Page 10, 20th February 1981

20th February 1981
Page 10
Page 10, 20th February 1981 — The day the cameras came and took the castle

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Organisations: Victorian Church
Locations: London


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The day the cameras came and took the castle

YOU HAVE probabl) noticed that there is to be a television profile called "Basil Hume, OSB". It is going out at 10.30 pm on 24th February which is a Tuesday. It has been produced by Robert Fleming and is being put out by Thames TV.

Indeed it has already achieved a certain fame because at the advance press show virtually every newspaper picked out the same remark of the Cardinal. Which made him rather cross. He issued a statement of reproof. As well tell sinners to repent.

Can't blame him. By all accounts it is a distinguished programme and all the journalists pounced on the same small thing in the sacred name of news. But don't expect anything sensational.

I did not, for very shame, go to the press show (and buffet). Charterhouse makes a brief, appearance in the programme. I could not sit with my colleagues and criticise and overhear their comments. I don't know what is in or how shaming it is or if I got a bit carried away.

Last Sunday a monk who had seen it told me that I'd stood up quite well among the others. (The only way monks are allowed to damn is with faint praise.) Well — we shall see.

But to contrive my morsel, Robert and his electronic mob came down from London. This rarely happens except to the august or the decrepid or to the stubborn one who refuses to trail up to London and gets away with it.

It is a complex operation. Your Great Chamber is turned into a ' sort of naked studio. Every socket has a strange plug in it. Large wires snake across the priceless carpets. Bright lights peer down from high stands and quite new drifts of dust become apparent. The windows onto the street coagulate with faces, peering in for a free show.

The room seems full of pre occupied strangers who treat you with as much excitement as a butcher facing another lamb carcase from New Zealand.

It is a little uncertain who they all are. There is the producer pouring out questions. There is the young cameraman, a technological aristocrat and I wouldn't be writing this if I were a cameraman. If you catch my drift.

There is a man in charge of sound. Everyone seems to have an assistant. There is a young man who snaps a clapper board before each take in front of my face. There is an electrician who drifts away, which is a pity, because a light fuses.

The cameraman holds a light metre to my face and blenches at the high polish. I can't remember if I got the powder puff this time. I think not. It is a controlled chaos which suddenly settles down.

I sit in my own chair. This is not a studio and papers slither about. Robert pours out questions. about the Victorian Church, about Ampleforth.

I get a lobster salad joke attributed to Cardinal Vaughan when it should be Cardinal Wiseman. We go on as long as they have film. Cor! the expense. Come to think of it, what about my electricity? We get into slightly deep water which I hope they don't use. I am less than a cool model of discretion — and I was not talking about the Cardinal.

Suddenly it is over and the tangle of equipment packed with the speed and precision shown by a naval gun team. And they are off with some more film in the can — most of which must end on the cutting room floor. The local restaurant does bumper business. Our town almost explodes with curiosity. And it is all out of my hands now and Wiseman and Vaughan must stay for ever confused on celluloid.

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