After all the preparation and a three-day round trip to the Highlands of Scotland, my input into the BBC’s Election 2005 coverage came down to one frantic forty minute burst of activity at a quarter past three in the morning.
It was entirely as expected.
Election night programmes are such gigantic beasts that each of the hundreds of OBs scattered around the country play just a tiny part in the overall operation.
Considering the distance we’d travelled to see him, the Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy didn’t exactly go out of his way to help the media pack.
A quick soundbite to the assembled hacks as he arrived with his wife and baby son at Dingwall Leisure Centre got the evening off to a good enough start.
His acceptance speech after a comfortable win in his Ross, Skye and Lochaber constituency was dutifully beamed down live to London.
But then things went down hill.
We’d agreed with the Lib Dem press team that after Charles Kennedy’s acceptance speech he’d step forward to a pre-agreed spot, say a few words and take a few questions. Microphones and lights were set up and cameras positioned in readiness.
It all looked very orderly and efficient.
In the event, however, Kennedy decided to bolt off in completely the opposite direction to the one we’d agreed.
A minor ruck broke out as he was pursued by several dozen journalists trailing leads and equipment, tripping over each other and blocking each others’ camera shots.
A collective grumble to the Lib Dem head of press brought about the desired outcome.
An orderly “doorstep” was arranged and as Charles Kennedy left the count he gave us the soundbite we were waiting for, although his comments were partly drowned out by the sound of wee Donald crying.
A press scrum is no place for a new-born child.