The Queen Vic (36K)
Last day at the BBC in the Queen Vic; That's not an old fridge we are leaning on, its an EMI 2001, a type of camera I operated for 16 years. L. to R. Jeff Naylor, Kevin Coe, Ian Adrian, Geoff Feld and Neil McLintock.

My Career as a Cameraman


From 1974 to 1990 I worked for the BBC, begining as a trainee and leaving as a Deputy Camera Supervisor. 1990 to 1991 was spent at Mersey Television as a Lighting Cameraman on Brookside and Waterfront Beat.
My interest in directing began at school when I joined a film making group. Soon I was instructor on the course, and the teacher asked me what I was going to do when I left. He made me believe that I could get into the business and even might make it to director. Thank you, Mr Armitage. My career in TV began in October 1973 when I landed a job at the BBC as a trainee camera assistant (Training course A19 - the first thing ex-Beeb employees ask when they meet!). I transferred to Crew 2 at BBC Television Centre at the start of 1974, which at that time was led by Frank Wilkins and was renown for its work on Drama - indeed one of the first studio dramas I trained on was Churchill's People - now famously included in "TV Hell". Studio drama was still made in the traditional multi-camera style pioneered by the likes of "Armchair Theatre" and the first handheld cameras to come in to the Centre had to be operated by OB cameramen for political reasons - but by the mid '80s BBC TVC cameramen were turning out some of the finest handheld camerawork, mainly due to experience gained making Top of the Pops every week. It took me five years to get a cameraman's grade (some people before me had taken twelve years due to the over-recruitment inspired by the opening of BBC2). In that time I undertook a six month attachment to Pebble Mill in Birmingham and gained confidence by operating cameras on Pebble Mill at One. Other highlights of the time included working on The Old Grey Whistle Test - my first "as live" music show camera was on a Rory Gallagher concert (repeated as a tribute when he died - I was the cameraman at the back with the very long hair). As a cameraman, I worked on a number of sit-coms including some written by my favourite comedy writer, John Sullivan - Citizen Smith, Just Good Friends and Dear John. Other memorable moments included an exploding Dalek and Live Val Doonican shows. I had a spell on Crew Seven run by the highly acclaimed Ron Green and survived Stewart Morris' traditional shouting at Camera 5. Around 1982 I joined Garth Tucker's Crew One, who were making some excellent dramas, including a play called Roller Disco State directed by the brilliant Alan Clarke. I joined Roger Goss' Crew Eight, one of the crews to start off Eastenders Albert Square (38K) (Episode 3, in fact) which finally got studio cameramen out into the open air! I then joined Geoff Feld's Crew 10 where I became a Deputy Camera Supervisor. There I worked on the best of studio based drama remaining, got the hang of Steadicam (two 7 minute live Rap numbers on one camera!) and became used to being on the front of the Nike crane on TOTPs. By now the BBC studios were contracting at an alarming rate, and faced with a diet of quiz and chat shows I decided to apply for a Lighting Cameraman's job at Mersey Television after a chance discussion with Peter Boisseau who had both lit and directed the show. Pleased but surprised to get the job, 1990-91 went by in a blur - Camera Boat (32K) soon after I arrived the show went three nights a week. My favourite memory as a cameraman was shooting on location in Rhodes and a typical Brookside moment when we used a Pedallo as a camera boat and the PA commented "I can't do continuity and pedal at the same time!". And then I was offered the chance to direct....
GTVC I continue to be a member of the Guild of Television Cameramen. You can visit their web site at www.gtc.org.uk

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