The Mayor of Faversham, Cllr Trevor Martin, recounts his visit to Belmont House
Nigel Field, the Town Sergeant, and Louise Bareham, Town Clerk, pick me up around 10:00 am. It is hot, so I decline putting on the Mayoral Chain until we arrive at Belmont. We have been requested to arrive at 11am. On arrival, we set off with the Custumal Book and Moot Horn, after putting on the Mayoral Chain. I feel a bit strange walking in to be directed to the area for pre-booked guests. We meet and chat with some others in the area, stewards are local people including Cllr Reynolds, my predecessor, and start to look closely at the production set ups. I cannot help myself, my early career in the entertainment industry means I still have a fascination with the production process and particularly the way location lighting for an event like this has progressed. LED panels replace the HMI and CDI based lanterns of my training days.
I have only previously visited Belmont to play, score or umpire cricket matches, so have not seen the main house. It is quite impressive, as we are ushered in to sign the appropriate forms and hand over the precious Custumal Book and Moot Horn. We then go into the Conservatory and enjoy a coffee, whilst awaiting the briefing from production assistants as to when we need to be available for filming and to sign the appropriate personal waivers.
Whilst awaiting the time slot we wander around looking at what is going on. The number of Faversham people that talk to us and ask are we getting the Mayoral Chain valued must number in the tens by the end of the day. I meet the Lord Lieutenant of Kent whilst looking at the garden and how various tables are set up. I am asked to pose with some of the children who are there. I always try to accommodate those that want a picture, the fact they have a photo with the Mayor of Faversham might encourage them to visit the town and learn more about it.
We take a lunch from one of the food suppliers on site, then make our way back ready to be called to film the first segment. Justin Croft is going to talk about the Custumal book. I have met Justin a number of times, as part of the team that advised on the Faversham Charters and Magna Carta Exhibition, so am at ease. I mic up a simple radio mike with the transmitter in the back pocket should do. I chat with the crew as they prepare. The attention to detail I think surprises Louise as some tape is used to remove some dust from the cloth used on the table.
We are going well but a few spots of rain start and we stop to make sure the precious book is not damaged. We resume and Justin opens the original book cover which shows the original colour of the leather and some other features that I had not seen before. I am quite surprised but you will have to wait for the broadcast to see if that segment is used to see for yourselves.
Once the filming is complete we have a while to wait before the section with the Moot horn is filmed, so we take the opportunity to look at some of the other filming going on. The number of people still arriving with items to show to the various experts is continuous. We return to the conservatory for another coffee and we wait for the next timed shoot.
Sorry, we are running behind schedule. I laugh, as I recall a number of recordings of shows that have always overrun the schedule. If it is live then the timings are minute perfect but when recording the pursuit of the perfect take or suitable cut points means they often overrun. We are called to an area as Fiona Bruce is going to try the Moot Horn as part of the start sequence of the show. She is finishing off a piece with Anton Du Beke and the Strictly Come Dancing Trophy. A number of the production crew and Fiona have pictures taken with Anton.
We then move to a point where the camera gets a good view of Belmont House and Fiona reads a note about the Moot Horn. She asks me a couple of questions about it, then turns to camera and starts her piece to camera. A dog panting is heard by the Sound Engineer he stops the shoot. The dog is moved back so it is not heard and Fiona repeats the show introduction. I must admit to having some considerable admiration for the quick read and reproduction of facts that Fiona does to camera. A consummate professional is a phrase I do not use lightly, but that certainly applies to Fiona Bruce. I won’t be giving a spoiler here, but if that start is used it is worth watching.
I take back possession of the Moot Horn and put it back into its case and the production team return it to the room they are using to securely store items. I then stand and watch as Jonathan Carey does a piece with Fiona on an item related to Lord Harris from the Faversham Society collection. Again a relatively quick and professional shoot.
It is now time to head to collect the two items and return home. I eventually arrive home around 6:15 pm. It has been a long day wearing the chain!
The Mayor of Faversham
Cllr Trevor Martin