Help Make the Next Programme!

So it’s 2014 and the Bald Explorer is polishing his head and getting his walking boots out the cupboard for another year of exploring the British landscape. He will be winding up the clockwork mechanism on his camera and getting out to make another set of programmes for you to enjoy.

The next place I have my eye on is St. Albans in Hertfordshire. Boudicca attacked and burnt the Roman town there, the great Watling Street runs through it and the first engagement in the Wars of the Roses happened in a car park there. And there is plenty more besides …

In the past I have funded the (to date – eight) documentaries myself with the occasional help from generous fans of the show. The Community Channel really like the programmes and I get emails and messages from viewers who think the series should be on mainstream channels. Take this one from Jill C on Twitter:

Just watched @BaldExplorer on @ComChanTV exploring the canals of Britain. Here’s a programme needs more exposure! A ‘must watch!’

and this one from Les Benson via BE page on Facebook …

Brilliant programme. Presenter shows real interest in the subject and not with himself as is the case with most presenters.

Many are surprised to learn that the programme has, in fact, no budget at all, and that there isn’t a large crew of people running around making it happen. In the reality, it is just myself and one other and often that other is my son, Billy.

However, it does cost money to make the Bald Explorer documentaries. Apart from the wear and tear on filming gear and copious cups of tea and coffee required, there are also fees to contributors, insurances, fuel for transport, over night accommodation, sustenance and, on occasions, props to be bought.

The normal 45 minute programme takes about 6-10 days of filming and the further it is away from home, the more expensive it is to produce. Then, of course, there are the days before production starts, when I make a reconnoitre and find out where to film, meet the contributors, assess the problems likely to be encountered, such as parking, aircraft noise, access to locations, toilets and so forth.

So, I am now asking for additional help from the lovely supporters of the programme; would you help contribute? Even a small sum like £10 helps pay for parking costs. Last year, I did try the Kickstarter thing, but we didn’t reach the target and so none of the pledges ever reached me, even though plenty of people offered considerable sums. I do, however, have a Paypal donate button on the right hand side of the website and any money collected goes straight into a special production account of the Bald Explorer programme.

If you can help, it would enable me and the crew to make another episode at the beginning of the spring when the weather is warmer and the colours are bright. Thanks so much.

Bald Explorer’s New Video Channel

Finally, and I do not know why it has taken so long, I have gathered all the Bald Explorer video strands together and placed them within their own channel on Youtube. This will enable fans to find all the programmes a lot more easier, and also they can discover additional video snippets too – like the teasers and interviews that I do.

Over the years I have taken out three Youtube accounts and not really taken advantage of the benefits. I have the main Richard Vobes account, the video production account, Vobavision and now the Bald Explorer one. Of course, Youtube themselves haven’t really helped too much as they keep changing the interface and how to use it. I think they have settled down on a format they like. From what I can see they wish to encourage ‘channels’ – themed or niche channels with content that is searchable and easier to organise.

I do like the ability to make your own playlists and have, in effect, mini channels within the main channel. I would rather have more control on branding the layout, I don’t like it terribly much, but then, I can embed the videos into my own website any way I want so I really shouldn’t moan. 🙂

I hope shortly, to record a regular Bald Explorer video blog – something I have tried before and not kept up. With so much going on, it is tricky to keep everything in shipshape and Bristol fashion, but it would be good for the site to have a regular video newsletter. Watch this space!

Anyway, www.Youtube.com/BaldExplorer is the new Youtube hub, so please do subscribe and you will receive all the updates as they come along. The new episode, Taking the Water – the story of a spa town is complete and will be available to watch soon as well as broadcast on the Community Channel. (www.CommunityChannel.org)

The Bald Explorer is a self-funded television series broadcast on the Community Channel and Youtube. If you enjoy what I make and would like to see more programmes, please help make it happen. Do, if you can, make a donation towards the cost of the production by using the donate button on the right hand site of the website. Every little helps to pay for the costs! Thank you.

Spas of England

As you may be aware, I am currently making another long format episode of the Bald Explorer about the subject of water. Not any old water you that might find in your tap or down a well – this is Chalybeate spring water, stacked with iron and coloured with an orange tinge. There are quite a few springs up and down the country like this and many located in famous resorts – Bath, Epsom and Harrogate. The BE is interested in one discovered by a nobleman while convalescing at the beginning of the 1600s in an area we now call Royal Tunbridge Wells. A place where gentry and royalty came in large numbers to be seen and parade along the Pantiles at the height of the Georgian period.

In 1841, Augustus Granville published the second volume of his well researched book, The Spas of England which concentrated on his travels in the Midlands and South of that country. He was an eminent physician who had previously brought out a guide to the spas of Germany – a country renown for their love and fascination with health giving water.

Granville worked his way round the country, describing not only the facilities which the Spa towns had to offer, but also tit bits of information about the locality, eating places and hotels. He stayed at Tunbridge Wells for a short, but didn’t have too many good things to stay about it. On one occasion, when in Buxton, Derbyshire, staying at the Crescent hotel, a hugely popular and expensive mansion of a place, the general manageress asked him if he was the same A.B. Granville that authored the work on Spas of Germany to which he bashfully confessed he was. She lampooned immediately, nearly casting him asunder from her hotel – the reason she exclaimed was that by telling the readers of his book how marvelous it was in Germany, most of her wealthy customers had lost interest in the English Spa scene and had disappeared abroad – many never returned.

The work is a little out of date, of course, but aside from the information on spring water and health advice bathing in the sea, it is a jolly good read.

I am hoping to have the programme finished and delivered to the Community Channel by January 2014 and no doubt it will transmitted soon after.

The Bald Explorer is a self funded TV documentary series and if you have enjoyed the programmes, you help is always appreciated. You may donate, if you like, to help me cover the costs of production by using the Paypal button to the right hand side of the website. Thank you so much.

The Bald Explorer Kickstarter Project Video Update

Richard Vobes, aka, The Bald Explorer is running a project on the crowdfunding website, Kickstarter.com. The idea is to raise enough money to make a television programme about Britain’s hidden heritage. The series is already showing on the not-for-profit UK TV station, Community Channel.

In this video update, Richard informs his backers about the influences that gave him the idea for the programme and the appeal of visiting Britain’s unknown towns.

Bridgnorth, in Shropshire, is one such town that interests the Bald Explorer. There is the high town and low town, the River Severn, the castle, the market hall and the funicular. The heritage line, the Severn Valley Railway has one of its stations at Bridgnorth.

Crowdfunding is a way that supports can pool their contributions together to get projects funded. Even pledging a small amount can help.

Kickstarter Has Launched!

kickstarterDo you love British heritage? A TV documentary series that explores this nation’s greatest secrets.

The Kickstarter project had launched. The aim is to raise money for a new episode, which shall be broadcast on the Community Channel TV station and on Youtube.

Kickstarter Project

I am Richard Vobes, the Bald Explorer, and for the past three years I have been self-funding a series of films exploring Britain’s wonderful heritage. Community Channel, a not-for-profit digital TV station, has been broadcasting these programmes on their network which have now been enjoyed by thousands of viewers.

Following this success, it seems I now have an audience who would like some more. However, being a charity funded organisation Community Channel cannot commission me, and I do not have the funds to make these programmes myself anymore.

Log on to the Kickstarter website and find out more. There you can pledge money and explore our rewards for your support and backing.  Kickstarter Project

Rather than trying to fund the whole series in one go, we just want to raise enough money to make the first episode. If successful, it will be broadcast in the New Year on Community Channel and repeated many times thereafter – and your name could be on the credits!

And, of course, all of our Kickstarter producers will have advanced downloads of the episode the minute it pops out of the edit room!

The First Episode – Bridgnorth, Shropshire
The reason we have chosen Bridgnorth is simple; it is one of Britain’s gems. Tucked away in the Midlands, it is found next to Ironbridge; birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. It lies on the River Severn, above Worchester and below Shrewsbury, and is at one end of the Severn Valley Railway – which still offers a fantastic heritage steam service. There is more to it than that, of course. It has a unique funicular; a Victorian Cliff Railway, the steepest in Britain; a church designed by the great civil engineer Thomas Telford; a castle keep, which is currently tilting at a greater angle than the leaning tower of Pisa; cave dwellings, once the home of the poor; a hermitage; and was also the scene of dramatic skirmishes during the English Civil War.

Thanks very much for helping making this happen. Kickstarter Project

New Series – Hidden Heritage

be-sixtowns In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Alec Clifton-Taylor made a series of programmes with the BBC entitled Six English Towns, Six More English Towns and Another Six English Towns. He was principally interested with showing off the wonderful survivors of beautiful architecture that was available to discover in our towns across England. Although a simple premise of looking at buildings, he did it with such charm and authority, it became a landmark series. That was thirty years ago. Much of what he showed us still remains, fortunately, but in that time towns have expanded enormously and a lot of our heritage has been swallowed up and tucked away behind the commercial hoardings, large plate-glass windows and new utilitarian constructions; what survives nowadays is often ignored or taken for granted.
I am planning to go in search of my own six towns to explore the hidden gems that are under our noses and often overlooked. To fund this, with the help of the Community Channel, a Kickstarter fund-raising project will start towards the end of June this year. (More information on that will announced soon.) This will mean, with a small TV crew, I shall be making a jaunt in the autumn and spending one week at each of the following towns:

Lyme Regis – Dorset
Lyme Regis is a coastal town in West Dorset, England, situated 25 miles west of Dorchester and 25 miles (40 km) east of Exeter. The town lies in Lyme Bay, on the English Channel coast at the Dorset–Devon border. It is nicknamed “The Pearl of Dorset.” The town is noted for the fossils found in the cliffs and beaches, which are part of the Heritage Coast—known commercially as the Jurassic Coast.

Barnstaple – Devon
Barnstaple or is a former river-port, large town, civil parish and the capital of the local government district of North Devon in the county of Devon, England. Since 1974, it has been a civil parish governed by town council.

Monmouth – Monmouthshire, Wales
Monmouth is a traditional county town in Monmouthshire, Wales. It is situated where the River Monnow meets the River Wye, within 2 miles of the border with England. The town is 36 miles north-east of Cardiff, and 127 miles west of London

Bridgenorth – Shropshire
Bridgnorth is a town in Shropshire, England, situated on the Severn Valley. It is split into High Town and Low Town, named on account of their elevations relative to the River Severn.

Newark-on-Trent – Nottinghamshire
Newark-on-Trent is a market town in Nottinghamshire in the East Midlands region of England. It stands on the River Trent, the A1, and the East Coast Main Line railway.

Sandwich – Kent
Sandwich is a historic town and civil parish on the River Stour in the Non-metropolitan district of Dover, within the ceremonial county of Kent, south-east England. It has a population of 6,800.

I do hope you will support our fund-raising efforts, tell your friends and family about the project and following the progress here on the website and on Twitter (@BaldExplorer #BaldExplorer) and of course Facebook too.