Granada TV Filming17 Feb 1987
Malcolm and Sarah Cooper at Felbridge
The club welcomed Malcolm and Sarah Cooper plus a crew of 10 from Granada TV for a days filming in the club house. Club members Keith Worsfold, David Britchford, and Mike Kettle were in attendance to provide any assistance required.
They had come to the club to allow Granada TV to film Malcolm using his air rifle for inclusion in a kids TV programme. This was a major coup for the club as at the time Malcolm had won a gold medal in the three positions event at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and was in training for the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul where he went on to win a second gold medal in the three positions event. In 1986 he was also world champion in 300m Standard Rifle, a non-Olympic rifle discipline in which he claimed several European and World titles, as well as holding the World record for a period.
It was facinating to watch the TV crew do their stuff during the course of the day. With Director, electricians, cameraman, sound engineer, focus puller etc working around each other in a smooth operation.
As a relatively inexperienced shooter at the time it was equally, if not more facinating, to watch Malcolm do his stuff while Sarah provided a running commentary for the TV crew. This went all the way through from getting himself kitted up and getting prepared for the shoot, through to getting his position lined up with the target and then standing stock still in position with his air rifle for a full 20 minutes while Sarah described to the TV crew what Malcolm was doing. The last 2-3 minutes of which was "nothing" Malcolm was in position and didn't move! I watched his foresight against a mark on the wall and couldn't see any movement whatsoever.
At the conclusion of the talk by Sarah, Malcolm dismounted the rifle and inserted a pellet so the crew could film him actually shooting. Without any sighters his first, and all subsequent shots were 10s!
The setting up for each camera position and the filming went on for the entire day. At the end the crew thought they had about 10 minutes of film in the can. Once edited, this would provide about 10 seconds in the actual show itself.
Having completed their task for the day the TV crew asked if they could see Malcolm shooting live fire .22 rifle on the indoor range. This was at a time when the rules allowed a different jacket for prone and standing. Malcolm hadn't brought his prone jacket, or for that matter, his .22 rifle!
However, that didn't stop Malcolm who promptly went on the borrow a club members jacket, sling, rifle, and mat. A few quick adjustments later and we we all down on the firing point. Malcolm laid down and checked his position. Got up, adjusted the sling length and handstop position, then laid down again. He inserted the first round and lined up the shot. Bang. Sarah, who was scoping for him called "9 at 2 o'clock". Malcolm corrected his sights. Inserted the next round. Bang. "Spot 10 at 3 o'clock" called Sarah. Malcolm put one more click on his sights. Next round. Bang. "Spot 10". Bang. "Spot 10". Bang. "Spot 10". Bang. "Spot 10". Now that is impressive!
In all, a very interesting and informative day. Just from chatting to Malcolm and Sarah between setups we learned an awful lot about elite level shooting that day.
[Report: Mike Kettle]
(I've told this story to a lot of people over the years. Having just rediscovered the letter while having a tidy up I though it was about time I made it a little more permanent.)
Image: Thank you letter from Sara Cooper