The 2020 Pride of Britain Awards were always going to be a special one. In what has been the most challenging year for us all, people up and down the country stepped up to bring positivity and bravery to a dire situation.
Hosted by Carol Vorderman, the ceremony honours those who have acted bravely or extraordinarily in challenging situations. Usually the event takes place at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London, this year however, the show would take place outside London’s Royal Hospital Chelsea. With no audience and just Carol Vorderman hosting the ceremony, celebrities were deployed around the country to surprise and present the awards to the recipients.
For the opening sequence of the award ceremony, we were tasked with flying Carol into London in our AW109SP helicopter. On her journey through London we hovered over hospitals and police stations to pay tribute to those in the emergency services. These fantastic people have soldiered on through everything that has happened this year while putting themselves at risk.
As Carol made her way over the various landmarks of England’s capital, we filmed from our London based AS355 twin-squirrel, G-LINE. Equipped with our GSS C516 and Sony P1 camera, we captured gorgeous footage of our aircraft as it flew over the city and along the River Thames. Working closely with the ITV production team we spent over an hour and half completing the full shot list for the awards opener.
We returned to skies above London a few days later, this time at night to film the BT Tower. The names of those being honoured appeared one by one on the towers 360° LED display for all of London to see. This was only possible as we operated our Day/Night VFR aircraft along with our IFR capable aircraft. Our pilots are also night rated combined with extensive experience flying at night.
Planning for the shoot took place over the weeks prior along with us being granted various permissions to fly and film over London. This included obtaining non-standard flight numbers from NATS that allowed us to access the controlled airspace over the city.
With Carol Vorderman safely at her destination and all the footage in the bag, it was time to return to base and get ready for our next ITV project, I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here.