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Wet and wild in West Dorset

June 8, 2010

By Nicky Hoar

Communications Officer, Dorset Wildlife Trust

Now what was I saying about Dorset looking good, basking in hot sunshine, summery breezes ruffling the grasses and flowers…? OK, we do get rain even in the exotic south and most of this year’s allocation fell on me, Simon King and the Springwatch Outside Broadcast unit yesterday on Eggardon Hill!

Well, this was the view from Eggardon at lunchtime yesterday, just before the rain came in – and in the background you can see the woods and meadows of our Powerstock Common and Kingcombe Meadows nature reserves – yes, at last I can tell you where Simon and his wildlife cameramen have been filming. I’m pretty good at keeping a secret, but this was tough – what a relief that’s over!

It must have seemed like such a great idea to do the live broadcast from Eggardon, with its panoramic views to the sea and over the large expanses of these two wild and beautiful reserves. Until the weather changed. But, arriving around lunchtime, I found the crew quite unfazed by the conditions. Simon was due to do the broadcast from the most exposed point facing the sea and nobody seemed to think there was any need to change the plan. Lesley, the script supervisor, sat serenely in ‘the office’ (it’s a van) and showed me the running order, with Simon’s bits of the programme highlighted, the director Patti and all the cameramen seemed to have done everything they could until Simon arrived in the afternoon, so what better than moussaka, garlic bread and salad, followed by a cup of tea and cake all round?

Keeping up the Dorset Wildlife Trust tradition of running on cake fuel

This whole camp kitchen affair, generator and the various vans, including a full directors’ gallery of screens and an editing facility, is moving around daily this week, springing up like mushrooms in unlikely places in the morning and all disappearing by 10.30 pm after the show finishes. There’s even a proper loo for the ladies – Eggardon ensuite.

Trying out the ensuite at Eggardon - TV is so glamorous!

But enough of all these comforts – there was work to be done as soon as Simon arrive in his black landrover at around 3.45. Was there going to be time for me to interview him before he had to get straight into rehearsals? I have to report to you that Simon made sure that there was. A true supporter of the Wildlife Trusts, (he’s Vice President), Simon was not going to let Dorset Wildlife Trust down. After a meeting in ‘the Gallery’ with his producer James and Outside Broadcast director Patti, looking at the latest film he and the guys had brought in from Kingcombe, Simon reported for a photo shoot with Dorset magazine (to go with my article – look out for the July edition), for which I found myself holding the umrella thingy that flashes with the camera – a first for me.

And then it was my turn – 15 minutes with the King of Spring, as Kate Humble put it. And he is absolutely so genuine in his wonder and enjoyment at the wildlife around him. Yes, he chose Dorset personally this year and he loves the county because it is a ‘little capsule’ of such a wide range (biodiversity if you like) of wildlife – a chance to show people what we have here in England. And yes, he thinks Dorset is exceptional because it has a real sense of the Mediterranean in landscape and fauna – not today it doesn’t! But we are promised an improvement in the weather later today, so let’s hope the sun shines on tonight’s live broadcast. Especially as I and two other DWT staff will be joining them for the evening to take part in the ‘pub quiz’ on unsprung after the show. Don’t miss us tonight – press the red button at the end of the live show. I’ll be telling you what we have for dinner – er, I mean, all about it in my next blog.


Dorset Springwatch

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