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Capraia Diary: Mike Leahy

The Crew and Production Team Through Mike Leahy's Eyes

Paul While we were having fun making things, another team of people were slaving away trying to make a TV programme. Paul Manners was the charismatic producer. Always friendly and understanding, he got on with everyone, even when they were being very awkward. Like the rest of the team he was deeply enthusiastic about the project, but in addition to making sure that the filming was going to plan he would ensure that we all drank enough water, and kept out of the sun where possible. Never visibly fazed, and always smiling, he remained composed whatever was thrown at him. Sensitive enough to talk to about any problems Paul still retained a lively sense of humour for pub banter.

David Our director David Shulman was also a kind, sincere and friendly chap. Calm and collected, however, he was not. He was passionate about the filming rather than enthusiastic, and appeared to never stop running around, his tee shirt soaked in sweat because of the hot Mediterranean sun.

He would debate each shot, constantly trying to think of better angles or other creative approaches, sometimes frustrating the camera crews or presenter in the process. He was a great artist with a wicked sense of humour, often coming out with little gems over the dinner table — a really sound bloke.

KateThe job of fronting the show was given to Kate Humble, a respected member of the TV community whose experience belied her age. She was cool, friendly and enjoyable to chat to off camera, and had many experiences from her wide travels that she would re-live over a beer or two. As soon as it was time to film, she flipped into work mode, and instantly became the TV presenter. She gave lots of input when filming, which was often useful and common sense. However, her go-ahead nature and long experience of TV, led to minor confrontations when she was directed to do something that she didn't think would work, or if she thought that she had a better idea.

Perhaps the hardest workers among our little group, once we got filming, were the camera men and sound engineers. Amazingly professional, they carried heavy kit all day in the arid Mediterranean heat and still retained a wicked sense of humour. Derek was the more experienced (read older) camera man, and worked with John a jocular chap who looked after the sound recording. The pair were natural jokers and great company. Drew (Greek Adonis) was the younger camera man, and was universally regarded as the most attractive man on the shoot.

Derek, John and Drew

at work

He was usually accompanied by Paul, a friendly, likeable sort of bloke who was very fit and an excellent swimmer. Both teams put us at ease and were capable of filming with little direction. Towards the end of the shoot lighthearted competition between the crews began to appear, and friendly banter could be heard most lunch times. Of all the team they most enjoyed a joke, and their laughing was loud enough to wake the dead. If it weren't for them plenty of us would have missed breakfast on the odd occasion.

The other members of the team were made up of people who carried out amazing amounts of work behind the scenes. Amy was the fixer, who sorted out local problems, acted as a translator, and located any help, information or props that were needed. She was unbelievably helpful and obliging, and if anyone fancies walking in Northern Italy it would be well worth considering contacting her trekking company.

Mike B and AngieAngie's title was officially the 'runner' I think, but in reality she was the scientific adviser, or consultant, and to be honest she could have easily carried out any of the tasks set for the team single handed, and would probably have done a better job.

Julie was the boss, otherwise known as the production assistant. Although Paul Manners thought he was in charge, it was only because we were scared of Julie, his right hand woman. When she said we could have no more wine, we knew that we were not going to get any.