Monday, September 29, 2003

How do you plan for someone death, I was asked this morning.

It's a question I've been giving my attention to all day.

Let's face it, at 83 the Pope isn't getting any younger. It may seem distasteful but we've got to be prepared for the moment when he goes to meet his boss. You can't organise a major outside broadcast on a wing and a prayer.

We've obviously been aware of this for years but recent events suggest the moment when JP goes a-knocking on the pearly gates could be sooner rather than later.

When that moment comes I'll immediately have to get a plane to Krakow, where the Big Man spent much of his life before becoming Pope.

Death comes in an instant -- but planning the coverage of it takes a lot longer. There's hotel rooms, ISDN lines, drivers, fixers, satellite time, live positions for TV cameras, parking permission for broadcast trucks, and a hundred and one other things to think about in advance.

The main problem, though, is that the blokes in frocks at the Vatican are pretending that although he already looks like he's been dead for 10 years, the Pope's been miraculously blessed with the gift of immortality. Trying to get information out of them as to what their plans are for when the inevitable happens is like trying to get blood out of a weeping statue of the Virgin Mary.

If it all goes to plan it'll be a real miracle.


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