The Prudential Trophy England v Australia 1972
I was to make a thirty-minute film of three matches – the first of which took place at Old Trafford on 24th August 1972, followed by Lords on the 26th and Edgebaston on the 28th, a bank holiday Monday. I raised the crew which consisted of Pat Whitacker, Martin Rolfe, Tony Mander, his soundman Sid Squires, and Rory (Lewis) McLeod.
Pat and Martin had been staff cameramen with Pathe News since the late forties and were top class sports cameramen. Rory McLeod was a first class lighting cameraman who had come into my office on a number of occasions, prior to this job, seeking work. I was always reluctant to use him because of his slavish adherence to Union rules. However, because of his persistence, I invited him to join us.
Tony Mander was a freelance cameraman who had worked for me a number of times and was also a lighting cameraman with credits on feature films and television dramas.
Unlike Pat, Martin and Tony, Rory had to hire his equipment from Samuelsons.
The rules of the one day matches were that , if the match scheduled for Thursday, Saturday and Monday were cancelled or delayed due to weather, it would be replayed on the day following the scheduled day.
Because of this, I elected to pay the crews from Thursday to Monday inclusive. After all, I might need them for re-scheduled matches and find that they had got another job. So they got five days pay for three days work.
In addition, it was necessary for them to work from the start of the match to close of play. This could be as much as twelve hours.
At this time, the pay for a cameraman, including his equipment, was £15 a day. I offered them £32 per day. I took my chances on the Monday match being postponed. The crews were very pleased with the arrangement.
Rory McLeod had no transport, so I offered to pick him up from Enfield West underground station where he could get to from his home in Ruislip. We went up to Manchester on the Wednesday, stopping on the way for lunch, and arriving at our hotel, the Piccadilly, in the early evening. There, we met up with the London Press Exchange people who invited us all to dinner at the hotel. We were wined and dined as if no expense should be spared. It was a wonderful dinner and we all slept well.
The following morning, we went off to Old Trafford and set up. We had a position in line with the wicket alongside the B.B.C. Here Tony Mander would shoot every ball from, start to finish. At mid-wicket, on the boundary, Pat Whitacker set up with a variety of lenses enabling him to follow a fielder and get close ups of individuals. Opposite him, also on the boundary, was Martin Rolfe with the same equipment to do the same job on that side of the field. Finally, Rory McLeod was set up half way between Martin Rolfe and Tony Mander. His job was to get a big close up of the facing batsman armed with a twelve-inch lens.
The editing of such a job could be very difficult because one had to find shots from the ground cameramen to match those of Tony Mander who would be obtaining a wide-angled view of each ball, following until it was fielded. Being a film editor, I came up with a plan.
Apart from Tony Mander, we could not afford the luxury of the other cameramen shooting every ball. Pat and Martin would only follow the ball if it came their way while Rory would concentrate on the batsman shooting randomly two or three times each over.
I got Simon Ainger, a cricketer himself and on the staff of UPITN, to accompany us. He took up station alongside Tony Mander, as did I. There he was armed with a collection of ballpoint pens and a stack of forms that I had designed.
I had invented what is now known as the “Wagon wheel”.
These forms had a slot to write down the number of the over. It had a slot for the name of the bowler. There were, descending, blank lines on which to insert the name of the batsman for each ball alongside which would be the score for each ball.
To the right of this was a diagram of the ground shown as a circle. In the middle of the circle were lines indicating the popping crease at each end.
Simon Ainger’s job was to fill in the form as the over progressed. As each ball was delivered, he would draw a line from the appropriate popping crease to where it was fielded. At the end of the line he would give the number of the ball (1 – 6), a hyphen then the number of the fielder which could be taken from the programme or the scoreboard. Eventually, this produced, a set of lines emanating from the crease which, if superimposed over all the other sheets, would show the preference that a batsman might have for one part of the playing area.
For the cameramen to play their part in this process, it was necessary for them to shoot a few frames of the over number from the scoreboard which was visible to all of them. This they would do before the start of each over, even if they did not shoot anything within that over.
At lunch, we were all presented with a hamper, a hamper that would have graced the lawns behind the grandstands at Epsom. There was salmon and ham and cheese and a small bottle of wine and all sorts of goodies.
We all drove home as we had come except that Tony Mander gave Rory McLeod a lift back to save me going a considerable distance out of my way.
At Lords, we took up similar positions except that there, we had arranged to build a proper platform in the main grandstand and, when we got there it was not ready, it had no floor, so we had to move to one side. The hampers were, once more, provided.
On the Bank Holiday Monday, we were at Edgbaston, near Birmingham. England won by 2 wickets.
The Chappell brothers had a whinge saying that One Day Internationals were not really proper cricket.
They had lost the series 2 – 1.
In the editing room, the work became easy. First we selected the ball we wanted from Tony Mander’s coverage, then we easily found the matching shots from the other cameras. These could now be found easily because, using the wagon wheel, we could find the matching shot. As an example of a single delivery, we were able to show the bowler running up, the batsman receiving in close up (from time to time) the ball being hit, the ball going in the outfield and, in close up, the fielder picking it up and throwing in. We would see the ball back into the hands of the wicketkeeper.
At that time, the BBC, broadcasting live, could not do a close up of the batsman because they did not know what was going to happen, they had to leave their shot wide. Also, at that time, recording and playback was limited to the broadcast version only. They had not been able to record each camera. Whether it was a budget problem or lack of equipment, I do not know.
We had the advantage of presentation because we knew what was going to happen before we edited. If a batsman was bowled out, we could show it in full close up (assuming Rory had chosen to film that one).
We needed a commentator and, I thought, there was no one finer that Brian Johnston. I had met him when I was working on the Test Series with the A.B.C. in Melbourne. I phoned him and went to meet him at Lords. He lived in a block of flats just behind the main grandstand. I told him what I was doing and asked him if he would be able to help with the editing and then do the commentary. He was very keen to do it.
In the editing room, he was brilliant. It was as if he had remembered every ball. It was he who chose which deliveries to use in order to tell the whole story. He was very helpful and kept us all in fits of laughter with his anecdotes, usually referring to the players as they came onto the screen.
His commentary was superb and much of it was ad-lib. On one occasion an advertising board, at the nursery end at Lords, was pulled face down because the reflection from it was getting into the batsman’s eyes. The hoarding was on behalf of The Prudential Assurance Co, the sponsors of the Prudential Trophy. Brian said “That’s the first time the Sun has got the better of the Prudential”.
Brian Johnston was most impressed with our coverage and said he hoped that the B.B.C. might do the same as us. (Include close-ups during play) I pointed out that all they had to do was record each camera, and then they could use whatever camera they chose for re-plays. Eventually, this is what they did.
The cameramen sent in their invoices and they were all paid off except Rory McLeod. He had put in for overtime while travelling in my car, claimed no lunch break, while eating lunch with me on the way to Manchester, and overtime for each days he worked.
I rang him to say I would not be paying it because I had already paid him a double fee for five days for three days work. He insisted that he was entitled to overtime, so I said “Yes you are, but you will have to revert to the Union agreed daily rate, which was £15”.
He chose to do this and, as a result, he found out two things, first, he was not entitled under Union rules of the day to claim for overtime while travelling and second, that after his renewed calculations, he would be receiving £15 less than he would have done under my original arrangement. That’s Communists for you, keeping to Union rules.
© Terence Gallacher and terencegallacher.com, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Terence Gallacher and terencegallacher.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
For other articles about UPITN click here.