Saturday, December 17, 2016

Michael Nicholson RIP

ITN reporter Michael Nicholson has died aged 79.

He covered the Falklands War, and soon realised the first hand reporting was going to be in audio only.  This extract of an interview with Michael is from Forgotten Voices of The Falklands by Hugh McManners

Around 2pm local on June 8 1982, British troop ships Sir Tristram and Sir Galahad were reinforcing those already in place at Bluff Cove, when they were hit by 500lb bombs from five Argentine Skyhawks. The British media contingent, already landed, had clear sight of the unfolding tragedy, which cost 56 lives, most of them Welsh Guards on the Galahad.

In the late afternoon, dispatches by Nicholson and the BBC's Brian Hanrahan were played back to newsrooms in the UK; news organisations could use either of them, but only when 'cleared' by the MoD censors. I was producing the Falklands element of the 1730 Newsbeat on Radio 1, and gambled that Hanrahan would come through - the Nicholson piece was much more explicit about injuries and mode of death, I thought; Hanrahan seem more measured, so I set to work shaping the audio into the overall report.

Minutes before air-time, the Nicholson piece was cleared, and the Hanrahan held back. The MoD liked Nicholson's phrase "a day of extraordinary heroism", and took against Hanrahan's "a setback for the British". Actually, I think Hanrahan's description of the helicopters rescuing survivors made the heroism pretty clear, but I had to scramble to cut the Nicholson that I'd left aside...

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