Thursday 2nd April 2015
Leadership Debate Broadcast : ITV, Salford Media Village.
The production team of the much anticipated televised leadership debate are very accommodating when I arrive at the Salford ‘media village ‘.
I’m able to make drawings of all the back stage preparations as I’m given a tour of the studio by Jason the production manager. Without lighting, the set looks like a dull gunmetal grey semi-circular ‘henge’.
Donna, the floor manager tells me that the slick, mirror like debating platform usually serves as the stage for TV singing contest ‘The Voice’.
David Coleman the director points out my sketching post. A centrally placed gold chair at the top of the raked audience seating . I draw the audience members prior to their filing into the studio. They look slightly nervous once seated in the dry ice tinged studio. The names of audience members who have been selected to ask questions are taped to various seats.
During the debate Victoria Prosser, a lone heckler, is ushered off set by security. My quick sketch shows her between the floor manager and a shaven headed security man as she makes her enforced exit. The Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell tells me later that her departure caused macabre amusement in the media centre as it was followed by a loud bang, off screen. The studio doors slamming!
The best moment to draw the 7 leaders is before the televised debate as they ready themselves on stage. Leaning against her lectern Natalie Bennett of the Green Party performs some yoga like leg stretches. Nick Clegg stands with his back to the crowd, Nigel Farage has more make up applied, Ed Millband shuffles his notes. Stage right, David Cameron suddenly strolls over to stand, hands in pockets, between Leanne Wood and Nicola Sturgeon. He initiates what from a distance looks like amiable pre debate chit chat.
During the debate I try and match some rapid thumbnail sketches with statements made the 7 leaders.
2 hours pass very quickly when you’re drawing.