Sunday, 20 July 2014

Welcome to hell - the BBC One O'Clock News 1986, with director talkback

I'm one of a group of ex-BBC News types lucky enough to receive an excellent monthly newsletter produced by a former colleague, providing links to all current stories about the BBC in general and News in particular. A particular delight are the behind-the-scenes videos from the old days which are sometimes featured: they tend to bring back memories - not all of them good (I posted one of these videos here). They almost always make me laugh, and invariably make me wonder how anybody who spent more than a few weeks working in that environment managed to reach retirement age. The following video shows a One O'Clock News being broadcast in 1986 (coincidentally, the year I joined TV News). I remember being taken into the gallery during a similar broadcast during my first week at Television Centre - and wondering whether I hadn't made a dreadful mistake.

This following broadcast evidently went out on a slow news day. These often produced the worst chaos. The main voices you can hear are that of the director (the chap on the verge of a mental breakdown) who is not a journalist, but is in charge of what appears on the screen; the Production Assistant, who is responsible for timings and scripts; and the editor (Mike Broadbent in this case) who is responsible for content. The One O'Clock News had fewer resources and less preparation time than any of the major bulletins - consequently, the sort of mayhem captured by the following video was not untypical:

1 comment:

  1. This is certainly a good clip but I have few questions from a technical point of view being interested in this kind of stuff:-

    i) Who is in overall charge - the director or producer/editor?
    ii) Why was the producer happy to let a programme go out that seems so 'sloppy' with four VTs failing in total?
    iii) Why when the director gives instructions for Phil to read page 47 does he ignore this and move on to 51 which there is clearly no VT for?
    iv) Why are stories suddenly dropped - you hear them say 'forget the solicitor one?
    v) Why are such big gaps left between the page numbers? I appreciate they do this in case any other stories come in but here there are huge gaps of about 10 pages.