Mike Abbott

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Mr Mike Abbott

I was born in 1948. I began working at the BBC in 1970, my final year at the BBC was 2004. Whilst at the BBC I was known as Michael Abbott.

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Education

Minworth Primary School, Castle Bromwich High School for Boys, College, Matthew Boulton, Birmingham Passed with distinction City of Guilds Electrical installation. Open University Degree Social Science with Honours

Previous Jobs

Electrician Apprentice Birmingham Tame and Rae, Qualified Electrician, James Scott Electrical contractors Glasgow, Burroughs Adding Machines Technical department, Cumbernauld

How I joined the BBC

My eventual father in law saw an advert whilst he was Clerk of works at BBC Scotland new building. The advert was for technical assistants (TA). I applied and had the interview in Cavendish House in late1969 and started in April 1970 @ Evesham.

My first impressions of the BBC

Arriving at Evesham was a bit daunting not know ing anyone but soon got into the swing of things. It was all very new to me having been an avid watcher of the sport output and not yet gone to colour at my home in Minworth. It was still predominately black and white TV transmissions that I saw up to this point. Evesham showed was to be the norm.

Broad BBC career

TA Evesham 1970, joined Videotape in London till 1974, Moved to Glasgow as an engineer, Attachment to sport in 1978 six months, joined BBc Scotland sport department 1980 Assistant Producer, Producer 1986 approx.. Senior Producer 1988, holding various titles within sports department till early retirement in 2004.

My training at the BBC

Technical Assistant, Engineer Course, Various management courses.

Feelings about the BBC whilst I worked there

Having gone through the TA36 course I was allocated TV centre videotape department which was a dream come true. It all happened here and I soon made some long lasting friends (VT Old Boys) I returned to Evesham to take the engineer couse and then moved to Glasgow as an enginneer. I became interested in the production of sports prorammes and retuned to London in 1978 on a attachment to Sport Department where again I made some life long friends

Non autobiographical notes and facts BBC about the BBC

I always found my colleagues treated each other as part of a team and the friendships developed from there. I do not recall many instances in my engineering days other than there was a prank or two being played on talkback. In the early days at Lime Grove doing 24Hours we had to put together an animated sequence which involved the production changing graphics cards in the studio and the VT machine recording a set duration of frames before rolling back and the graphic changed. Quite often all would go well till the last frame hence usual panic to either start again or make an edit. Do not remember ever making air. My relationship with London sport was established whilst on attachment in 1978 and later as Sports head in Scotland had many dealings with them. I recall during my attachment in 1978 a golf event at The Belfry when the late Seve Ballesteros made the first attempt to go for the green at the 10th, all we saw on the video disc was a flutter of leaves and the ball dropping on the green a great moment in sport. In the late 1980's widescreen was being established and BBC Scotland we were the first to cover Scotland v England Rugby International at Murrayfield in widescreen. The technical side fed it through a convertor to change the aspect ratio to the current 4 x 3, this made a feature in TVB Europe magazine. I was very fortunate to travel widely with the BBC, World Cup in Italy 1990, 1992 Olympics Barcelona to work with EBU, 1996 Atlanta, 2000 Sydney where my family saw me on air just after midnight from the cycling, 2004 Athens. In between there were winter Olympics 1998 Nagano, Commonwealth games Edinburgh 1986, Canada 1994, Kuala Lumpur 1998 and Manchester 2002. Europe was the main travel destination associated with Scottish Football, Curling World Championships etc. The World Bowls Championship was started in Scotland in 1976 at Coatbridge Indoor Bowls Stadium with editing taking place in Scotland and then travelling to London to deliver the transmission tape a far cry from todays links etc. We take today for granted databases and access to material. One of my first tasks when I joined Sport in BBC Scotland was to develop a database of our sports material this I achieved with help of a colleague Jim Neil in Central Apparatus area using a BBC Micro and Access database software we were able to provide all the Scottish sports material searchable which was invaluable for Football Focus features and our other sports programmes in Scotland. At its peak BBC Scotland Sports department was producing 200 hours of programming a year ranging from Boxing, Bowls, Golf, Football, Athletics, series on Scotland Rugby Grand Slams and associated DVD's.


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