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Pop Idol, Fame Academy et al.

So many similar sounding shows. At the very beginning of these I clearly remember being called to TLS Edit 1 to sort out some fault or other and the post production team were all sat there. As we went into the suite Nigel Lythgoe told the editor to halt all operations and so there was nothing going on, no sound and most likely no moving pictures on any screen. I thought to myself ‘this is a bit odd, I wonder what’s going on here, what can possibly be so secret that we engineers can’t see it?’. So we sorted out whatever the fault was in complete silence.

It was quite some later when I realised they must have been editing the first series of these programmes where of course any ‘leak’ would have been catastrophic to the narrative. And being first the on screen debut was quite sensational in the UK.

The only other thing I can remember was one of the selection rounds taking place in Studio 1 on an afternoon - can’t remember which series/title - there may have been other selection days and rounds for sure. Girls and boys were (apparently) coupled up and danced around the studio floor in large groups. Bit like They shoot horses don’t they.
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Sir Bruce Forsyth RIP

I was sat in telecine one day and was idly switching around on a monitor looking at what was coming into the building from far away and my eye was caught by a dimly lit studio. I wandered around to MCR and asked what it was and they told me that it was an incoming feed from LWT and that they were about to record a segment for Brucie's Big Night. The segment to be recorded was 'Beat the Goalie' which was taking place in one of our own studios with a local goalie and contestant. It was a Thursday night and as this was being recorded in London I don't quite know why we needed a return feed from LWT as it did not actually involve Bruce at all.

I wandered back round to telecine and looked at the picture on the monitor again. It was quite simply an unlit, unset studio with a single EMI2001 camera with LWT on it's side panel in the middle of the studio tilted down almost as though it was gracefully at sleep. Graceful would not be an understatement. My mind wandered back for a moment to the days when, as a boy, I would marvel at programmes made by that company as they all seemed so exciting, so 'showbiz'. I vowed there and then that someday I would work for that company. And I did, for very nearly 30 years and it was the time of my life. So perhaps In some strange way I owe a special 'thank you' to Sir Bruce for that initial spark.