Great British Bake Off – Peter Sawkins Makes Lunch With Davina McCall

Peter Sawkins with his Trophy and the stars of the Great British Bake Off
Peter Sawkins winner GBBO 2020


04:30 hrs., Saturday 13th of February 2021.

It was bitterly cold and still black dark as I loaded my ice-covered car with a shed load of my video production equipment.

You Take The High Road, I’ll Take The Low Road,
And I’ll Be In Scotland Afore You.

Scotland was in the grip of a record-breaking cold spell (-23c/-9.4f with lots of snow) and I was heading 164 miles upcountry to Edinburgh.

You take the high road and I’ll take the low road, And I’ll be in Scotland afore you.

At 05:00 hrs, having double-checked my kit-list, wearing a warm coat and scarf, I stowed a shovel on top of my cases of equipment, grabbed some tasty bites and a flask of hot coffee, switched on my heated seat, and started my odyssey.

I decided to take the low road, as the song suggest.

My Assignment

1, To set up a high-bandwidth internet feed in the #Edinburgh New Town Cookery School‘s beautiful kitchen

2, To check the connection

3, To light the kitchen

4, To style the shot

5, To capture audio

6, To shoot High Definition video, following the unscripted action

7, To feed my content live, to London via the internet.

The Show

My feed would be half of a live cookery show being produced by Bear Jam Productions with technical fulfilment by Nodachi Ltd.

We were all working for rye bread brand Ryvita and the show would feature the 2020 Great British Bake Off winner Peter Sawkins sharing some of his Ryvita recipes with TV Presenter Davina McCall.

Social Distancing Was Ensured

Davina was 400 miles away in London.

Our Live Director, Ajay Arora was also in London, calling the shots and mixing my footage with Davina’s whilst she chats with Peter, learning his recipes and making the same healthy delights. So unlike Great British Bake Off, this was not a competition.

The Concept

My shot would be the main picture, filling the screen, and Davina would be seen, picture in picture, superimposed over the top left corner of my shot.

Our celebs would interact via Zoom, on their laptops.

The Challenge

With 3 hours to get a lot of equipment in, connect our HD router, set up, and check everything, I had to work hard and smart.

Thank goodness I had a Camera Assistant. Danny was very helpful. He did a great job and saved me a lot of time.

Going Live in 5, 4, 3…

I love well-prepared live broadcasts as shooting them involves so much adrenaline, with so many things to get right, and no chance to “fix it in post”. As is so often the case these days, the crew was minimised for pandemic reasons, which only increases the stresses and risk of catastrophe with no time nor chance to address any issues that crop up.

The pressure was on but we had done extensive planning and preparation. Cometh the hour cometh the man, and we were ready.

The show was scheduled for a 60 minutes runtime and everything went really well. Davina and Peter were great with their natural and friendly personalities gelling so well together.

During the show, new ideas were promulgated by most of the team and we all gained considerable knowledge from the experience. I truly hope we do this again and showcase the benefits of the experience we have all gained.

We Are Clear!

“Well done everybody.”

That’s a wrap!

Well, actually it is 3 open sandwiches, so not exactly an episode of Great British Bake Off.

But seriously, has anyone seen the weather?

Safe home, one and all.

On Location – On Air – On Time


Some of my TV and Film Work

Some of my Photography



Photos: Ian McCann – Danny Strasser – Ajay Arora