Jen, Steph and Nik are the guilty parties, and I’ll post an update as soon as I’ve narrowed down their list of suggestions by removing those involving nightclubs, potential physical harm, or indeed both...
Yesterday, I paid a visit to the BBC studios in Newcastle, just a few hundred yards from where I work (perhaps I should have included the word “currently” for the sake of factual accuracy). I was met by Hannah Bayman, a regular on Look North both as a reporter and weather presenter, who had agreed to show me round the studios and add one more to a growing number of ticks on the list of completed tasks.
We had a walk round the offices, then chatted about the vagaries and extremes of the British weather, before heading off to what Hannah called “the gallery” (effectively the control room) to watch the live lunchtime news bulletin, which was being presented by Colin Briggs.
The fairly small room was dominated by a wall of monitors showing the various static camera views of Colin, alongside concurrent national broadcasts and filmed inserts. A handful of people sat at the consoles ensuring everything ran smoothly. Anything spoken by the director or his team would be relayed through the presenter’s earpiece, so there was very little noise, more an air of calm assurance. The job that particularly interested me was that of overseeing precise continuity, counting down to the end of a report and ensure seamless transitions throughout the programme (and to prevent Colin being seen yawning right across the region).
Now I’m not naive enough to think that the job is anywhere near as easy as the lady made it look, but if the essential criteria comprised “an ability to count down from ten” and “a willingness to press buttons and flick switches”, then I’d definitely be interested should a vacancy arise!
There is certainly a lot that goes into making even a short bulletin, but to my untrained eyes everything seemed to run perfectly. The programme ended, the director thanked everybody, and the room emptied every bit as quickly as Hannah said it would—so as well as the team’s collective technical expertise, potentially there’s a seriously good 4x100m relay squad in the making I’d say.
Hannah then took me to the studio. I sat on Colin’s chair (it swivels) and the Look North red sofa (very comfy and probably available with a DFS double discount), and then stood in front of the black wall that miraculously appears to the viewer as a map of the north east at weather time. Hannah then went and found a willing volunteer to take a few photos—rather randomly he also volunteered to set up an arm wrestle against a local cage fighting champion as one of my challenges. Really? With my guns?!!!
One of the hardest things about this kind of undertaking is knowing you need help to make things happen, but have to effectively get in touch with strangers to ask for that help. Irrespective of a charitable cause, it’s quite humbling that there are people who are willing to give up their time for someone they’ve never met. I’ve been very lucky so far, and I want to finish by saying a massive “thank you” to Hannah—you were wonderful company and I’m really glad I had the chance to meet you x