Geoff Winston writes:
Attention to detail is a wonderful thing in the right hands!
The BBC broadcast an inspired opener to their coverage of Men’s Final day at Wimbledon 2013 WATCH IT HERE, two minutes of pure film genius that many viewers might have missed at 12.50hrs at the start of the final day. With the Wimbledon feelgood factor very much in the air, and with a musical hook to hang it on (as if we needed it!) from Jeff Lynne and the ELO, we thought we’d bring you the link so you could enjoy it, too, while it is fresh and topical.
We’re in the breakfast room. A young boy, spoon in hand, awaits his Weetabix. Mum pours a splash of milk on the cereal and the white plate, filmed from overhead, slides in to position. At 5 seconds the Pure Evoke DAB radio blue button is clicked on. “Welcome to Wimbledon, the sun is shining here in SW19 and we’re ready for another day of fantastic action …”, and the boy glances at the radio. ELO’s ‘Mr Blue Sky’ drops in right on cue as the soundtrack to this dexterously crafted, light and witty sequence. “The sun is shining in the sky, there ain’t a cloud in sight …”, which fortuitously, was the case on the day, too, after so many rain-soaked finals days!
We’re off into Wimbledon Village, confirmed by the shot of the signpost, and follow the paper boy, as he turns out to be, picking up his newspaper round, a great British tradition … a touch of the Hovis commercial with a distinctly contemporary twist , made with a production budget which was undoubtedly a fraction of CDP’s Ridley Scott’s Hovis ad (in relative terms, as Scott’s ad was made in 1973 – 40 years ago, watch it HERE).
The boy, with his sack of papers strapped over his shoulder, operates the local pedestrian crossing with its equine icons, to walk over to Wimbledon Common. He passes a woman who hurls a yellow tennis ball into the water for her dog to fetch. The dog shakes its dripping head, the woman turns and smiles at the boy – that’s a face we know – it’s … Sue Barker! And then she heads off with the dog, and the boy continues on his way – that’s just the first 35 seconds. “Running down the avenue …” sings Lynne, as the boy walks down the road and up a pathway for his first delivery.
Well, without spoiling it, but to make sure you watch it, let’s just say, look out for marvellously poised, mute cameo performances by Tim Henman, Pat Cash and Boris Becker – and Jonathan Overend’s voice-over which comes in as Lynne sings “Today’s the day we waited for.” It’s so unexpected and understated, in the best tradition of the exquisitely crafted British short film gem, that you’ll be hitting the ‘replay’ button to relish this film’s every detail, or just wallow in the feelgood factor! Look out for the sleight of hand carrot twirl, spun just like the tennis aces do with their racquets.
It’s a lovely vignette of a story, beautifully executed from a magical script, with perfect casting – not least the young boy, ‘Master Leo Gent’, impressively convincing in his role. On finals day, the icing on the cake was the incredible tennis from Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic – and, for the Brits, the perfect outcome with Murray’s victory!
The only thing that I’d like to know is – who made the film?
It's a really great little movie (proved in that it even makes E.L.O. appealing!)
Captures the spirit of a great day in British sport. Hope somebody knows who made the film…
Our friends at BBC Radio 3's 'Jazz on 3' have very kindly helped to find out about this production, tracking down the producer at the BBC, who is Tom Gent, who wrote:
“Great article … thanks … It was made on a very small budget indeed over two days. The cameraman was Giles Harvey who shot the piece on his Red Epic camera (they’ve shot The Hobbit and Avatar on the same equipment so really gives a nice cinematic look and shoots super slomo). The talent were all great and played along fantastically.
The music is half the battle really with these things and I was hoping for something that captured the mood of the nation which I’m glad you agree it did. Once we heard it was set to be a heatwave our minds were made up…! Oh, and well done for spotting Leo Gent on the envelope. That was a tribute to my new-born nephew.”
Many thanks to 'Jazz on 3' and to Tom Gent.
Diary entry 576:
Great video, could have slipped through the cracks relatively unnoticed. Thanks for bringing it some wider attention. Folk should pass it on. Would probably be the most apt use of 'You cannot be serious' once McEnroe's quoted a London cash bus fare.
Great review. Cheers.