Another busy month with a multitude of jobs running at the same time. The X-Factor and Strictly continued throughout the month with eleven crew being tied up every weekend with those two shows.
We also did a one day job for PRG on Robbie Williams: BRIT Icon with Al Gurdon as Lighting Director. Shot at The Troxey it saw eight of us covering four front spots, two side spots and two back spots on PRG's Ground Control system.
Next was a return to Salford for the second block of Let it Shine. Crewed this time by Joey Gurdon, Ant Wilson, Cara Wiseman and Neil Dolman. The same set up with four climbing spots, two fronts and two sides. Lighting director Gurdip Mahal, working direct to BBC.
At the same time we also had six crew covering Children in Need at the BBC Elstree Studios. Two climbing spots and four gantry spots covered the seven or so hours of live transmission. Mark Thaxter, Charlie Patten, Lulu Elliot, Karen Hilton, Emma Smith and Sarah Bath made up the crew with Gurdip Mahal as Lighting Director. Working for Regent.
The final job of the month saw a six person crew going out to Paris to follow spot the Victoria's Secret fashion show taking place in the spectacular Grand Palais. Our crew was bolstered by the addition of ten French local crew spot ops. We covered the two main front spots using Super Troupers, two down stage side spots using the PRG Ground Control system and the first two side spots using PRG Bad Boys in their follow spot configuration. We were in Paris for eight days covering multiple rehearsals and two thirty minute live shows. Lighting Directors were Al Gurdon and Jon Kausner - our primary direction coming from the latter. Working direct to PRG.
October saw a number of jobs starting and officially marked the beginning of 'silly season'. The first job of the month saw myself (Dave Scrivens) going to Verona with Gurdip Mahal and his lighting team. My role was to call ten Italian follow spots operators on an ice show for Intimissimi. Set in a very grand amphitheatre in the middle of a very beautiful town in Italy. We completed three live shows which were filmed for marketing purposes.
We then had a short stint back at Salford for a Michael Bublé show at HQ1 with three spot ops working the show. Ant Wilson, Neil Dolman and Cara Wiseman made up the crew. LD was Al Gurdon. Working for PRG.
Next to start was The X-Factor. With Nigel Catmur taking over as Lighting Director we were called in to provide the spot team. Five climbing, one gantry and one of the new PRG Ground Control spots are being used. The spot team consists of Mark Thaxter, Karen Hilton, Emma Smith, Cara Wiseman, Sarah Bath, Ryan Dell and Dora Shaddouh. Additional cover provided by myself (Dave Scrivens) and Ant Wilson. Working for Talkback Thames / Fremantle. The last series to come out of Fountain Studios.
Strictly Come Dancing continued throughout the month with the crew being supported by Kate Smith and Lulu Elliot on duty for cover where needed.
The month also saw a three person spot team working at the BBC Elstree Studios on a new show with Gurdip Mahal / Chris Rigby. Little Big Shots is a talent show format for children. Three gantry spots covered the action. Staffed by Ant Wilson, Joey Gurdon, Charlie Patten and Emma Smith. Working for Regent.
September saw the start of the winter rush with planning getting under way for an array of jobs. We had a number of jobs running with the first being The Mercury Awards at the Hammersmith Apollo. Only one follow spot was required front of house for the acts, which was done by myself (Dave Scrivens). LD was Nigel Catmur. Direct to PRG.
Also running was the first recording session of the BBC's new series Let it Shine in Salford. A four person crew worked under LIghting Director Gurdip Mahal for the BBC. All spots were climbing in HQ1. Spot crew was Joey Gurdon, Karen Hilton, Ant Wilson and Lulu Elliott.
We then returned to Strictly Come Dancing with Lighting Director Mark Kenyon. We also settled into our standard 4 person crew of myself (Dave Scrivens), Tim Soden, Paul Edwards and Chris Barnard. We also have Kate Smith on standby to act as a 'spot swing' - predominately covering me, but also covering any absences.
August was another relatively simple month with only two shows running. We completed the summer block of Celebrity Big Brother - finishing a 12 weeks or so run of eviction shows from the Elstree Studio complex.
We also started a new series with the launch show of Strictly Come Dancing. Filmed over 3 days in the George Lucas Stage at Elstree again. We had 5 crew on the job, making up the majority of an 7 person spot team. Myself (Dave Scrivens), Chris Barnard, Tim Soden, Paul Edwards and Mel McMillan made up the Pro Spot part of the crew. Supplying though Regent.
July was a relatively quiet month with only Big Brother running. The main event was the final of the 'classic' version and the launch of the 'Celebrity' version. The usual crew contended with the weather and awkward positions to spot the shows.
No sooner do we finish it - Big Brother returns! It's the show that doesn't stop giving! With a completely new set and follow spot positions it was quite a challenge to get all the spots in a position where they could cover all the areas. As usual the weather was the standard 'bloody cold' even though it was supposedly summer! A combination of the usual faces are on the crew - myself (Dave Scrivens), Steve Williams, Paul Edwards, Tim Soden, Ken Topley and a few others for good measure. LD - Gurdip Mahal. Working direct to Endermol.
We also had a sunny trip to The Eden Project to spot the BBC Music concert with Duran Duran head lining. Working under the control of LD Nigel Catmur for the support acts and links then Duran Duran's LD for their performance. We sat and watched the rehearsals as it was so sunny the spots couldn't compete with the sun. We really began to earn our money as Duran Duran came on and the sun finally set. It was at this point that we discovered the entire Sharpie focus was pointed directly at the spot position. All 4 of us operated by squinting down our sights, operating the spot with one hand (no easy task when it's a Super Trouper) with the other shielding our eyes so we could see the stage! Operated by myself, Steve Williams, Paul Edwards and Karen Hilton. TV LD - Nigel Catmur. Direct to BBC.
We then moved onto the Great Referendum Debate on the BBC. Four climbing spots at Wembley Arena covered walks ins and out and David Dimbleby. Apart from the climb it was a nice easy show from our point of view. As the show was being run by BBC News, having follow spots was a whole new area for them - hence they were keen to have someone come in and organise the whole follow spot thing - which fitted perfectly into our ethos. Operated by Myself, Karen Hilton, Ryan Dell and the hardest working spot op as he was on David Dimbleby - Tim Soden. LD was Gurdip Mahal. Working direct to the BBC.
May has been a fairly quiet month with only one outing to the Hackney Empire for The Soap Awards. Operated by myself (Dave Scrivens) and Paul Edwards from the back of the circle with a pair of Robert Juliet Alexs. A fairly straight forward show from our point of view. LD - Nigel Catmur.
April saw us bringing the last episodes of The Voice to an end on the BBC. This also sees our involvement come to a conclusion as the series moves to ITV with Dave Davey as the LD. We've been involved in all the series up to now - so the swop to ITV seems a fitting time to move on. This last series has seen us involved with some of the most dynamic and mind blowing lighting of artists we have ever been involved in - all under the control of Gurdip Mahal.
April also saw us involved with a first - follow spotting for radio! It was also transmitted on the BBC Red Button and we were brought in to assist Gorden Torrington, PRG's gaffer, in making the pictures correct for the TV side of it. Working closely with Daryl Bidewell on racks to get the exposure and colour temperature correct - most of which was done by text during the show as we had no direct comms to them. It made for an interesting (and long) 4 hours of live work.
March saw us return to The Copperbox for the bi-yearly Sports Relief. The four man team of climbing spots was headed up by myself (Dave Scrivens), with Karen Hilton in the No. 2 spot chair and Lulu Elliot and Josh Flack covering the side chairs. As usual, after 2 days of rehearsals we endured a colossal show of 6 and a half hours with only a short break to come down when they swapped the audience over at half time. Essentially a glorified links show with a few acts thrown in for good measure.
We then moved on to the start of the live rounds of The Voice with a six man climbing spot team. With apparently completely free artistic licence Gurdip Mahal was able to use us in a multitude of colours and ways to light the acts and create a truly stunning show. This posed us a number of problems: due to lack of level from some of the denser colours we often had to use both front spots, resulting in Karen Hilton having to do some very fast repo's from presenter links to the act on stage, complete with colour change; we also struggled to see the edges of our spot as the colours were dense and blending into the stage. However, that said, those sorts of challenges make the job worth doing, with the end result being an incredible looking show. Crewed by myself (Dave Scrivens), Karen Hilton, Ryan Dell, Ant Wilson, Tim Soden, Dave Stevenson and Josh Flack. LD - Gurdip Mahal.
The start of February saw us doing the last few days on Celebrity Big Brother and bringing the show to it's usual larger than life and crazy conclusion. Crewed by Jack Gurdon, Tim Soden, Karen Hilton, Paul Edwards and Kate Smith. Lighting Director: Gurdip Mahal. Working direct to Endemol.
We then moved onto the monster show that is The Brits. Pro Spot supplied four of the sixteen follow spots. We were predominantly responsible for the main front spots with side spots and climbing back spots (local crew) supplied by Show Stars. Most of the 'money shots' being covered by the crack team of Karen Hilton, Jack Gurdon, Cara Wiseman and Joey Gurdon using RJ Lancelots - and Jack with a old school Strong Gladiator. It was great to be involved in such a spectacular show lit by Lighting Director Al Gurdon. Working direct to The Brits.
The final job of the month was "Eurovision: you decide" at The Forum in Old Kentish Town. Jack Gurdon and myself (Dave Scrivens) covered the show using a couple of Lycian M2's from the back of the balcony. It was, as usual, a delight to be working with Nigel Catmur the Lighting Director. Working direct to BBC Productions.
The month saw us return to the Celebrity Big Brother house for anther 9 episodes of the Tuesday and Friday eviction shows. Using the new RJ Victor from Aurora Lighting, which although smaller and only sporting a 1.8kW MSR lamp compared to the RJ Ivanhoes with a 2.5kW MSR resulted in us having to adjust all our levels from the usual 'flat out' to a much lower 40%. The side spots had to put a 0.6ND in to give them a better range over their dimmer. The Victors are amazingly bright. Crewed by myself (Dave Scrivens), Steve Williams, Jack Gurdon, Paul Edwars, Tim Soden, Karen Hilton, Mark Thaxter and Kate Smith. The crew endured every type of weather, from freezing cold to gale force winds - a typical series of Big Brother in the winter! LD Gurdip Mahal. Working direct to Endemol.
We also dipped our toes into the realm of professional boxing with the first of a series of fights by David Haye at the O2 Arena. Using the in-house RJ Lancelot from the 4 corners of the venue. Large and staggeringly bright they're the ultimate arena follow spot. The fight only lasted 130 seconds so was not quite the spectacle we anticipated. Crewed by myself (Dave Scrivens), Jack Gurdon, Paul Edwards and Tim Soden. LD Gurdip Mahal. Working through Aurora Lighting.