Features - A Day In The Life

Sarah Crandon

Sarah Crandon

Posted 01 December 2015

New York Programme

March 2007 Intake


Sarah Crandon (March 2007 - New York), graduate of University of Reading, currently works as Gallery PA on the longest running Children's programme in the world, 'Blue Peter'. Sarah describes how "no two days at work are ever the same. Our live weekly programme is broadcast every Thursday at 5pm, but our studio day kicks off at around 9am with a Production Meeting with the presenters and core studio team. We read through the script, watch the location films which are going out in that day's show and make any tweaks or changes before we head back to the studio to begin the rehearsals.

As Gallery PA I sit between the Producer and the Director in the 'gallery', as well as working with them in the planning stages throughout the week. In studio it's my job to get the show on air, keep it on time, and make sure the crew and presenters all know where we are in the show and how long we have left on each item. Each segment is timed to precision and has a set duration. If one item runs over it's allocated time, which often happens in a live show, the producer and I quickly discuss where we can make up this time so we don't fall off air! We have a strict 28 minute time-slot which we have to fit to the second, so a lot of quick mental maths is needed! If we have a band or singer on, I will also work with the director and call all the camera shots - it might look simple but each shot is timed with the music so it can be pretty fast!

A day in the studio flies by and after each item has been rehearsed multiple times to make sure the content and timings are right, it's time for our Dress Rehearsal at 4pm. We treat this exactly as if it's the real thing and is a good opportunity to iron out any last minute changes. Dress Rehearsal over, we have just 30 minutes before we go live. There's a hurried meeting with our Executive Producer, who has been watching the programme from another room and gives his last minute notes. I then head back to the gallery to talk to 'Network' (the people controlling the whole channel's schedule) and confirm our exact 'on air' time. At 5pm I count us on air and we're broadcasting live to the nation! It's a really busy and fast paced day, and lots of things can change at the last minute, but it's incredibly exciting and we always have great guests and interviews. 28 minutes might sound quite a long time, but it speeds by.

The rest of the week I spend coordinating the upcoming shows. I book all of the crew and guests and have to find weird and wonderful ways to get strange items and props to and from studio in time and on budget. I love the weekly build up to each programme and the variety of the show is amazing. One week we might have the latest pop band in performing live, the next there's a complicated science experiment that refuses to work in rehearsals and the next a presenter is abseiling down the side of the studios with the Royal Marines, live! After work you'll usually find me either catching up with friends over dinner, or running and blogging. I'm running my fourth marathon in Manchester in April -it's a good way to release the stress of a busy studio day!"