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The making of Tournament 6: In JP Morgan's footsteps

Updated Friday, 6th April 2007

The Timewatch Team goes transatlantic.

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Monday 2 April

At 8 we RV (rendezvous/meet) with the crew and head for the Morgan Library and Museum in Manhattan, the home of the only surviving copy of the 13th Century biography of William Marshal. The staff of the museum couldn't be nicer, and let us film in the legendary JP. Morgan's suite of rooms, including his study, library and strong room.

They draw the line when Dom asks if he can shoot me coming through the main door. It's locked, they tell us, and as the last person to use it was Gianni Versace I'm not about to insist. Instead I'm filmed chatting to Bill Voelkle, the museum's curator, about the significance of the biography.

Bill is bemused (as rookies often are) by the number of times we have to film each sequence (to cover all the angles), but remains cheerfully cooperative nonetheless. That done, I do three pieces-to-camera (PTCs), one very long which, sleep deprived as I am, I find hard to remember. I get it in the end and we troop out for lunch in a typical NY diner.

JP Morgan [Image: An earlier shot of Morgan published in The World's Work, 1908] Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Public domain
An early shot of Morgan published in The World's Work, 1908

After lunch we flag down a yellow NY taxi and ask him if, for a price, he minds us filming in the back. He agrees, and we do a couple of PTCs with Dom as sound man (here's no room for Greg).

We also spend a few minutes rigging a smaller camera on the bonnet of the cab to get some windscreen shots of NY's skyline. Then it's back to the hotel to pick-up our luggage and on to the airport. Fortunately the flight is half empty and we both get a row of four seats. I sleep most of the way.

Tuesday 3 April

The flight lands at 10 a.m. (an hour late) and, after the usual delay trying to find our BBC driver, I drop off my bags in Ladbroke Grove and continue on to the West End. Dom says he's going to get a couple of hours sleep, but I don't have time.

I'm due to sign copies of my new paperback, Victoria's Wars: The Rise of Empire, at bookshops all over West London and arrive half an hour late. No matter. The shops seem to have plenty of copies, and say it's selling well. Later I attend a book party in the city, but with an early start I leave at 11 and am in bed by 12.

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