Brexit vs English summer rain11 Jul 2016
On 24th June Britain decided the future of Europe. The country held a referendum on whether to remain in or leave the European Union.
I travelled all the way from Moscow to join my Reuters-TIMA colleagues in London for a few days to cover this historical event.
Our referendum operations were spread across four live positions: a beautiful spot in Abingdon/College Green with a picturesque view of the House of Parliament, a position near St. Thomas’ Hospital on the other side of the river, a New Zealand House rooftop with a stunning panorama over the city, and a spot on Downing Street.
My main position was at Abingdon Green. Everything was running smoothly on the eve of the referendum. We did an hour long live program for TRT World that involved a lot of logistics and advanced planning. We also had a few other shorter lives throughout the day which also went seamlessly.
While Brexit has overshadowed the typical weather talk in the last couple of months, the British weather found a way to remind about itself on the day the referendum. Torrential rains fell on the city overnight and more heavy rains followed in the afternoon, while the voting was in full swing, flooding the whole area of Abingdon Green.
Four inches under water and with quite a busy schedule ahead in the evening and at night, our team had to come up with a quick solution to fix the damage caused by the rain. This is where the tent assembling skills came in handy! In less than fifteen minutes we put up a new tent and had the set up ready for our client (who was frankly impressed our team managed to get back up and running in such a short period of time given the dire state of our working area).
Our Abingdon Green operation ran through the night, and by early morning it seemed that despite the opinion poll predictions, the British voting public had delivered a surprise result.
Our dayside team arrived on location early and took over the operation. We knew that the result would mean an increase in interest.
Abingdon Green was a frenzy of excitement, the whole area was full of camera crews and a continual stream of MPs being asked their opinion, not to mention many happy ‘Leave’ supporters a bit worse for wear after their celebrations overnight.
The rain held off and throughout the day we successfully completed over 40 live interviews for a variety of clients across the world. Our Downing Street team were also kept busy and were on hand to catch the moment that David Cameron announced he would step down, and over the Thames in the garden of St Thomas’ Hospital we helped TRT World air a special multi-camera Brexit programme that ran for several hours.
Despite solid advance planning, many things are just impossible to predict. What I found truly inspiring is how professional and creative my colleagues were even in such extraordinary circumstances. Thinking fast, thinking outside the box, acting quick, staying cool, and offering the best services possible to every single client despite the issues faced.
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Author: Anastasia Gorelova, Reuters-TIMA