This year’s Trooping the Colour Highlights programme contained something very unusual.
Did you spot it?
It wasn’t in the main programme, shown on BBC1 in the morning of 15 June 2013.
It was in the Highlights, which were broadcast on BBC2 at 6.30 that evening.
Now it’s fairly usual that the Trooping highlights programme includes some elements that weren’t in the morning programme – particularly the RAF flypast over Buckingham Palace and the Royal Family on the balcony.
But this one had some very special footage. It didn’t last very long. If you’d popped out to put the kettle on, or were tying a shoelace, then you may well have missed it.
It showed St James’s Park, the Mall and Buckingham Palace, and wider views over London from a vantage point rarely seen – that of the crew of the Lancaster which took part in the flypast.
For it was this crew which shot the footage, which gave the London landmarks an extraordinary fish-eye look.
And it was fabulous.
When the executive producers of the programmes first saw it, just a few minutes before the programme went to air, they applauded.
While you’ve got the chance – take a look on iPlayer:
One reason the execs applauded though, wasn’t just the quality of the shots, for which we have to thank the RAF and their photography team, but because they knew the effort that went into getting those few magic seconds into the programme.
The news came through last week that the Lancaster was going to be carrying a camera and we could have access to the footage.
The complication was that the Lancaster, which is based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, wouldn’t land until mid afternoon. The footage then needed to be extracted from the camera, the rushes of the footage viewed and edited into a shortened version on site, then uploaded onto a system which we could then access in our edit suite at Ealing Film Studios.
The RAF estimated it would be available to us at about 4.30pm.
We were on air at 6.30pm.
Two hours might sound a long time, but in reality we only had half an hour, because our programme had to be ready for transmission by 5pm.
In the morning, it was all a bit touch and go – we didn’t even know whether the Lancaster was going to fly. It’s sister aircraft of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, the Hurricane and Spitfire weren’t able to take off because of the weather conditions.
But it did.
The complicated arrangements we had put in place for us to access the footage worked perfectly and it arrived safe and sound – and earlier than we’d hoped.
And, as I said, the shots were spectacular – which made all the effort worthwhile.