To 2013 and beyond…

The Devil's Den - the remains of a prehistoric burial chamber or long barrow on the Marlborough hills in Wiltshire.
The Devil’s Den – the remains of a prehistoric burial chamber or long barrow on the Marlborough hills in Wiltshire.
During the Christmas holidays I have been away from the Bald Explorer office, but as soon as January is upon us there is much to do. The next three progranmmes for the Community Channel need to be made ready, including a re-edit of the video ‘History You Can Touch’. This was my first foray into long format history videos. I was down in Wiltshire investigating the ancient monuments of our prehistoric forefathers, the burial chambers, long barrows and tombs. These were plundered in the 17th and 18th century by the first of the gentlemen antiquarians and pioneering archaeologists. I have decided include this as a Bald Explorer production as part of the final three episodes to deliver to the Community Channel along with some additional footage, yet to be shot, to show what inspired the series format. It will also be nice to see this footage get an airing on British TV.

Early CGI of the Shrewsbury canal basin. Much more work to do.
Early CGI of the Shrewsbury canal basin. Much more work to do.
The canal episode is nearly computer. What is taking so long is the computer graphics element. It is a skill that I enjoy but am least proficient at and takes much long therefore to complete. I want to be able to convey an artists impression of how the complete length of the now abandoned canal might have once looked and highlight some of the original and historically important iconic landmarks along the way.

2013 is looking like a promising year for the Bald Explorer. I aim to produce more episodes and a number of series ideas have been planned. Keep checking back to the website where all the information will be updated regularly. In the meantime, I would like to wish all my viewers and blog post readers a very Happy New Year.

BE on the CC on Christmas Day!

cc-christmas How very exciting. I am very thrilled to say that the Community Channel is showing a triple bill of the Bald Explorer on Christmas Day from 11.30am. So now you can open all your festive presents while watching the intrepid adventurer as he clambers over some of Britain’s greatest heritage.

I have to say I am very grateful to the Community Channel for taking such a massive interest in the BE programme and I am looking to work with them more fully next year (2013) with a new exciting series. I do have three more episodes to deliver early in the year. These I think are likely to be screened in February, making a nice series of 6 episodes broadcast on UK TV. For me that is quite an accolade.

Also I would like to thanks all the fans and supporters who have enjoyed the journey, the episodes and read the blogs along with way, and those that have even taken the time to comment. It is all very much appreciated. I do hope you all have a fabulous Christmas and a very happy New Year. I very much look forward to connecting up with you all again in 2013 when we can get back to some more exploring.

Happy Christmas to you all!

Final Preview of Canal Prog

Richard Vobes is the Bald Explorer seeking out Britain’s fabulous heritage. In this episode for the Community Channel, to air hopefully in January, he is exploring a lost canal that the Shrewsbury and Newport Canal Trust are eager to see back in water.

Thomas Telford was involved towards the end of the construction and Richard is off to explore the area where the old tub boats used to run to provide coal for the iron furnaces at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

There is a stretch of the abandoned canal that is sill in water, although landlocked and so impossible at present to get a narrow boat on it, Richard has special permission to launch a coracle on it.

Coracle on a Canal

On the best surviving stretch of the Newport Canal.
I have been back in Shropshire filming more footage for the Bald Explorer over the last few days and on this occasion I had my son, Billy, to assist me. We had a number of key sequences to shoot including the opening, various pieces to camera and a coracle in the only surviving ‘looked after’ length of the Shrewsbury and Newport Canal.

The biggest problem filming in winter is the short days, low sunlight and unpredictability of the weather. It can be numbingly cold, but provided it isn’t windy I can live with that. It certainly focuses the mind to get the shots in the can as quickly as possible and not to hang about.

Paddling the ancient coracle on the old canal.

It isn’t the best time of year to go filming canals if you want to see pretty narrow boats chugging along because many are moored up for the winter, in for repair and covered up. I desperately need to get some footage of boats going through locks, passing one another and chuffing under bridges. I think I will need a special day of narrow boat hunting.

The highlight of the recent batch of shooting was getting back into the coracle again. I bought the thing over two years ago for another episode, but haven’t had a chance to use it yet, so I found an excuse in this episode to get it on water. Billy and I took it to Newport where there is a fair stretch of the canal and having had special permission to do so, we filmed my slightly wobbly attempt to paddle the ancient craft.

Thanks to Bernie Jones for his help making this happen

A big thanks must go to Bernie Jones from the Shrewsbury and Newport Canal Trust for organising and smoothing the way. I am looking forward to editing the video and seeing this sequence in the programme when it airs on the Community Channel, hopefully in January.