Filming at Lower Buckton B&B

One of the lovely locations featured in episode four of the Bald Explorer as he goes about searching Britain for historic interest and gorgeous scenery is the beautiful country house at Lower Buckton in north Herefordshire, near the old Roman fort at Leintwardine and close to the fabulous food festival capital at Ludlow in Shropshire.

Carolyn Chesshire and her husband Henry have been running the bed and breakfast business there for the past ten years welcoming city folk to the countryside to relax and de-stress. With views to the Wigmore hills, an ancient Roman Leet running through the grounds and a old mill next door it is a perfect setting in which to unwind. It is also the perfect place to send the Bald Explorer to spend the night as part of his next video as he goes in search of Caratacus and his last ditch attempt to thwart the dreaded Roman invaders.

Georgie, my daughter and chief cinematographer on this project, and I both fell in love with the place, the rooms and the atmosphere and it was a delight to shoot part of episode four at this delightful and historic spot.

Why not check out the video we made as a thank you which tells you more about Carolyn and Henry’s country house bed and breakfast.

On Filming: Leintwardine, Hopton and Lower Buckton

Filming at Leintwardne Church

It’s great to be back out filming on location once more for another Bald Explorer adventure. This time I am in the Welsh Marches with my daughter Georgie and we are gathering interviews and a few cutaway shots to be included in the next episode.

As you may have gather from previous posts, I am on the search for Caratacus and the position of his last stand against the Roman invaders in AD50. Somewhere, and historians are a bit shady on the exact location, lies the hill and possibly hillfort of this ancient Briton, where he struggled to prevent the might of Rome smashing the tribes of our ancient land. Part of my investigation is to explore the lives and personalities of the people who are here today and who can connect me to those days two thousand years ago.

Our filming is all fitted around professional engagements and people’s availability, so unlike a TV film unit we cannot simply assign one or two weeks to gathering all the shots and then edit the programme together, we have to grab our material in bits. It all takes time, but even so, the story delightfully unfolds and the wait will be worth it.

Blowing my own trumpet, ancient man style, thanks to Peter the Corcale Man.

I have already been tramping about the location in south Shropshire and north Herefordshire shooting an assortment of views, signs, streams and bridges as part of the flavour of the Welsh Marches. This time, still in the same area, it was interviews with a coracle maker, a bed and breakfast hostess and a local historian who looks after an impressive medieval tower house, that took mine and Georgie’s attention. There were 12th century steps to climb in the circular turret of the old Leintwardine Church so that we could get up onto the roof and grab a few visas and a spot of floating on the river from our coracle chap as we zoomed and focused our lens, and of course, recorded his skills paddling in the River Teme.

The beautiful farm house at Lower Buckton was a delight to video as was the old mill adjacent and the Roman leet that ran through the grounds. Maybe the highlight was the home made biscuits, locally produced lunch or the cream teas that was generously given to Georgie and I as we toiled to get the necessary shots in-between the occasional rain showers.

I am definitely looking forward to getting back to record more and start the various pieces to camera in my quirky style which has now become my trademark. Watch this space for more adventures from the Bald Explorer.

The Bald Explorer’s Great Day Out!

I have come up with a cunning plan to produce an extra series of exciting and short form video productions to present while making the main features for all the Bald Explorer fans out there and I hope you are going to like the idea. In short, the Bald Explorer will be heading out for great day out and recording it on film.

While I have been working on the last three and now the fourth episode of the ‘BE’ it stuck me that in the areas I am shooting there are a load of interesting and related places and fascinating people that really should be explored and given some attention. For example, one such place that I have had my eye for ages is Hopton Castle in South Shropshire, which a couple of years ago featured in an edition of Channel Four’s Time Team. It was a dilapidated Norman hunting lodge and later a private residence which has only recently been lovingly restored and yet belies it’s checkered history. During the Civil War Hopton Castle was besieged and some awful atrocities carried out. I have been talking to a local historian about it and aim to record an interview very soon.

It isn’t just places that are related to the topic I am filming or even necessarily in the same area as the main project that I am interested in. I want to find places in Britain that are a little usual, off the beaten track and possibly being missed by the great public at large. There are some wonderful people operating interesting travel and historic related businesses too that should have a visitation from the Bald Explorer to help highlight what they do and bring it to a wider audience.

If you have any suggestions, or have a historic building or business that warrants further exposure, I would love to hear from you. At the moment I am making no commercial gain from running this website or making my video productions so I am not out to exploit anyone, just bring to the attention of those that are interested the wonderful places and history of this fabulous country.

Presenting at the BBC

I am thrilled to have received a phone call yesterday to congratulate me on my success on getting through to a place on a top quality presenting course run by the BBC.

A few months a go, at the beginning of 2012 in fact, I was advised to go for a presenters course that would be sponsored by the BBC to seek new presenters. This presumably was an equal opportunities initiative and aimed at disabled people. I was very hesitant about applying at first because although I suppose technically I am disabled by the fact that I have had to loose an eye and have no vision on my left side (and as a result do occasionally bump into little old ladies in Morrisons) I didn’t feel terribly unable to work normally.

However, I got in touch with the department running the scheme and asked them if they thought I qualified and they said yes, absolutely. At the end of the day, the BBC and the license payer want great presenters and often the smallest disability can put interviewees off from taking part or putting themselves forward. This is an opportunity for anyone with something ‘different’ to proudly say I would like to have a chance.

I had to send a detailed email about myself, likes, hobbies, work experience and background and a short video of myself presenting something. Naturally I sent a clip from the Bald Explorer. It must have worked because I was then shortlisted for an audition.

Last month I nervously travelled up to London to the Wood Lane digital city buildings and presented myself to the people running the auditions. As soon as I entered the building I was became, calm, totally relaxed and very confident. I was warmly welcomed by all the staff and flew through the audition.

I confess I was totally in my element. I felt so at home in the BBC studio with the commissioning editors and other senior executives watching me. They viewed a few pieces I had to do to camera, and although I cocked on of them up, I carried on as if it were ‘live’ and found my place in the script and rattled on to the end. Thanks to endless Vobes Show podcasts for that I am sure. After the performing came the questions and answers, which again I felt most comfortable with and demonstrated my passion for the medium of television and the genre of history and heritage. It was fabulous fun.

Something must have worked as yesterday I received a call from one of the executives informing me that I had been selected and had a place with nine others on this professional and highly rated presenters course. More details to come after Easter apparently, but in the meantime I am dancing on air.

Episode 4 – Update Video

I am upon Caer Caradoc filming a sunset for the next episode of the Bald Explorer which is about the Welsh Marches. I recored a very short little update of the progress and included a few shots of the magnificent view. More to follow as I start the filming process of this episode. I hope you will keep watching and enjoy the final production. I will be in Shropshire and Herefordshire in search of the legendary British hero Caratacus.

Profile: Film Maker at Hopston Castle

I was delighted to discover as part of my research into my next project on the Welsh Marches that another heritage film maker has visited and made a very good documentary about Hopton Castle. This is one of the places I am currently seeking permission to film for the next episode.

Peter Ralley is a professional photographer and former headteacher. He obviously has a passion for history, like myself, and his website is full of wonderful videos about the past. Peter works mainly in the community and heritage sector which to me makes him stand out of the crowd because there are so few film makers out there passionately making features about our history.

What I also admire is the way he has the whole family involved in the production of his work and it is very similar to how I work with my daughter Georgie, (camera woman) and friends and colleagues assisting in the film making process.

Do check out his recent film at Hopton Castle if you get a chance and visit his website for further information:
Rali Studio