Watts Happening

Perfect Morning
06th October 2009
Imagine this: walking barefoot along the beach, the sun on your back as the waves come crashing in. The surfers are bobbing around, making the most of their ocean playground before going to work. It’s October and you have nothing on your mind but what to have for breakfast.

That was my reality this morning, strolling along the beach at Surfer’s Paradise. Add to that a sighting of whales playing about 200 metres offshore and you’ll appreciate that it was an amazing start to the day.

I’ve been on the Gold Coast for the weekend, in the role of official photographer for TC, Fox and Marto as they took part in the half-ironman triathlon (2km swim, 90km cycle and 21km run) under the Queensland sun.

It’s the first sporting event I’ve been to in a long time where I haven’t been working and I loved it. It was made even better by the fact that they all made it to the finish line in one piece and there were no unscheduled trips to the hospital.
Variety is the spice of life
23rd May 2009
Variety is the spice of life. Fact.
Last week, I found myself photographing the Olympic champion and world record holder over 100m and 200m, Usain Bolt. A cool guy, relaxed and friendly, he responded with a smile when I called from behind the camera: “work it baby, work it.” He was posing with Ronald (my friend and commentator) who, I’m sure, is one of the few people Bolt’s met who’s taller than himself.

Having completed the interviews with Phil Jones, Mr Bolt then posed proudly with a football scarf presented to him by PJ, giving me one of the best photo opportunities I could have hoped for (see the portrait gallery).

I also had the pleasure of meeting Haile Gebrselassie, one of the greatest distance runners of all time. I challenge you to find a smilier man. It’s been proven to me time and again that many people who are truly successful are gracious and genuine. Gebrselassie shook hands with every member of the crew before sitting down to smile his way through the interview with Phil. Having seen him run so many times from the back of the BBC truck it was a real privilege to meet the man himself.

Talking of privileges, I got to don a boiler suit and hard hat and ride a cherry picker on Monday. I was photographing the CPD Powerline crew busy at work replacing electricity cables. I even got to try out as a water diviner (pictured). I’m told the two rods should have swung towards each other and crossed over if water was in the vicinity. Mine didn’t move, but the pro’s did. I've chosen to believe that I wasn't having my leg pulled and am now working on being at one with my surroundings in time for day two of the photo shoot.

I’m back in Manchester now, for the paralympic world cup. Keep your eyes peeled for the Oscar Pistorius film that I shot in South Africa, going out during the coverage on Monday.
South Africa We've Left
08th April 2009
I tasted my first ever cappuccino yesterday. Not just any old cappuccino I’ll have you know, but one with spices and froth and made by Goran. He’s the man responsible for assembling our crack team in South Africa: Dusko, the former Yugoslavian sharp shooter, South African Tony who doesn’t like ties and the silent but deadly ‘M’, our driver.

We were gathered in Goran’s office to say our goodbyes. Whilst sipping cappuccino, and working on my froth moustache, my circle of friends with names ending in ‘o’ doubled with the introduction of Vesko. Suddenly, I felt like I was in a very bad soap opera for former Yugoslavian ex-pats. This last week, however, has been anything but a drama. It’s been hard work and exhausting, but relatively smooth considering.

When we left London half of the trip was organised, 8 days later we returned clutching hours of rushes waiting to be knocked into shape in the edit suite. We’ve had so many highlights during our sojourn in South Africa, most of which are detailed in the previous watts happening entries. To round it up simply, everybody we’ve met, has been fantastic.

As well as the people, there are everyday moments that stand out. In fact, I’m sure the following snapshots will continue to make me chuckle for years to come. You know the kind of thing, driving along an 8-lane highway and opening the sliding door of the van to film the city skyline rushing by. Unfortunately, the only the thing that went whizzing by was Dusko’s jacket, flying out the door faster than you can say “catch it!” Clearly, the obvious thing for Dusko to do was run up the inside lane (no hard shoulder) into the oncoming traffic to retrieve it. He sauntered back towards us as if he was on a Sunday stroll, jacket and phone intact. Of course, Africa being Africa, everyone just went round him, not one beep of the horn.

Then there’s the time the guys were filming and Matthew was home alone in the crew vehicle. He called me over: “Laura, Laura” in hushed tones. Busy thinking about the shot list, schedule or something, I was slow to respond. “Laura!”

I turned to see him pointing at the glove compartment. I couldn’t make out what was inside, so Matthew picked it up. Of course, it was a gun. I mean, keeping a couple of empty CD cases, a road map and some used tissues is so passé when you can have a pistol in your glove box. Ironic too, that our driver had a weapon to protect us when he clearly wanted to scare the life out of us on ‘Death Highway’ to and from Jo’burg. At least ‘M’ entertained himself, turning to laugh every time we flinched, shouted “slow down” or just adopted the brace position.

Our week in and around Johannesburg will live long in the memory. Places are what they are because of the people in them (and the sunrise), so for me, this has been a very positive experience. As for the future, we’re already planning our next project, all I can say is, watch out Afghanistan, we’re on our way!
Soccer City
05th April 2009
We were up before the sun this morning. As we drove along the highway, passing a massive township in the west, the sun popped its head up and over the horizon in the east. I love sunrise. Especially when the colours are as amazing as they are here. At least it went some way to compensating for the lack of sleep.

So, why were we up so early I hear you cry? We had to get to Centurion Park to film the fans going to the South Africa v Australia one day cricket match. The gates opened at 8 so we had to be there before they all disappeared and we're staying 2 hours away.

We got what we needed from the South African fans and rewarded Matthew and Tony (our soundman) with a bucket of coffee, Dusko recharged with a double espresso in a large cup with hot milk on the side and a glass of water for the berocca, whilst I had an OJ and pot of tea with one bag, no milk please.

Refuelled and ready for action, we returned to the roads and headed for Soccer City. It's due to host the opening and closing matches of next year's football world cup. What's done looks amazing, but, as you can see, there's a little way to go yet before it's ready to welcome the world.
A Day In The Life
04th April 2009
Be beep.
Be be be beep.


What seems like one second later…

Be beep.
Be be be “Alright, stop! I’ll get up,” beep.

It’s day 5 on our South African odyssey. First stop today, Johannesburg, to see Nick Kotch a British journo who’s made Africa his home.

I always take time to set up a shot. After 3 days it’s clear that Dusko shares the same attention to detail gene so getting everything to look right involves a fair bit of time and fiddling. This morning we ushered Nick outside with Matthew and proceeded to move all of the furniture round in his living room, using 3 lights and plumping numerous cushions to get the look we wanted.

45 minutes after we arrived, Matthew began the interview with Nick and was 2 questions in when, the dog of the house, a cheeky little Jack Russell, decided to take its place in the shot: jump, boing, stretch, she settled along the top of the sofa in the top right of the shot. Nick, her slave, was the only person who didn’t see her trying to claim her 15 minutes of fame.

We stopped the tape, the dog was locked outside and we conducted the interview without any further incidents. Nick proved not only to be a great contributor but a brilliant host too, and once we'd finished recording he made us a pot of proper coffee. Dusko, not to be outdone, went to the van and came back with a box of home made cookies. Ready to sit down and tuck in, my phone rang.

“Hi Laura it’s Philip here.”
“Hello Philip, how’re you?”
“Good. Michael Hussey (Australian cricketer) has a window at 1.30pm can you get here for that?”
“Yes we can. Thanks, see you soon.”

Pack up the van, jump in, drive across Johannesburg.

Arrive at the hotel, 4 of us have an opinion on where to park: over there on the left, no right, not that way, head for the exit, there’s a space. Park. Phew.

Unpack the kit. Into the hotel, up in the lift, set up in Philip’s bedroom.

Hotel rooms are generally horrible to film in. They’re too small, have a huge bed in them and dodgy artwork on the walls that you can’t avoid. We swapped the chairs round, moved the table and got rid of the lamp. The attention to detail gene was not happy. With 10 minutes to go before Mike Hussey arrived, we reset the shot completely, got him into position and were ready to roll at 1.30pm. Did I mention that the attention to detail gene has a perform under pressure partner?

For the record Mr H was incredibly nice.

Pack, thank you, goodbye, down in the lift, out to the car, pack, drive.

We filmed in and around the city in the afternoon, culminating in Matthew’s piece to camera on top of a hill overlooking the city. What you won’t see when the feature goes out on Inside Sport are the two guys lounging on the grass about 5 metres away from Matthew, smoking some very pungent herbal cigarettes.

Pack. "Thanks guys". Meet our taxi driver Eric. Home, eventually. Order breakfast boxes for the morning. Call people, email people. Set the alarm for 0530. Sleep.


Breakfast and Mr Big
02nd April 2009
Last night I was very excited about the breakfast on offer at the hotel. I’d already planned what I would have in what order. I’d start with the fruit kebab (melon, pineapple and strawberries on a skewer), followed by a small bowl of crunchy muesli and then maybe some beans on toast. It’s a bit different to the usual bowl of Kellogs at home, but we rarely get to eat properly throughout the day when we’re filming. So, it’s normal to stock up at the start and end of the day and grab a snack on the run during it.

It was the thought of that breakfast that helped me drag myself out of bed this morning, after very little sleep. The smell from the kitchen had already woken the crew and they’d followed their noses to the verandah, a bit like the bisto kid following the gravy. By the time I arrived at the dining room, the guys had finished their gourmet meal and my tastebuds were jumping up and down in anticipation of the fruity fruit. Just as I sat down and ordered a pot of tea with one teabag, my phone went.

“Hello Laura, it’s Jitendra from India!” Jitendra had been helping me fix an interview with Mr Big from the IPL (India Premier League) and he’s always very enthusiastic with his greeting.

“Hello Jitendra, how’re you?”

“OK. How soon can you get to Johannesburg?” (Where Mr Big was staying).

“We can leave now and be there as near to 10am as possible.” (We’re staying an hour and a half away.)

“OK. Come now and Mr Big will be here.”

This was great news. This is the reason I didn’t sleep last night. We had no definite day or time for the Mr Big interview and one of our four films is totally reliant on it. Finally we had it, after days of speaking to numerous helpful people, we’d landed the big one, but at what cost? I’ll tell you. I had time for the fruit kebab, but that's all, I missed out on everything else on offer.

On the plus side, we made it to Jo’burg, filmed in one of the most exclusive hotels I’ve ever been in (thank you Michael for accommodating us) and then headed over to hang out with Oscar ‘Bladerunner' Pistorius (more about our time with him later). It’s been a long but very productive day with a few ticks appearing on the shot list. Hmmm, I’ll definitely deserve a good breakfast in the morning.
01st April 2009
There are some things you don’t really expect to do in your life, sitting chatting to the Afghanistan cricket team is probably one of them. Add Matthew to the mix (see South Africa, we’ve landed) and a Serbian cameraman named Dusko and you’ll understand that this South Africa trip is way out there in terms of new experiences.

The Afghanistan team is creating ripples in the cricket world as it makes steady progress towards the 2011 World cup. In the space of a year they’ve become contenders to qualify and, as well as that, a friendlier team you couldn’t hope to meet. What a joy they are to work with. We’ll be spending more time with the guys over the coming week, so I’ll keep you posted on their progress and you’ll be able to see the products of our labour, as shot by Dusko, on Inside Sport sometime soon.
South Africa We've Landed
31st March 2009
As we disembarked the plane, crumpled and creased after 12 hours of flying south, I turned to my travel companion and said: “Well I can safely say that I never thought I’d be strolling through Johannesburg airport with Matthew Pinsent.” But I was and I did, all the way to the queue for passport control which stopped us in our tracks, for quite some time.

At least 4 other long haul flights had landed within minutes of us, causing consternation to all the new arrivals. It’s that age-old conundrum; you know the one. Whether you’re in a traffic jam, supermarket queue or standing in line with post-flight swollen ankles, clutching your passport, waiting to be granted entry into a country thousands of miles from home: which queue is going to clear quicker? And why, when people are arriving in their hundreds, don’t the authorities open up all of the desks? After all, they do at the supermarkets.

“Bing bong, would all available cashiers please return to their tills.”

“Bing bong, would all available customs officials please return to their booths and help the tired travellers on their way.”

“Bing Bong, no chance. I’m off on a break.”

What? No! Really? Is she really closing? With all of these people waiting and backed up to the escalator? We’ll all topple like dominoes if any more come down.

So, with only 3 counters open for our section of the queue, we anxiously watched as our people failed to move to the vacated counter quickly enough, therefore leaving an opening for the person at the front of the rival queue to jump in and take control of our escape route to the baggage hall. As the minutes passed our cries of: “go go go,” “keep your eyes on the prize” and “oh no, the space cadets have lost us our place” became livelier and louder. But we didn’t move any faster.

Needless to say, we made it through customs, experienced the usual joy that you get when you’re reunited with your suitcase and felt that extra tingle of excitement when we spotted the taxi driver. For the record, Matthew won the: spot the name board game as we emerged into arrivals.

Now we’re ensconced in our hotel, planning the week ahead, occasionally looking up from our makeshift office on the verandah. It’s sunny, mid 20s and a long way from London. Just how I like it!
President Obama
05th November 2008
It's 2 hours since CNN announced to the crowds gathered in Times Square that Barack Obama’s the new President of the United States of America. That was at 11pm, and the place erupted: Obama, Obama, Obamaobamaobama from the crowd and beep beep beep from the taxi drivers. It’s 1am now, and I can still hear people shouting out the name of the man who promises change and carries the hopes of not one nation, but many across the world.

Today was truly exciting. In fact, the whole week has been. This election has dominated conversations on the streets while I’ve been walking the length and breadth of Manhattan; and my interpretation of events over the handful of days that I’ve been here is that nothing but an Obama win would do: expectation and inevitability mixed with a dash of fear and ‘what if he doesn’t win’ thrown in.

The sheer numbers that came out to watch and witness the result speaks volumes. The cheers for Obama and boos when McCain won a state were pure pantomime, but it was no laughing matter, not until the final announcement anyway.

Never before have I been so absorbed or excited by a Presidential election, let’s hope the next 4 years live up to the hype.
Room With A View
04th November 2008
I’ve been dancing around a Manhattan apartment to that classic 1975 hit tune ‘The Hustle’, celebrating the completion of my Calzaghe masterpiece for Inside Sport. There are times when I can’t believe my luck. Having suffered sleepless nights due to the painfully loud plumbing in my Midtown hotel, I’ve moved to the East side for a couple of nights.

This is the view from said apartment, which has been kindly provided by an out of town New Yorker. My week here has been brilliant due to the people I’ve met, from friends of friend to the staff at the post-production house, who have all made me welcome. Whilst the skyscrapers are great to look at, I would love to feel the warmth of the sun on my back more often than they allow. I think I’ll be heading up to Central Park for a wander tomorrow. Now, back to the dancing. Altogether now…Do the hustle!
Waking Up In New York
30th October 2008
Yesterday I shared my personal space with a 20-year-old Jewish guy and an older businessman who supplies vegetable hair colour to retailers worldwide. I had seat E on a Virgin flight to New York, the first time in years that I haven’t had a window seat when flying solo. In fact I can’t remember the last time that I was ‘in the middle’ (flying parlance for squashed in a space far too small for one human being let alone one and 2 halves because inevitably the people in the seats next to you will try and invade and steal valuable centimetres especially the men who always seem to sit with their legs wider than God intended but they do it on the train as well so it’s not a surprise.)

The 20 year old’s legs were way too long for the space provided by Mr Branson, so he tried to combat that by leaning them in my direction. At such times I followed the in-flight health instructions by moving my legs ferociously, bend and stretch, rotate ankles, extend leg out and whack, get over your own side. The businessman’s legs were less of a problem. It was his arms that I had to contend with. We had to jostle for position on the armrest, taking in turns to sit with our elbows pinned to our sides.

It wasn’t the best or worst flight in the world, but the queue for passport control was of gargantuan proportions. An hour. It took one hour to clear immigration. When I finally made it to the front of the queue, my friendly immigration officer told me he had a communications diploma and did a bit of work in telly before realising that it didn’t pay. I sympathised (oh how I sympathise) and went on my way smiling, with just the bag carousel craziness to contend with and a niggling doubt that my airport pick up may have given up on me.

The bags were there, jumbled and deserted on a stationary conveyor belt, which had long stopped moving having spurted out the final bag at least 30 minutes before the passengers made it to the baggage hall. It’s always such a joy to see one’s bag. Joy and relief that I won’t have to spend another day in already tired clothes. With one last hurdle remaining I wheeled my trusty pink and red suitcase to the arrivals hall with trepidation. Would my taxi be there? Out I strolled into a trickle of faces (previously a sea, I’m sure) scanning the signs. Laura Watts, does that say Watts? No. Can’t read that one, no, no, no, nearly at the door now, there it is! Laura Watts! That’s my lift to Manhattan. My eyes moved from the sign to the person holding it, he can only be described as one of the most curious looking people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. My driver. Round and well, round and kind of squashed looking. Welcome to New York!
Mourinho in Milano
01st October 2008
The press conference at Inter Milan was mad, I have never experienced anything like it. We were kept waiting at the gates to the training ground until Mourinho was ready for us. We'd been warned that the room for the press conference was very small and that we had to get there early. We did, but had to queue up in the car park with the rest of the media interested in hearing Jose's words of wisdom ahead of the Champions League match. When we got through the gates, the crews that knew better were dumping their cars and running for a space. Off went Andy and Dennis, to get us our spot. Having bagged a spot, Andy turned his back and another cameraman was moving his tripod from the vantage point in the line of cameras.

Up on a podium, watching all these grown adults running round like headless chickens was Mr M, cool as cucumber, enjoying the scene in front of him. He's a man in control. He's just great. He speaks Italian fluently, and therefore, manages to put the media in its place in any language. Oh to be able to attend more of his press conferences, he's entertaining, enigmatic and egotistical. He's honest too and that's so refreshing.
Vieira in Milano
30th September 2008
Four weeks after returning from Beijing, I’m off again, this time, to Milan. My Mission is to film the charismatic football manager, Jose Mourinho, formerly of Chelsea, now in charge at Inter Milan. So far, the pursuit of Mr M has taken me to the world famous San Siro Stadium and resulted in a pleasant encounter with Patrick Vieira. Inter Milan train today ahead of their Champions League match, be warned Mr Mourinho: We’re on our way.
Game Over
26th August 2008
When asked if I’ve enjoyed the Olympics, my response is a resounding yes, no hesitation. It’s been a brilliant month; I’m exhausted (and fully intend to sleep all day on Tuesday) but happy. I’ve had the privilege of working alongside very talented producers, directors, VT editors and LSM operators for 3 weeks. The atmosphere in the VT area of the IBC has been busy but calm, fun and friendly: Basically everything television should be. It’s a team game and I think we played it brilliantly. We even got a medal! I’m serious. We’ve all been awarded a participation medal and a certificate. If there are enough requests, I’ll take a photo of it for you.

It’s also always a privilege to work with Webby (and I’m not just saying it because he’s my line manager) who’s steered the BBC ship through precarious waters with his able shipmates Dave, Jonny and Rebekah. Thank you to all of you for your hard work, which has made this Olympics a fantastic experience.

It’s been a time for new friends too: Richie, Sean, Garry, Dan and McFloatey to name just a few and I mustn’t forget Angela: This morning I was woken up at 0630 by the phone. Angela, the volunteer on our bus had come to the hotel to pick up a gift I had for her. Reception wouldn’t let her through so I padded out to the lobby barefoot and braless to give her a present. The surprise and joy on her face when I gave Angela the gift is an image that will stay with me for a very long time as will her kindness and smiles on the bus every morning – even when we were grumpy and tired. Angela has given up her college holidays to volunteer and be a part of the Olympics and consequently won’t see her family (who live out of Beijing) for two terms. So thank you Angela and your fellow volunteers for being so friendly and welcoming.

There are so many highlights, most of which I’ve shared with you already: Christian Malcolm reaching the final of the 200m (oh yes, and being there to witness that guy Usain Bolt breaking world records over 100m and 200 metres.) Sitting with Jonathan, Dicko, Stu, Crammy and Brendan in the commentary box; sitting with AJ, Adrian and Steve in the swimming commentary box; working with our fab gymnastics team; organising a trip to the Great Wall for zillions of BBC people and them all enjoying it (what a relief) and being able to stand and marvel at the World’s greatest stadium. There’s also one that I haven’t told you about yet: The day that I walked to work barefoot in the rain. It wasn’t just a shower, it was a typical tropical storm with torrential rain but hot and humid, and the IBC was sooooo cold all of the time I knew my shoes wouldn’t dry in there, so off they came and out came the toes, splish splash through the puddles. I won’t be doing that in London.

Now I’m homeward bound. Reluctantly.

The conclusion of the Olympics marks the end of another four-year cycle and for those of us in sport it’s always time to re-evaluate. There’s thinking to be done, memories to be filed, photos to be printed and new plans to be made. Life is about priorities though and Mum’s is what I’m having for tea on Tuesday. As long as it doesn’t involve an 18-inch dragonboat of sashimi preceded by dessert I’ll be happy.

Thank you for reading and being a part of my Olympic games.
Love Laura x
19th August 2008
It always surprises me when people say about our top athletes: "Oh they seem arrogant." You only see their work persona, the one that's doing the business on the track. Some strut, some stare out the opposition, others just visualise their race and focus on nothing but the lane ahead.

Whatever their approach, each individual has to believe they're the best in order to win. There are only 8 competitors on that start line and they're competing to be the best in the world. Imagine it, the best in the world. Why should arrogance be a surprise?!

For those of you who think that, here's the other side: Olympic silver medallist Darren Campbell made a point of being in the mixed zone to console/encourage/support Christian Malcolm after his 2nd round race in the men's 200m.

Christian's athletic career has run concurrently with my job in sport, so I'll be in the stadium later, to see him in the semi finals. It's very special to know someone who's in the race, fingers crossed.
19th August 2008

I'm back late after watching Christine Ohurougu win a gold medal in the 400m.

I'm very proud of Christian for making the final of the 200m. What a moment for him. At least if this is my last Olympics I'll have plenty to remember it by.

Photos of Christian and Christine in the Beijing gallery.
17th August 2008
There was a false alarm yesterday, when the time of Paula Radcliffe’s press conference was issued a day early, sparking speculation that she may have been forced to pull out of the Women’s marathon. Luckily, it was just an error and she was in the starting line up this morning.

It’s an amazing feat that Paula is even in Beijing, having been diagnosed with a stress fracture during her Olympic preparations. After failing to complete the marathon in Athens, it was a brave decision to make too, to start a marathon not fully fit must be daunting, to start it knowing that you have to finish it irrelevant of the pre-existing injuries must add unimaginable pressure.

With this in mind, to see Paula slowing and stopping to stretch out her leg, we feared the worst as we watched from the IBC. But she continued to run “on one leg” as she told Phil Jones. This to me deserves absolute respect. To finish had to be the aim.

We’ve seen Paula, Mara Yamauchi and Liz Yelling (amongst others) slog it out over 26.2 miles so frequently that I think we forget how far it is, how arduous it is and how much mental and physical strength it takes not just to complete the course but to prepare for it day in and day out. To witness Paula’s battle with injury today, served to remind me just how difficult it is and how much we take for granted because she’s dominated at the top level for so long.

So respect. Respect to Paula for risking it and for not sitting down. Respect too, to Mara for coming in 6th, equalling the best result by a Brit; and to Liz Yelling for taking a big fall, picking herself up and continuing to the finish, whereupon she was promptly ushered off to hospital to check for damage to her ribs. I admire their strength of character enormously.
Ripple Effect
16th August 2008
It won’t surprise you to know that every one working here really loves their sport. We get handed anything at the last minute from archery to wrestling and the interesting thing is, that no matter what it is, we get sucked in to it most of the time, oohing and ahhing with the best of them.

Sometimes something extra special happens. You hear “come on” from one of the darkened corners of VT. Today it was from David and Vicky in the swimming channel.

“Come On,” a little bit louder and insistent. By this time, someone else has looked to see where the calls are coming from. They join in. By the time Becky Adlington was at 700m in her race, everyone in VT was watching the swimming feed.

The excitement as she pulled ahead of the World record (she was already clear of the field at this stage) was infectious. She touched the wall, winning gold and breaking the World Record and everyone in VT was cheering and clapping.

Well done Becky.
16th August 2008
I can only imagine what it must be like to be the person on the receiving end of the roar of eighty thousand people. Just standing in a stadium when the crowd is in full voice is an incredible experience and one everyone should enjoy at least once in their lifetime.

I'm privileged to have heard the fans sing for Wales at the Millennium Stadium, cheer on their teams at the Rugby World Cup in Australia and support their athletes at numerous World Championships, Commonwealth Games and Olympics, but nothing compares to the noise the crowd made when Usain Bolt won the 100m in a World Record time.

Amazing. The Birds Nest didn't disappoint on the inside either. It really did come to life, pulsing with the energy and aftershock of hosting the fastest man on earth.
Live and Alive
10th August 2008
There are moments in live television that are spine tingling. Friday was one of them. After months of anticipation and preparation we were about to go on air with the opening ceremony. As Aileen counted us in to the programme, the adrenalin was coursing through more than one body in the building. Watching my friends direct in the gallery made me feel like a part of something special.

It’s calm but wired in that darkened room. Everyone’s preparing their next move and hoping that technical gremlins are all flushed from the system so that the presentation team can hear their instructions from the director and editor through the noise of the capacity crowd in the Birds’ Nest. What an amazing ceremony it was too. I still can’t believe how that many people can drum in unison. If it had been a Far Side production, the man with the triangle would have really been in trouble! (Dad, you may be the only person who gets that line.)