of the main broadcast
Final group shot for the parents..
..and of course Christina got the obligatory photo to tweet

It had been an enjoyable morning. All that was left for me to do once the kit was stowed was to have breakfast and drive the four and a half hours home.

Laura and Christina dashed off in a taxi to get to Liverpool's Lime Street station for their train to London.

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