My Chevin Cross memories
Just after Easter in 1996 a BBC film crew came to Otley to film a segment for their Sunday morning programme – “Heaven and Earth” I think it was called. Early one Saturday morning a group of people from the various churches, including my friend Liz and myself, gathered at the top of the Chevin around the Cross. We were joined by a Christian singer named Joe King, and his band, to film a sort of music video for the programme. The accompanying track was the hymn, “Lord of all hopefulness”. The idea was that the track would start with Joe and the band walking through the streets of Otley, drawing people out of their houses, and lead them – Pied Piper style – up the Chevin and to the Cross. However, since that was the day that the Cross was due to be taken down, the filming had to be done in reverse and the part on the Chevin needed to be completed before the helpers gathered at 0930 to lower the Cross. By the time we were finished we had lost count of the number of times we had all walked up the last slope of the Chevin that leads to the Cross, and the number of times the final verse to the hymn had been played.
Liz had always harboured ambitions of TV stardom and so she was thrilled when a production assistant named Mercedes asked us to go back that afternoon to film the scenes of people coming out of the houses. So we duly assembled on Station Road later in the day. Mercedes knocked on various house doors to ask permission to use their front doors and porches. Liz and I ended up inside one of the glass porches near the top of the street. We had to look out of the window to see what was happening, then go outside and join the procession up the road behind the band. After the editing process the TV broadcast showed one group of people walking up Station Road and then cut to a completely different group of people on the upper slopes of the Chevin making their way towards the Cross. I learned a lot about television production that day and it just goes to show that everything you see on TV is not necessarily as it appears!