A 36 hour jaunt in Malaga and all I got was a sweaty shirt

I’m 34,000 feet up, zipping back from Malaga, or actually Fuengirola, and I’m shattered. I was there filming for a GM-TV Holiday MoneySaving special which I’m doing for a week, in a fortnight. Having arrived after lunch yesterday, we had to make a five different films in a very short space of time, leaving me, the producer and the crew punch drunk with tiredness. Luckily, I think the result will be worth it (I won’t see it ’til it goes out though, so you never know).

There’s a lot more to filming in 30 degree heat than you may think, so I thought it may be fun to run you through some of the practical issues you mightn’t have realised need dealing with:

Sweaty, sweaty, sweaty shirt – but don’t want patches. We weren’t filming each film consecutively, but shooting bits of one, then the other and mixing them all up. This locked me into wearing the same clothes for the whole time; by late in the afternoon I was tired, very sweaty, sticky and looked dischevelled; but guess what the very last clip we filmed was? Yep, the opening shot of the whole week at the airport – with me trying to pretend to look fresh and energised!

Dripping like a kebab on a skewer. You’re not supposed to sweat on TV, even a forehead shine puts people off what you’re saying as they concentrate on the glimmer. In the studio your make-up is done for you; but out on the road filming some male presenters/reporters wear it while others don’t. My first make-up artist at Simply Money TV, years ago, explained the rules to me; male make-up mustn’t look like you’ve got make up on, just that you’re clean and with good skin. She bought me my first ‘on the road’ make-up and taught me what to do…. it’s not much, just a little “tinted moisturiser” and a dab of powder if needed. Yet in Spain, worried I’d drip like a kebab on a skewer, before hand I asked the MSG’s advice, and she lent me her special ‘studio strength powder’ which is extra thick and strong to cope with the lights. So I layered it on over the course of day to keep the drips away; by the end of filming, it was caked on thick and felt horrid – more slap than itchy and scratchy.

Ouch my eyes. Almost all the shots were outdoors in the scorching sun. The problem is the lighting requires the cameraman stands with the sun behind him and you look at it. My problem? I simply couldn’t keep my eyes open without the burning sunlight speedily forcing them into a tight squint (try it yourself next time you’re on holiday – see if you can keep your eyes open). It became such a problem I had to break the cardinal rule of telly and wear sun-glasses during pieces to camera (you should always see the whites of a presenters eyes), but I had no choice, it was that or gurn.

All in all though it was a great trip and I love the GM-TV Money Saving Expert soap box they got for me to stand on and flog my wares. My only slight worry is we were doing it in empty areas, to keep the noise levels down (even a scooter driving passed stops filming, because if the viewer can’t see the source of the noise, its weird to hear it; filming near roads can often result in many takes), so there I am, often preaching to no-one. At one point an English couple did stop to watch; so the cameraman quickly grabbed a view of me preaching on my box to just two —> a right billy no mates.

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