Update August 2016: All Aboard! The Country Bus arrives on BBC4 on Monday 29th August, 8-10pm British Summer Time (Bank Holiday for England, Wales and Northern Ireland). Trainspotting Live aired in July. Also starting on 29th August from 9am BST - 12 days of cows in a barn in Norway with NRK Fjos. More here.
|The next lot of UK Slow TV happens in a right grand county|
The first will be a pre-recorded bus journey from Richmond, Yorkshire to Ingleton. Unlike the reindeer journey which picked us up somewhere in the wilderness and left us not entirely sure where we were - in order to fit the constraints of a TV schedule, or The Canal Trip which was a few miles of the segment of the Kennet and Avon canal which is 87 miles long, All Aboard! The Country Bus has a sense of completion to it in that it takes in the broadest part of The Yorkshire Dales by road.
|All Aboard! The Country Bus at The Market Place, Richmond|
So, this bus journey looks promising. Leaving The Market Place at Richmond and ending up at Ingleton Community Centre a couple hours later, The Northern Dalesman route takes in some breathtaking natural landscapes and a wonder of Victorian engineering, the Ribblehead Viaduct.
|The Ribblehead Viaduct|
on the route of The Country Bus Slow TV
As the BBC continues to build its portfolio of All Aboard! Slow TV transport shows, this is a welcome production and I'm hopeful this framing of its content shows promise of a stronger conceptualisation of telling the whole story. Like previous journey based Slow TV productions, it will be made by ITV owned The Garden Productions for BBC4.
|Thacking Lane, Ingleton|
It may be Slow TV but there's no need to swear about it
This liveness is very important, too. It has that sense of 'now', that we're witnessing something unfold at the same time as we're watching it. Yes, there has to be the expectation of what trains will be coming through and when courtesy of timetables. What if there are delays? Cancellations? What type of locomotives? Which carriage numbers? Diesel - steam - electric?
Based at The Didcot Heritage Railway Centre, veteran broadcaster Peter Snow will be joined by a mathematician, Dr Hannah Fry with a rail-roving reporter, Dick Strawbridge (with probably the most amazing moustache on UK TV) over three (simultaneous?) evenings on BBC4. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, maybe? Would give a very different pattern of train timetable, different types of passenger and reasons for travelling, with more time for the dedicated trainspotter and the Slow TV curious viewer to tune in.
|Trainspotting is like a box of chocolates... |
...you never know what you're going to get
Trainspotting Live obviously is not a journey from A to Z (or F to M), but embraces a good principle or two of Slow TV. It is a surprising thing to put on TV, a novelty - therein lies a hook to attract viewers, besides any core audience attracted to its subject. It also allows a sense of waiting and expecting something interesting to happen. Maybe it will, maybe it won't. If it doesn't, then the viewer will find interest in the picture somehow, if the producer will refrain from cutting from something quickly if they feel 'nothing' might be happening.
|All Aboard! The Country Bus Slow TV goes across the broadest|
part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park
So, these two productions from the BBC should play out in the next few months. Trainspotting Live while we still have light evenings, perhaps The Country Bus as the evenings draw in as a memoir of sunny days past as Christmas twinkles on the temporal horizon and maybe another festive Slow TV offering comes from a UK broadcaster.
|Early morning near Ingleton - perfect for Slow TV|
Slow Down - a dedicated Slow TV and Slow Radio show starting on RedShift Radio from 8th September.
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