Great news! The BBC was returning to IMG for the prestigious Eurovision Song Contest 2017and this year it was coming from Ukraine!
As Production Runner I was to be part of the IMG Studios team to make sure the BBC producers were well looked after and that everything went smoothly.
I was completely unaware of how big a role IMG has in the production. IMG receives the Eurovision feed from the host country for the 2 semi-finals and final, which are then re-packaged by the BBC with live graphics and inserts via a live production gallery, and then transmitted from our MCR on BBC1 and BBC4. IMG is also host to the UK Jury and celebrity spokesperson announcing the UK results.
Monday:I had previously received the BBC Call Sheet and it was obviously going to be a long (but fun) week! With this in mind I arrived fresh-faced Monday morning and got straight to work preparing all the BBC production areas, making sure everything was ready in time for the BBC Production team’s arrival. After a few cups of tea and coffee everyone started working on the rehearsals for the first semi-final. Preparation of scripts, lunch orders, organising crew passes, rounds of tea and coffee, running errands for the production team and the gallery filled the day. There had obviously been weeks of planning and it was amazing to witness how it all came together.
Tuesday:I got home in the early hours of Tuesday morning, to return to work at what also felt like the early hours of Tuesday morning! After I fuelled everyone with coffee there was a great buzz amongst the crew, as we were fast approaching our first live broadcast. It was fascinating to see some of the industry’s finest producers and directors at work; I even got to spend time watching the broadcast from the gallery. All went smoothly and the crew quickly disappeared off once transmission had ended, which was a good idea as we were only two days into our long six day week!
Wednesday:We had a later call time as everyone had settled in, so all arrived in good spirit ready for the second Semi-Final rehearsal. In the evening we were joined by the UK Jury, whose room I had to be precarious about entering at particular times – their decision was top secret!
Thursday:Today, a live transmission for the second semi-final. Surprisingly it was quite calm as the crew knew what to expect from the previous Semi-Final, and there were less people to look after as we didn’t have the addition of the UK Jury. The show went very smoothly and we all we able to leave early to ensure a good night’s sleep for the next two big days…
Friday and Saturday:There was definitely a change of pace with more people being in the building; a Blue Peter film unit with presenter, Barney Harwood, were recording a Eurovision feature and a group of VIP BBC Executives were visiting to see how everything was going. Katrina from Katrina and the Waves (a previous Eurovision winner for the UK in 1997) was this year’s UK spokesperson and was rehearsing in Studio B. Although I had a lot more running about to do, it was well worth the extra push to get a chance to talk to the Blue Peter team about what they were filming in the building. A true highlight was getting to sit in on the UK’s performance in the studio gallery… even if we did end up fifteenth (typical). Once the Final had finished I had the best job of the week, bringing down a trolley full of wine and cakes to help the crew celebrate the wrap of Eurovision 2017. A glass or two down, I was welcomed by my IMG taxi to whisk me home for a well-deserved rest.
It had been a great experience knowing I had contributed to a show watched by over 180 million – bring on Eurovision 2018!
Article written by Katherine Mitchell