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Well, as a badly underused part of my portfolio, I thought I would try to add something worthwhile. Then it hit me. why not tell you about my experience at the recording of the highly popular Top Gear.
I was lucky enough to be on a list with a work colleague, mind you it was 3 1/2 or 4 years waiting, but it led to being invited to attend the recording of Season 13's first episode.
My friend Deborah and I, left Liverpool at 7am, we travelled to Dunsfold Aerodrome, near Cranleigh, Surrey. Its a few miles south of Guildford. The journey took about 5 hours all in, about 250 miles.
We arrived around midday at the aerodrome, where we were ushered towards a car park. It was very exciting, here we were, at the very airfield where it all happened. As we were quite early, things were not due to happen till around 2.30, we had a wander around. There was a merchandise stall, the Dakota Diner for food and drinks. Although the toilets were sparse, at least they had some.
One of the production crew called us all together, about 200 in all, and ran through some basics, women leave your handbags in the cars, switch mobile phones off, that sort of thing.
Then the moment came, and we were led around the hanger, past the reasonably priced car, and its twin, into the Top Gear hanger.
We were met with a familiar scene of Toyota pickup trick, suitable destroyed, James May's Triumph Herald sailcar. Jeremy Clarksons Polizei Fiat Coupe. There were a few other bits and pieces around, Im sure you know the general layout.
We ran through some Health and Safety stuff (cant escape from that eh?) and Jeremy was brought on stage. He greeted us all, and chatted about general stuff for a few moments, and took a few quickfire questions. It was good to see he was human after all.
For the filming, we were asked to keep in place and not move till we were told. This gave the crew space to move things like camers, and lighting rigs around. It also let us see how things are set up, very simple, but very effective. In between sets, it only took a few moments to get the scene set, and then up to us, the audience, to applaude in the right place so that pieces can be mixed and edited. We had to record some "clean" sounds, applause, cheers, laughter etc, so that the sound editor had good audio to deal with.
In between the various set pieces, there is VT to watch. (Video Tape, bu you already knew that, didnt you?) We got to see the same VT that will be shown on the broadcast, but we get to see it in advance. We also got to see some bloopers from previous shows, which is always nice.
Each piece took a few goes, with some caused by technical problems, some caused by human error. One particular piece had to be re shot nearly 2 hours after originally done, as it had not been noticed that a wrong time had been put up on the fast lap board.
We even had the chance to see the Stig in all his glory. He was even persuaded to remove his helmet and identify himself. He is none other than (edited by me, i should not have revealed that, lol). What a guy, he really was a surprise addition to the show, and quite unexpected. It took the audience a few moments to realise who we were looking at, but once it sank in, we were ecstatic, and raised the roof with our cheers.
In all, i really enjoyed the experience, it was good fun, was highly entertaining, and a bit of an eye opener. While we didnt get the chance to meet the presenters, to be fair it would be quite impossible to greet us all individually, it was a great experience.
If you have the chance to go to any show, its well worth it.
Thats it really, just wanted to get a few words down, happy now.
Thanks for reading this, if you have,