Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Archive videojournalism programming - The Marchioness

Fifty one young party goers aboard a pleasure boat lost their lives.

One hundred and thirty people were on board as an almost 2000 ton dredger ran into the boat. There was no contingent emergency service on the Thames to help anyone.

An inquiry found the captain of the dredger, Douglas Henderson, had drunk six pints of beer that afternoon. There was no mayday, the lookout sighting the Bowbelle's path was described as poor.

The ensuing inquiry over weeks found that the coroner Dr Paul Knapman cut off the hands of 20 deceased to identify them.

The disaster came to be known as the Marchioness - the name of the pleasure boat.

I was the videojournalist from Channel One TV assigned to cover the inquiry proceedings and the ensuing package, working with a producer, we put together captured an event, like many other progs, that should not be forgotten.

As I write this I feel uncomfortable. This is not about videojournalism and most certainly not about me trying to tell you how wonderful videojournalism is. This is about remembrance. It's the reason we, particularly young people should be privy to images of the Great War, WWII, 911, 711, Holocaust, Marchioness and many many others.

I'll post the 15 min film later next week. I'll also see if I can make contact with Margaret Lockwood-Croft who lost her 26 year old son, Shaun, in the tragic event.

In the end it matters less how we capture images, so long as we can and I believe we should do our sensitive best to do so.

Back then, and it does seem like yesterday, there was no mass use of the Net or mobile phones.

In this context, thoughts should go to those who were caught up and affected by this - one of the most tragic stories on the Thames.