Question Time at MBA

On Thursday MBA was visited by the BBC Question Time team. On Wednesday they started rigging lighting and preparing the set. Then, on Thursday, the Production crew arrived at 9:00 am. We were asked to observe what happened and were lucky enough to be able to talk to members of the crew and production team.

During the day we spent a lot of time helping out in the production office with the Head of Production, Danni Lloyd. She was really nice and told us that she had started out in local radio and then worked her way up to her role now. As Head of Production she is in charge of sorting everything out and making sure it all goes smoothly. She organises venues, is in charge of budgets and makes sure everyone knows where they need to be and what they need to do. Danni told us she had filmed in lots of places such as China, Miami and New York. She emphasised how much she loves her job and said her favourite venue was St Paul’s Cathedral, but she has also worked in unusual venues such as Wormwoods Scrubs Prison and a ship in Plymouth- the HMS Albion, which we thought was amazing.

We also had a chance to talk to the Floor Manager, Stan Royle. He was really nice and was happy to talk about his job and some of the experiences he’d had during his time working at the BBC. His job is to make sure everything is going to plan, keep people on schedule, and make sure all people involved in the show are comfortable. He started  off his career wanting to be a television set designer because he was good at art and was bored of his job in a tax office, but there were no available openings for him, so he joined the BBC as a runner. He then went on the tell us about some of the experiences he had whilst in his current and past jobs. One of the amazing experiences he was given by the BBC was to be able to stand on the Grand National race course and oversee an interview with the winning jockey, but he has also had to deal with a lot of difficult situations including being dragged by a horse, having to rescue a cat on set during a live recording and having to deal with a seagull that kept dropping a stick on a skylight. He told us he has seen unruly crowd/audience members and had had to speak to them but had never had any problems with the panel on Question Time.

The director, Rob Hopkin, then  showed us where he worked in the one of three huge lorries. He showed us what all the buttons are used for on the vision mixer and how to switch from one camera to another. Rob said another lorry would arrive later with a huge satellite disk to send the programme to Glasgow, from where it is broadcast.  He told us about the hierarchy of importance when talking to presenter David Dimbleby in his ear piece. Rob, as director, is the highest up and then the editor is next. After that we met the unit manager, Peter, who is in charge of the whole technical aspect of the show and claimed he had the best job in the world. Joel, a cameraman showed us his camera and said he supports the camera in the left (camera 2) with a different shot for example of three people if camera 2 is zoomed in on one person. Two of the cameramen have been involved in filming the  X Factor and Britain’s got Talent.

Later, we met Benjamin Zephaniah and got pictures with him and David Dimbleby. We also met a lovely makeup artist called Aimee Florence. Sadly, she got very ill when she was fifteen but whilst she was in hospital she spent a lot of time practicing makeup and people bought her lots of products to practice with. From there she found her passion which is amazing. She was telling us about how her favourite type of makeup genre she’d done was horror; she once camped in a wood for a horror film with Orcs in it. Aimee said she had also worked on Broadway, as well as with Lily Allen.

They started filming the show ‘as-live’ at 8:30pm before it was relayed to Scotland to be broadcast for an hour starting at 10:45pm. We got asked to observe what happened and were lucky enough to be able to talk to a few of the crew members.

We had a brilliant day and met some amazing people, we are very grateful to Mrs Micciche for this opportunity. We will never forget it.

Report by Anya and Ella.