BADEN-BADEN - The World Cup came tantalisingly into view for the media party as we left Heathrow for Stuttgart at the start of our five-week campaign – and some time-honoured travel traditions were strictly observed.
Namely the customary parting of the ways for passengers and their luggage.
Thanks to a craft that revived memories of the glory days of Airfix models, there was no room for all luggage required to sustain the press pack through a gruelling stint in Germany.
So it was that we waved farewell to our cases and other crucial personal effects on the tarmac as they waited to board a flight to Frankfurt while we headed off in the direction of Stuttgart.
Continue reading "Excess baggage"
BERLIN - Day one in Germany and it looks like we're off to a flying start. For the uninitiated, I'm producing the World Cup Daily, a behind the scenes video package for the website and our interactive coverage.
Whilst we await the arrival of our presentation team, I've had a tour of the Berlin studios and the view, as you'll all see when we come on air this Friday, is to die for.
Meanwhile, I'm getting to grips with my DV camera and the editing equipment. Early tests have seen me interviewing my colleagues, filming the analysis guys putting circles on players and - most crucially - covering a keenly contested table football match. Methinks that the unofficial World Cup has already begun...
LUTON AIRPORT - Claire Heald writes:
That's it, they're off! The next time we see Beckham and co they will be in their training kit in Germany.
But in this corner of England - that's Luton Airport short stay carpark - the World Cup has already begun. Shouts, horns, chants of 'give us a wave' pushed the players up the staircase and onto the plane...
..Then they all came off again (were they just bagging their seats??) for the last photocall, lined up two-by-two on the steps.
Beckham gave the snappers their final shot, hanging out the cockpit window with an England flag, before BA9200 took off bang on time, 1530 BST.
Compared with their Armani-clad heroes, the lot of the 200-odd fans here was an unglamorous one. But they got what they wanted.
As Mark Powley, a student who rushed here straight from his A levels, said: "It's so much more real now. It puts everything into perspective - they are the people everyone in this country is supporting, our hopes and dreams hang on them!"
Continue reading "BA9200 lifts off - Destination Germany!"
LONDON - Four days until I leave for Germany and it's frantic. In addition to the vital issues such as how many underpants do you realistically need to take and is it worth taking a razor when everyone (apart from most of the women) seems to grow a beard because you're away from home and there's simply too much football to watch..?, I'm now well into the commentary preparation.
There's no shortage of information - I'm currently surrounded by the pull-outs issued by most of the Sunday papers and files full of stats dilligently collated from the web.
It would be easy to write a 10,000 word thesis on every game and still only scratch the suface - the question is, how much do the listeners want ?
I'm doing eight commentaries in the first round and have given as much dilligence to Iran v Angola as the matches involving teams such as Brazil, Holland and Spain. In addition to all of the player stats there's the history of the teams involved, information about the venue cities and even what the relevant national athemns mean.
Continue reading "Let's get ready to burble"
LUTON AIRPORT - Claire Heald writes:
Hours before take off and the Woods family from Worthing, Sussex, are easy to spot in the prime position to wave the England team off - even arriving before the plane.
Their white car is a mass of 48 St George crosses, from the bonnet through fluffy dice, seat, steering wheel, flags on the roof, and full Subbuteo pitch on the back parcel shelf.
Driver Daniel Woods, 22, says they have had a "mostly positive" response driving around their home town!
What of England's hopes? Daniel's hair is a dyed and shaved red and white flag so he's pretty confident.
"We are winning it, without a doubt," agreed his dad Richard, who has a second gold star ready to stick on the boot. For sisters Sam Woods and Sam Reeves it's Beckham and Lampard who are the main draws today...
LONDON - Lots of you were happy to hear about our deal to stream the World Cup on broadband, though the main gripe appears to be 'why can't I watch overseas'.
(To repeat: 1. Fifa won't let us. 2. It would cost too much even if they did 3. It's not our money, it comes from UK licence-fee payers)
For those of you living in the States (who seem most disappointed by the UK-only restrictions) there is a good debate running on the New York Times blog on how to watch/listen.
While we of course will be doing it legally, it seems the lawyers are getting heavy with those out there who aren't.
With this World Cup set to be possibly the most watched TV event ever, they'll have their hands full. With only 15 of the games in office hours..
Continue reading "Four days to go"
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