For the eighth year running, Entec Sound and Light has supplied lighting production for LD Mike "Sooty" Sutcliffe at the National TV Awards, staged at the Royal Albert Hall, presented by Sir Trevor MacDonald, and broadcast live. Entec's client was production company Indigo Television. They worked closely with production manager Ruth Tester-Brown and Mike Sutcliffe to ensure the lighting setup went smoothly.

Sutcliffe chose a large palette of moving lights, including Vari*Lite® VL2202s™ and VL2402s™, Clay Paky Stage Zoom 1200s and Stage Scans as well as Martin Professional MAC 300s, 500s, and 600s. Entec also supplied Pulsar ChromaBanks, placed around the bottom of Richard Plumb's stylish set, which was built by Frost Scenery.


Lighting operator Svend Pedersen (left) with lighting designer Mike Sutcliffe.

S+H Technical Support draped the entire back of the stage area with a massive star cloth, transforming the hall into a perfect environment for a celebrity night out. The live audience and galleries were illuminated with Studio Due CityColors and hundreds of PAR cans dotted around the upper regions of the building.

Sutcliffe ran the show with his colleague Svend Pedersen, the latter using a Flying Pig Systems Wholehog® II with Overdrive for the moving lights, while Sutcliffe looked after the generics, set practicals, and star cloth using an Avolites Pearl 2000. The overstage lights were rigged on four elegant finger trusses, spreading out from upstage center, and slightly raked from upstage to downstage. All rigging and metalwork was provided and rigged by Outback Rigging.


Left to right: Entec's Adam Stevenson, Svend Pedersen, and LD Mike Sutcliffe.

Entec's team was led by crew chief Adam Stevenson, a veteran of eight TV Awards with Mike Sutcliffe. The load-in commenced at 2am the day before the show, and the crew worked 24 hours in two 10-to-12-hour shifts of six people each. The lighting department was ready for a full rehearsal at 6pm on the first evening, which was followed by a night of programming. The show itself was broadcast the following evening, after a full day of rehearsals and programming.


Setting up for the National TV Awards at London's Royal Albert Hall.

With such a tight schedule, a meticulous prep is imperative. It's also important for the crew to gel together, and Sutcliffe comments that Entec's fantastic teamwork, communication, and attention to detail "really makes it rock" under difficult physical circumstances. Entec hired a bus to be parked outside the venue for the two days of the event for the crew to sleep in between shifts. "Timescale is undoubtedly the biggest challenge with the TV Awards," states Stevenson. "The load-out is pretty full-on too, with another show coming straight in."