Wednesday, 6 November 2013

TV News Cameraman And The Embarrassing Incident Of The Busted Knob And A Murderous Home Owner.

May the following story serve as a warning to all TV news cameramen and journalists...

We've all been there. You turn up at a news filming location with a bladder the size of a particularly large zeppelin, and ask the home owner if you can use the toilet facilities. You don't think about whether it is safe to do so, or if you are going to leave never to be seen again... I mean, you only want to have a pee. You shouldn't have to think about these things...

*Insert Knob jokes here...*

Well now you do. Yesterday, this very thing happened to me resulting in a very embarrassing phone call to my reporter in her car outside. Having asked permission to use the home owners toilet, i walked in, closed the door and got on with business, then washed my hands, turn the door knob to exit and 'clunk'...

The door knob remained in my hand as the spindle and outside knob slipped through the door hole in slow motion. I made a grab for the spindle... too late. There i stood, shiny knob in hand and a locked door. I looked through the hole... The spindle was gone. Not even my trusty Leatherman was going to help me now.

'This isn't happening to me,' i thought to myself. I tried my fingernails on the door for leverage, on the side and the gap underneath the door. I even tried the old burglars trick of a credit card on the metal lock mechanism. The door wasn't budging... Think man... Think.

"Hellooo..?" I cried, meekly through the spindle hole.

"Hellooo...? Are you there..? Can you hear me..?" I said, in the vain hope that the lady would hear me. There was no answer... It was then that i thought i had fallen into a hideous trap. My reporter was still outside in her car and i was trapped in a toilet inside the house. Then it struck me... Maybe the walls were filled with the rotting corpses of other BBC, ITN and Sky News cameramen who had fallen into this insane woman's diabolical cameraman toilet trap. She would send the reporter away saying that i hadn't turned up, and i would be left alone, trapped in her murderous scheme. I would be starved to death and bricked up in a wall next to Harry, a BBC news cameraman who disappeared in 2009.

Any story would do. Anything but the embarrassment of having to call my reporter for help. There was nothing for it... I got out my phone, praying for a signal to be present. There was. In my shame, i dialled my reporters number and told her the predicament i was in, fearing for my life...

I must say at this juncture, that i was not expecting the howls of laughter and derisive comment. This was serious... i could die in here.

Thirty seconds later, my grinning reporter and the thwarted home owner opened the door and released me. The shame. I could hear the news room jungle drums and rumour mill now... Burly cameraman rescued by petit lady reporter from toilet. I fear i can never show my face in the cameraman crew room again... Banished in shame and humiliation.

In my defence, i swear i caught a glimpse of menace in the home owners eye during our interview with her about subsidence in her home and surrounding areas. Subsidence my arse... I think it's the weight of all the dead cameramen corpses in the walls that caused the damage, and I do believe that i was the one that got away...

If there is a lesson here it is this... When using unknown toilet facilities, check your knob before locking the door. It may just save your life and the embarrassment of having to be rescued by a sniggering journalist.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.