Monday, 27 July 2009

Goodbye Five News

It isn't going anywhere, I am. It was my last shift yesterday so I thought I'd take some grainy, blurry shots of the place. Not everyone is aware that Five News is made at Sky News (above). The Sky compound is on a bleak industrial estate near Osterley, just off the A4. The Sky News building, whilst unlikely to be in the running for any architectural awards, is a thing of wonder. The Sky News studio takes up the bulk of the two floor building, and it is vast. There in the distance (above), is the tiny form of Chris Skudder, doing his weekend sports round up. Like many things you build up a familiarity with, it's easy to take such a work environment for granted, but really it is spectacularly odd, and grand, and Newsy. The Five News office is on the first floor and the Five News studio is much smaller than the almost operatic Sky set. The Five News weekend bulletins come from the mezzanine level within the Sky studio. And this (below) is what it looks like from the presenter's chair (the camera is just to the left of the shot - the big light above it was burning everything else out so I just took a pic of the monitors). I always wanted to work at Sky, just to see what it was like. Unfortunately living in North West London made it almost impossible to consider by public transport and pushbike.

When I moved to Walton on Thames and bought a scooter, Sky was just 11 miles up the road and suddenly nearer than my usual places of work - Newsbeat (W1) and 5 Live (TVC). When I got the opportunity to work for Five, I jumped at it.

I was granted a meeting with the then assistant editor on the recommendation of a colleague. What I thought would be a chat about the possibility of a few freelance shifts turned into quite an aggressive job interview. "Oh." I remember thinking. "That's that, then." But they called me up and offered me some production shifts and things slowly went from there.

I loved working at Five - the team were/are great, the sensibility fitted, the work ethic was incredible and the coffee bar does the best coffee I have ever tasted at a work canteen anywhere. And it was half an hour up the road. What's not to like?

I also learned an awful lot about television from the two editors I served under - Mark Calvert, who now appears to be running a television channel in Australia - and the current editor David Kermode, who has a very distinctive and coherent vision for what a news programme should do and say.

David is also famous for banning noddies - and if you want to see him sending this up in a leaving tape for an ex-colleague of his (who now happens to be my big boss at BBC South East) - it's here on youtube.



  1. Hi Nick, sorry to hear you're leaving Five News - you've been a good servant to them. I thought my two hour commute from Southend every day was a bit too much, so if I ever manage to land a full-time position or some regular freelance work with them after uni, I will definitely be moving to south-west London! Nice YouTube video too :)

  2. My enjoyment of your final bulletin last night was spoilt by a satellite disruption. I also missed the rest of the film that was the bread to your news sandwich. But I can't remember what the film was, so it can't have been that important.

  3. By that I mean latching on to this or that latest, most innovative idea that some self styled money making guru has put out in the hope it’ll go viral and make them a lot of money off the backs of all the headless chickens who will follow them blindly down a blind alley. Its a shame but a truism nonetheless that people will follow where someone they see as an expert leads. Even if they lead them to certain disaster, which is what most of the gurus tend to do to their flocks.
    The trick is to recognize a shadow when you see it!