On 22nd June 2015 I appeared on ITV News Central (aka Central News).
Central were undergoing one of their periodic studio set ‘refreshes’ in line with all of the other ITV companies across the UK (yes, they still do exist) and their resident fan-of-nostalgia reporter Andy Bevan was looking to include comments from someone who was just as anorakky as him!
So I was nominated by my mate Steve Barnes from TV Ark to go into the studio and give them my opinion of it as a ‘TV Archive Expert’ (yes, I laughed too), but if that was what they wanted, then I was in like a shot!
I spent a lovely couple of hours looking around the studio and of course the brand new set – designed to match the ITV News corporate style, as used by ITN in News at Ten etc… You might remember that I’d been to ITV Central a few times before, most recently when we interviewed Bob Warman and Nick Owen for our ATV Today DVD. Andy Bevan was a big fan of these DVDs and he had produced a 3-part special feature in 2012 to promote them.
We filmed in and around the studio and the new set, recorded an interview much longer than what would eventually be broadcast (not unusual, I knew they wouldn’t use much of me at all, which was fine, after all I’m certainly not the focus of the piece), and I ‘officially’ gave the new studio my seal of approval (like I say, I laughed at that notion too).
While I was there I went and had a chat with Emma Holsey on the Sales team who I knew from my days at Heart FM in the very early 00s, and then I went home to wait for the report to be broadcast that evening (you can watch it below).
OK, it’s time to play ‘Spot the Difference’ between the next two pictures (captured off-screen by another of my proud telly-anorak mates Rob Lubbock).
In the first picture I’m sitting overlooking the centre of Birmingham. Then in the second picture, we’ve hot-footed it all the way across to the centre of Nottingham… and all due to the magic of Television!
Although, its a bit of a cheat, because you won’t be at all surprised to learn that I’m actually in the same chair because, remember, ITV’s Central News produces an edition for the West Midlands and another for the East Midlands, all from the self-same studio. They just alter the view on the screens behind them (and that’s the method by which you can see a West Midlands edition, or an East Midlands edition depending on where you live).
As for what I actually said, well looking back on it I now think that I was uttering a bit of nonsense, all that guff about too many colours being distracting and so on. Personally I’m a big fan of plenty of colours in a TV presentation set. I guess what I meant was simply that a local TV news set needs to focus the viewers attention on what’s being said, whilst at the same time showing that its quite comfortably in their area, and without being overly garish. Oddly enough, that’s exactly what happened when I ended up presenting the news across the West Midlands just a short time later (clue: scroll up to the picture at the very top of this page, and look elsewhere on this website too).
Right, here’s the report as it went out, but now including both versions of the quote they used from me. Basically “try and say the same thing, but in a slightly different way”.
I think I did all right…
Read and watch more about the story of Central‘s evolving local news studio here:
(ITV have actually removed some bits of it recently, including the clip of me – how rude – but there was nothing more than you see in the clip on this page, so that’s OK!!)
And finally, here are some of the photos I took when I was there. As it was all arranged at very short notice, I only had my mobile phone with me, and it wasn’t particularly brilliant (I have a new one now), but I did my best and they came out rather well.
I simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take some behind-the-scenes shots!
The ITV News Central team were quite happy with me taking the photos, though Andy Bevan asked me not to make them public until after the report was broadcast. I was more than happy to do that… in fact, I’ve now left it around 7 years!
The latest Central News is HERE
Thanks so much to Steve Barnes for arranging it, to Andy Bevan for being a good egg (as ever), and to the whole of the ITV News Central team for doing something like this.
It really was a lot of fun!