Two days before Christmas of 2012 I was told that a work colleague of mine had lost his fight with cancer. Mark O’Leary was a Sports Producer at Sky, working closely with the gallery team and presenters at Sky News. He would waltz into the gallery wearing outlandishly bright hawaiian shirts, cracking jokes and having a laugh with everyone with seconds to spare before going back on-air from a commercial break. He was a genuinely good guy with a presence that could change the atmosphere of a room. He is a sad loss for all of us.
I only recently learned that Marko was a bit of a Trekkie. He loved sci-fi and had been watching the remastered High Definition episodes of Star Trek The Next Generation as it was being broadcast by the Syfy channel in the UK. I’d been doing the same thing over Christmas, having also discovered the re-run would be from the very first episode. It fills me with joy and sadness to think that Marko was watching and laughing at the same funny bits I was. A moment shared without realisation.
Unfortunately due to the amount of people Marko knew and left an impression with, there was only limited space at his funeral and I couldn’t be there. But I think I’ve managed to do something in his memory that he would have been thrilled with…
A team in the U.S. have been running a project to rebuild and restore an original Star Trek The Next Generation ‘Enterprise D bridge’ that was about to be thrown out by Paramount. The ‘bridge’ is one of the most iconic and fundamental areas for any Star Trek series. The entire Enterprise D bridge will become an interactive museum used for teaching as well as carrying the history of Star Trek.
The restoration team put out a message on their Facebook page asking for any names they could integrate into the restoration, so I left them a message and emailed them asking if they would include Marko’s name somewhere. And they replied saying “not a problem”.
And so Marko’s name will be inscribed onto an iconic Isolinear Chip, installed on the bridge computer, with his memory becoming an actual Star Trek memory chip on-board the restored Enterprise D bridge.
The set will eventually travel around the world to conventions and shows, before settling as a museum piece for all to experience.
I hope that works for you, Marko.
UPDATE: A separate memorial service organised by Marko’s employer, British Sky Broadcasting, is to take place on the 29th January 2012.
This morning, Mark made his final decision and left the Big Brother house. It was an emotional morning. Big Brother switched on the bedroom lights and called Mark to to the Diary Room, and without hesitation Mark got dressed and started saying his goodbyes. It was a poignant moment when the housemates realised that Big Brother didn’t play in the usual annoying sounds to wake them up. Big Brother took a more gentle approach.
With many tears and hugs at the staircase Mark said his goodbyes and made his way through the Diary Room door and down the corridor. And then he was gone.
The housemates were just getting to grips with his decision when the lightbox changed to red to show Marks departure and a final announcement that Mark was no longer a housemate. Even I had a lump in my throat!
The launch of Big Brother 2011 was one of the best shifts ever. When the Morning Directors got in early, the Big Brother house was eerily quiet and still. Paddy Doherty had won Celebrity Big Brother 2011 the night before and nobody had been in the house since. An industrial deep cleaning team arrived promptly to deal with the carpets and the matresses. The ‘task team’ went in and put fresh sheets and covers on every bed. The kitchen was stripped and steam cleaned and all new utensils were put in and the garden was miraculously turned into a beach area with sand and a Life Guard hut. The smoking area was also turned into a VIP party area with gloss black flooring with under lighting, a VIP bar area and decor. All very swanky! Turned out this was only for the first day or so as part of a task.
Brian Dowling rehearsed from 10am onwards with the Roll To Record crews. He does it well and is even better with a good reactive crowd.
Technically I had finished my shift at 3pm but decided to stay the whole day to find out who the new housemates were. The names weren’t given till after 5pm and the internal photos weren’t shown till about 7pm.
By 7.30pm the crowds were in and the warm up guy had his work cut out. He played a selection of tunes such as We Will Rock You and got everyone involved with hand clapping and singing and occasionally throwing a Big Brother t-shirt into the cheering crowds. I like stuff like that, considering it’s a night out for the audience. The happier the crowd, the better they respond.
I found myself a good view for launch; right up by the photographers! A priveliged position! I even managed to get caught on camera a few times…
One by one the FOURTEEN housemates went down those famous stairs. And the fun began with Pamela Anderson, watching each VT as they went in and observing from a purpose built ‘living room’ area situated in the Large Task Room, taking notes for comment later. Some housemates were adoringly cheered whilst others were predictably booed.
Overall, the new housemates were a good looking bunch all under the age of 30.