Mobile VT


Wimbledon 1985
The BBC received an emergency phone call from the Met Office that there was a huge storm about to strike Wimbleden in 20 minutes. The high camera on a crane came down quickly and shortly after there was a blinding flash of lightning accompanied by a simultaneous clap of thunder as the bolt hit the edge of the court. Almost immediately the heavens opened and we had the heaviest rain storm I have ever been in. The doors of LMVT3 fitted quite well but the quantity of water was so great the we had a cascade down the inside which started to flood the floor. Stairwells around the courts were flooded with people swimming through them and there were some dramatic shots of cameramen holding on for dear life against the squalls. At this point Martin Hopkins decided he wanted a music item with rain shots as the theme. It is the only time I had to edit one handed - the other one trying to hold the door shut tight enough to keep the internal waterfall to a minimum.

Last Pebble Mill at One programme 1985
LMVT4, the LMCR and a Lee Generator was hoisted onto the deck of HMS Ark Royal the aircraft carrier. There is a picture of this in the mobile VT section. This was to do the last Pebble Mill at One programme cruising around the Solent. We were invited by the naval officers to the wardroom for a drink in the evening. The system was very simple - you had to fill in a chit of paper for what you wanted to drink. 2/3rds G&T seemed to work quite well. If you couldn't fill in the chit they didn't know what you wanted to drink so couldn't serve you. A foolproof self limiting system. Unbeknown to us, the Rigger Drivers were also being entertained by the sailors. This resulted in a competition. Our Riggers decided to push a camera dolly up the takeoff ramp while the sailors would push a piano up. Luckily so much drink had been taken that neither side managed to get to the top. The next day the Ark Royal steamed off into the Solent and Steve Preston and I rolled into the van feeling a little under the weather. We needed strong coffee. Steve opened the door to empty the old dregs under the truck. We had no idea just how fast we were cruising with a strong wind across the deck. The door shot open followed by Steve exiting very quickly, luckily still holding on to both the door handle and the coffee pot. Unfortunately the pot lid flew off across the flight deck just as a Harrier was about to bang off. The navy were not amused. I could just see the headlines, 'BBC shoots down Harrier with coffee pot lid'. Later I asked Steve to get some more tape from the front offside locker, just behind and above the driver's door. Off he went but was away for ages so I went to have a look. I found him shouting 'help' into the wind while holding the locker door half shut against the cascade of 1" video tapes. All that stopped him going over the edge and a long way down into the sea was a wire rail at waist hight. If you look at the website picture you can see the setup with LMVT4 right on the edge of the deck. (Photos below show LMVT4 on the edge and Steve with his new sailor friend.).
MVT on Ark Royal Ark Royal 85

Eric Cantona does the flying kick
This was at the Crystal Palace v Manchester United match. The programme was only for MOTD so although I had 5 VTs recording in the truck there was only me and Graeme Lee to do the slo-mos without an AP. In addition we had been given an experimental computer/hard disk setup to evaluate to see if it would do slo-mo replays before the invention of the LSM. Unfortunately no instructions were included but Graeme thought he had got it recording on the only camera not covered by the other 5 machines.
During the match Cantona got a red card and was sent off. No one knew why so we stopped all the VT machines to try and find out. At this point Cantona did his famous flying kick into the crowd. Talkback got very loud as the director demanded a replay as he had not covered it live. We still had all the machines in replay or stopped as the two of us were trying to find out about the sending off. Graeme had a brainwave and wondered what the computer had recorded. All we had to do was get it to replay. This Graeme managed while I recorded its output on a proper 1" machine. By magic there appeared Cantona's flying kick at which point the computer crashed not to work again. We decided it would be better not to mention this to Mr. Cantona as the event was splashed all over the media.