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:

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