There’s not many moments in your life you can look back and say ‘wow’ it was well worth it. I’m still recovering from my aching feet, early morning hours and running around from the last week and the final day.
Exactly a month ago, when I went to work on the ITN news desk for the royal wedding, little did I know what I would be doing and where. After a month of editorial research, relentless interview chasing and production work of the British royal family and everyone linked to them, I was given the responsibility of being Producer at Westminster Abbey with Presenter and royal correspondent for ITV news Romilly Weeks.
A lucky spot I’d say close to the BBC and Sky News TV crews, I realised only the day before, I got a chance to experience views of not only the British, European and foreign royals arrivals but also the newly weds Will and Kate
Obviously, it was a much earlier start to the day than expected, but not as bad as the camera and technical crew. They were there since four O’ clock that morning all set up and raring to go. I got there for seven, picked up my comms unit, some food for the presenter and crew, and was there for seven. Something I learnt in my first week at ITV, to be a good producer get the guest speakers, editorial research in place, and logistics right but to be a great producer, also feed them and find your crew a place to sleep. As Sarah Hill, Foreign News Editor at ITN puts it ‘ The job of a producer is part editorial, part logistics and part baby sitting.’
It was a cold morning and everyone was freezing, quite unusual especially after experiencing some good weather in the past few days. The live interviews arranged before the service went as per schedule. Our presenter interviewed the grocers frequented by the couple in Bucklebury ‘The Shingadias’ called Hash and Shan Shingadia. This was followed by an interview with Edward Gould, Kate’s former head of Marlborough College who said ‘ she was popular but understated’ while she was studying there. We also had a quick chat with Tom Bradby, ITN political editor, a trusted friend of Prince William, and the lucky one to get an exclusive to the engagement in November last year.
In the meanwhile, I also saw interviews going on with the other TV crews next to me. Apart from the pre scheduled interviews, I thought this was a great chance to poach some of the interviewees that were at BBC or Sky after their interviews. Things you have to succumb to get the job done. I was lucky enough to get hold of Gareth Thomas, Welsh professional rugby player. Boris Johnson, Mayor of London had to decline as the Abbey were closing doors for their guests to be seated.
After the service we also got a chance to speak with Ian Thorpe, Olympian swimmer and founder of Fountain for Youth in 2000, Harry Meade, friend of William, Van Straubenzees’, parents of Thomas Van Straubenzee, who is said to have helped Harry with his best man’s speech. Not forgetting to mention Patrick Cordingley and his gorgeous wife, and Ben Fogle, NBC Presenter and friend of William, who declined again. He is also said to be a look a like of William and mistaken by people passer bys on several occasions.
Unlike most who might have caught the event on TV and saw close ups of guest arrivals and their fashionable attire, it was hard for me to glean from the point I was at. But I did get a chance to get my own live footage and photographs. And the best of them all, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leaving the Abbey after the church service
It didn’t end there, this was followed by a trip to our studios at Canada Gate, Buckingham Palace to deliver some tapes. I had to battle crowds to actually get there, though i should be the last person complaining .My press pass helped me breeze through the crowds, some of the advantages that comes with the job. Having got there in the nick of time I got a brilliant view of the couple leave Buckingham Palace in the vintage Aston Martin , which I thought was a happy and sweet ending to the whole ceremony.
Emma Hoskyns, Programme Editor at ITV was in tears when it was over. This was the only thing she was living, breathing and sleeping in the past six months. I can imagine how relieved she was. Steve Nicklin, Unit manager got in the champagne and it was celebration time.