Peak with the Beeb - Alan Brentnall

Tuesday, 18 December, 2012

Ann Soulsby, Simon Mee, Geoff Wood, Colum Walsh, Alan Brentnall

A few weeks ago Jess and Martyn took a couple of BBC chaps into Peak with a view to their making a film demonstrating some of the underground geology for part a program which is to be made for the Horizon series on BBC TV. After a few changes to date and personnel, the actual filming day was set for Tuesday 18 December. The BBC crew was made up of five people, headed up by the producer, Duncan Singh - I never got all their names apart from the presenter, who was Iain Stewart, a regular on the Horizon show and a name you may remember from BBC’s program on Hang Son Doong in Vietnam which was put on with the help of Martin Holroyd and others.

The day arrived, and Ann and I met up with Colum, Simon and Geoff and sorted out some oversuits, undersuits, helmets and lamps for our charges. The documentary was about hydrolic fracturing or Fracking and the filming itself started with a session up at Mam Tor where the shale is very evident.
After they had completed that session, they came down to meet us in the Chapel and kit up. Amazingly, everybody managed to get suits that fitted and it wasn’t long before we were up at Peak Cavern and heading down to Lumbago - although by now we were about an hour behind schedule.

The plan was to head straight over to Surprise View, lifeline the BBC Crew down to the streamway and head down to the tube where most of the filming would take place. This took quite a time, as we had quite a bit of equipment in heavy Pelicases to carry - in addition to two huge darren drums full of food.

As usual, the filming was quite repetitive - scenes being filmed over and over until the right result was achieved. The cavers sat along the edge of the stream watching while the professionals patiently got on with their work. Although we all got quite cold, it was very absorbing to see how these things are created, and I found the subject matter interesting as it’s quite a topical (and political) issue at the moment.

It was also good to see how the BBC crew (none of them cavers) moved quite well on the slippery rocks, particularly above Surprise View and along the bouldery parts of the Upper Gallery. I never find some of these stretches too easy when I’m carrying loads - wouldn’t fancy it while using and carrying several grandsworth of video camera!

We finally surfaced at 10pm, about three and a half hours over schedule and bang on my call-out time. A bit too close, eh? - I’ll remember that next time I’m involved with a film crew.

I look forward to the final production - in April/May 2013 - should be interesting. Many thanks to everybody who turned up and helped, and to Martyn and Jess for setting it up.

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