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.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Penguin breakfast at Chester Zoo

Tuesday 2nd April

Presenter Laura Hamilton, producer Christina and I had done a quick recce yesterday afternoon at Chester Zoo when it was quite busy, to check out where we were going do the live broadcast.

It would be at the penguin enclosure.
Chester Zoo's Humboldt penguins, not giant otters. They are in the enclosure behind
It was a continuation of the little series we started yesterday morning showing what kind of things families could get up to during the easter holidays. A wee bit late for the majority of Scottish schools that were, unlike the English schools already on the second week of their holidays.

This morning was shaping up for April to continue on from the second coldest March since records began. 
Bit of ice to clear Christina

Once again the truck was already in with the dish up outside the penguin's area ready to go when we arrived.
Unmarked SIS Live truck ready to transmit
There were no cables to get snagged this morning because Greig the engineer asked me to use the radio link for the camera because he was not keen on the cable route into the enclosure.

This was fine by me and Jason, the sound recordist for this morning.

Getting the Digi-Link rigged took a few brief seconds. Getting it working correctly took a little bit longer. There was quite a discrepancy between the picture and the sound.

It took a little with the combined efforts of ITN's Master Control Room, Doug the Technical Director at Daybreak and Greig on the truck doing a bit of tweaking and checking until the picture and sound were in sync.

During this Laura was trying to keep warm in my car putting the final touches to her make up and checking the facts that she needed.

The family that had been roped into this morning's early start arrived excited about being on telly and looking forward to their day at the zoo.
The family; mum, dad, Dylan, Nell and Herbie arrive
Herbie getting kitted up to feed the penguins
We did one quick little tease in the food preparation area with buckets of fish and an into break shot of the penguins before we did the only broadcast of the morning.
One of the keepers checks the fish for breakfast
The penguin's breakfast Laura!
just before going on air for the tease
Jason, me..
.. and Laura ready for the broadcast
It went off without incident. Time for breakfast..
..but, not before a quick photo call,..
..the zoo staff, mum, dad,.. 
..Dylan, Nell and Herbie gathered at the truck.. watch the recording of the broadcast,..
..Laura returned her talkback unit to Jason,.. her feet..
..and toes warmed up.
Over talkback we heard Nick Dixon reporting from Lake Windermere. He was in the place from where yesterday after our live broadcasts at the World of Beatrix Potter I had taken a few still photographs of the Lake. 

Not that long after we had left there had been a full scale emergency. Two people, a mum and her daughter had been killed by what is believed to have been a leak of carbon monoxide gas on a boat.

It sounded like a horrible accident.

With no other assignment for me I headed back up the M6 to Edinburgh.

Laura went off in a taxi to do some pick up pieces to camera for a property programme she was doing before continuing on to Warwick for tomorrow's broadcast at Warwick castle

Christina took her hire car to straight to Warwick.

Jason went south two and a half hours to his home and would probably be scheduled to crew tomorrow's broadcast.

Greig drove the satellite back to its base in Malvern ready for its next job.

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