I spent an evening shooting with vikings in Leicester. The Vikings of Middle England are a re-enactment group who focus on the Norsemen of the Dark Ages. I filmed them at St Luke’s Church Hall in Leicester, where they were practising hand to hand combat.
There was an Ash Wednesday service going on next door in the church itself. I hope nobody strayed into the wrong room. I was trying to finish in time to watch West Ham on the box in the FA Cup tie with Middlesbrough. Filming is never easy though. I couldn’t leave early as my main job was to protect my cameraman’s head from stray axes. Andy is one of our best cameramen, but he does like to get close in to the action.
The Vikings of Middle England were brilliant to work with and seemed to really enjoy being filmed. Well, I suppose they weren’t used to it, as cameras are a modern invention. There was just one chap who didn’t like us being there. As we left he demanded that I edit him out of all footage as he didn’t want to be filmed. It would have been easier if he’d mentioned that beforehand, because it would make editing a nightmare, but he was a large viking, so I didn’t argue with him.
I learnt lots about vikings. They didn’t wear horned helmets you know. That was a Victorian invention to demonise them. Give something horns and it doesn’t do much for it’s image. Just think of the devil or goats. As most of my funny lines where cheap jokes about horns and helmets, I had to think on my feet. I finally came up with a comedy pay off to end the piece, ‘That’s the end of the Norse, and now the weather.’
I knew it was a bit weak, so I asked the vikings to groan and shuffle off after I said it. I told them their motivation was ‘what a w***er’. They seemed to understand perfectly. Either that or some of them weren’t actually acting!
In the end, I only got back to watch the last thirty minutes of the West Ham game, but we crashed out of the cup anyway, so perhaps it was just as well.
You can see the piece below.