Thursday, 28 November 2013

Welcome to what used to be my world - Behind the Scenes at the Nine O'Clock News, 1989

I obviously wasn't working on the Nine O'Clock News at Television Centre the day Behind the Scenes was filmed - which just happened to be the day Nigel Lawson resigned as Chancellor just before the Six O'Clock News (very inconsiderate of him). I was either lounging around at home (we only worked three days a week in that glorious era of union-inspired Spanish Practices) or I was temporarily working for the newly-formed Business Unit (where I spent a miserable year) or I was at Westminster. I could have been the graphics producer, working on the floor below, I suppose, but I think I would have remembered that. 

Anyway, not every day was quite as fraught as the one you're about to see - but many were (the Lockerbie bombing and the King's Cross fire spring to mind):

As with most of the people in this film - all of whom I worked with, and the majority of whom I liked - I spent my time in the newsroom either bored out of my skull or running around in a frenzied sweat-panic, terrified of producing some legendary on-air disaster. I clearly remember editing at least one news summary where nothing was ready for transmission as the newsreader worked their way as slowly as possible through the introduction to the main story (I suffered from anxiety dreams for years after leaving News - I bet everyone in the above film did as well). 

But, in a horrible sort of way, it was great fun, and I've always felt genuinely privileged to have been given the opportunity to be part of that strange, adrenalised world for  over a decade. 


  1. Utterly exhilarating and terrifying. Extreme downhill blindfold skiing with 10 million people watching.

  2. Oddly, the news of Mandela's death came so late for the Ten O'Clock News, it must have been a bit of a relief - you just shovel on your pre-cut obit package and throw anything you can grab hold of on air. It's the stuff that happens two hours' before air-time that's really horrible because you're expected produce a seamless, well-crafted bulletin.