Jon Woods on working on World In Action in Belfast

I assisted on quite a few World In Action’s. It was a very busy weekly show, high turnaround of ideas and projects, and one that I smile at a lot was a World In Action we were shooting with Stuart Prebble, producer, about the IRA, and we were filming in Belfast and Dublin, and it’s the only time I have ever been arrested by the British Army. We were filming some GVs around Belfast and being slightly too obvious around some of the command posts and observation posts for the British Army around elements… on the walls at the divide between the to sectors of the town. And we pulled up in a hire car, we had flown to Ireland, we had been filming, doing interviews around Belfast, one morning Stuart said, “I think we should spend a couple of hours just getting some GVs of the line between the two communities and the paintings, the wall paintings and the barbed wire and the command posts and the observation towers.” And we did that for half an hour, happily away, getting out of the car, few shots, getting back in the car, drive somewhere else. At one point we stopped and I got out and put the camera down, and got back in the car, and about 10 seconds later we had about 20 squaddies who had come out of the command post with their rifles pointing at the car, asking what we were doing. I remember Stuart… some of the moments fly by in your head, but I remember Stuart telling me afterwards that there was this young squaddie pointing his barrel through the window of the car at him, asking what we were doing as he was sitting in the passenger seat, and the young sort of 17 to 18-year-old was sweating, wondering whether this was a car bomb or something like that. So they marched us into the command post, took our passports, found out exactly what we were, who we were, and let us go about an hour and a half, two hours later, and said, “Don’t be so stupid – if you want to film these places you have to ask permission.”

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