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Cameraman Killed While Shooting BBC’s “Black Earth Rising”


Mark Milsome, an experienced cameraman who previously worked on Game of Thrones and Saving Private Ryan – died after being hit by a Land Rover Defender while performing a stunt in Ghana for the series Black Earth Rising.

The veteran camera operator, 54, was filming the car at night, driving up a ramp, but it ended up colliding with him and his camera. It has also been said that he could have been the victim of cost-cutting by the production company, an inquest heard.

A pre-inquest review was told that the crew in Ghana was not as qualified as it should have been and the drivers were inexperienced.

Counsel for the family requested the inquest look into possible cost-cutting measures that might have resulted in his death.

Mark Milsone | Photo: Screen Daily

The hearing was told that the stunt coordinator, Julian Spencer, was too ill to travel to Ghana and the stunt was planned in the UK.

But when it came to be filmed in November 2017 the inquest heard that the stunt was changed, including the position of the camera, with a different risk assessment.


Katherine Deal, QC, representing the family, said:

‘The stunt changed on the day. The risk assessment was very different to the actual stunt that happened.

‘We want to know why the collision happened and the assessments that led up to the stunt.

‘Someone, not in this country, changed the stunt and the position of the camera. The person who originated the stunt was not there to oversee it.’

However, Coroner Dr Sean Cummings said:

‘I will look at the planning of the stunt, the position of the camera, discussions of the stunt before it occurred, and how and why it went wrong.’

He further stated that not being able to into the “costcutting” aspect of the inquest saying: ‘It is not within my remit to investigate the financial concerns of a production.’

Dominic Kay, QC, for the production company Drama Republic, said: ‘I am not aware of any financial or commercial concerns by those who have been advising me.

Ms Deal requested the production disclose raw footage of both the stunt and any rehearsals, as well as sound cards that may have recorded behind-the-scenes conversations between the crew.’

A list of production items were requested to be disclosed within 28 days. Many crew members, from the assistant director to sound engineers, will be called as witnesses.

Even though no fixed date was set, the inquest is likely to take place between five and seven days, will be heard in March 2020 at the earliest.

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