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Richard Martin Lighting with Chris Kempton on Never Mind The Buzzcocks

Richard Martin Lighting with Chris Kempton on Never Mind The Buzzcocks

Chris Kempton has been hiring lighting equipment from Richard Martin Lighting (RML) since the beginning, just over ten years ago, when Never Mind The Buzzcocks first aired. Despite not being the LD on the pilot, Chris was however placed in the hot seat for the forthcoming episodes. The show began in 1996, presented first by Mark Lamarr who also produced the show for a short time before his departure in December 2005. Various guest hosts followed but the show gained its current and respected host Simon Amstell in October 2006.

The show has come into its own, carving a slot in BBC TV quiz show memories, topically contemporary whilst visually ‘retro'. Phill Jupitus, a giant of a man, has featured on every episode as a team captain, whilst the other team has seen Sean Hughes and more recently Bill Bailey retire from their captaincy's and give way to another round of guest captains in the search to find a suitable replacement. 

Over the years Chris explains how lighting the show has changed: "There is far more automation than there used to be; there used to be more tungsten lamps. The automated lights, which are used not just for effects, but to replace some of the conventional lamps, give more flexibility, the ease of colour changing and speed of setting and they are also much easier to hang!" 

The set underwent its most recent revamp in 2006, and Chris says "it is now a blank canvas for lighting and has become architectural and structural; we can create more textures from the lighting."

Right at the beginning of the show he introduced the novel idea originating from his youthful theatrical experience - a gauze background. He explains: "It adds another plane of light. There was a busy background, with screens and instruments and it was too bright - the gauze softened it off."

Console operator Dave Wilson, fondly known as ‘Weasel', has occasionally appeared on the show, and one of those times included an incident involving an extremely bright lightning strike machine. An ex-presenter decided he should operate it with his foot, but unfortunately he got button-happy and it jammed on, resulting in a show stopping entrance. ‘Weasel' came to the rescue with Bill Bailey standing to announce he had found his long lost father!

As Chris admits, there is nothing exotic used. Richard Martin Lighting supplies its current lighting rig, consisting of eight MAC 500's, eight MAC 600's, eight MAC 250's, seven Chromabanks and 48 LED Parcans. The MAC 500's and the MAC 250's project onto the gauze, whilst the MAC 600's on the floor are used to wash set pieces. The Chromabanks can be seen sitting underneath the panel's desk, and the PAR cans are used to the backlight the ‘speaker stack' set pieces that appear behind the contestants

Other RML ‘names' working on the show include operator Bill Peachment and technician Dan Neagle.

With such a well-established and accomplished programme, Chris and his team are hoping for another 200 shows, sticking with the regular lighting rig and the regular lighting hire company, RML!

15th January 2009

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