27 January 2012

Inside Outside Broadcasting

Steve Harris, erstwhile TV lighting director and owner of On The Air, a glorious source of vintage technology in Hawarden, Flintshire, has a mammoth project on his hands. Combining all the challenges of classic commercial vehicles and complex and extensive electronics, North 3 was one of the BBC's nine colour mobile control rooms.

It's a 1969 Albion Clydesdale, with Leyland diesel, coachwork by Bonallack of Basildon, and interior by Pye. Six of the CMCRs carried EMI cameras, and three, including CMCR9, Pye-badged Philips cameras (a means to satisfy the letter of the BBC's policy at the time of buying British).  

Originally based in London, it was swapped with an EMI-equipped unit from Birmingham, to provide for consistency of kit at each outside broadcast centre, and ultimately moved to Manchester, when it became North 3. Decommissioned in 1982, it underwent various vicissitudes before being rescued by Steve, whose work on it, detailed at On The Air, provides eloquent practical definitions of  "skilled," "extensive" and "patient."

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