BBC 2 Touring Toolsheds

Our ESME member Roger Speirs was on this programme. Read the story below to find out more.

Me, Rupert and Karen, our hosts

Me, Rupert and Karen our hosts

David Jason, me and Rupert

David Jason and me







“Roger on the TV”

Andrew reports – When I received a call from a BBC Production team looking for an “Expert” to take part in making a programme about a couple in Aberdeenshire, who wanted to build their own mobility carriage, I immediately thought of Roger. After all, living in Dunkeld, he is almost halfway there! The rest was up to Roger so I will leave you with the story in his own words.

Roger says – Some time ago in early June 2023 Andrew Newton contacted me regarding an approach he had from a production company for BBC2. Now we all know that Andrew can smile benignly while getting us to agree to all sorts of things. We get mesmerised and forget ourselves. Well I did think “What have I done…?”
I think in fact that I could not believe the confidence he had in me to represent the club as an advisor to a TV programme.
Andrew contacted the production assistant with my details and I received a phone call shortly after. You’ve heard of screen tests…! Well now you do your own…! Get you mobile phone and flip the screen to film yourself and talk your way out of trouble…! Well unless you are used to that kind of thing it is going to make you squirm…!
If you don’t have too many unfortunate habits then you get to partake in a Zoom meeting and then if it looks like you might scrape through you get contracts to sign and details to attend a location to film.
The whole idea of this, of course, was to support a little garden railway up near Fraserburgh which had been picked as a subject for “Touring Toolshed” which will be shown on BBC 2 in January 2024. Hosted by David Jason and Jay Blades. The format of the programme is to have different episodes featuring various engineering subjects that have attracted support. In this case the lady in question has a health problem but her and her husband had moved to a cooler climate to help with her condition. They are keen miniature railway enthusiasts and had built a railway into their garden. As her condition worsens it has become apparent that she needs better access to a vehicle and the challenge was to start a project on screen to show how that can be addressed. I took a couple of Chris Dixon bogies with king pins I had welded to bolsters ready to attach to box section rails on site to form a simple running frame. Then the fun started…!
We left home at around 6.00 am. We had been offered hotel accommodation near the film location but my missus had work commitments so we just made a day of it instead. Arriving on site before the production team…! Programme producer arrived then a couple of camera men and gear and assistants. Little disjointed bits of film were made. Pick up this bit of metal and put it down. Talk to the camera, no you’re not being recorded. Now laugh at my joke. No it’s a really terrible joke….! Lots of fun but made no sense to me…!
Heavy, heavy rain part way through, meant production halted but husband stripping rust in workshop doorway with water running down his back prompted me to stand behind him with a brolly in waterproofs to keep as much water at bay to help him as he was using mains power tools….! Eventually rain went off and we got back to work assembling running frame on an outside bench. The film industry, fabulous…! Just don’t forget you are wired up with a radio mike hidden in your clothing…! And don’t eat beans the day before…! Everything, but everything is heard…! I discovered that the lady had completed a welding course, (More than I have…!) So I said to the camera man, who was also acting as an assistant producer, that she should be tacking the running frame together. Some more filming for that. She did really well despite her condition. More little clips to stitch together.
Later the celebrities arrived and more filming was done with the addition of some very impressive mixing equipment and another couple of cameras. Must say it felt like Hollywood….!
I do have to say the production team made us feel really at home and were very good to us. Lunch was provided on set. Quality stuff and as the producer likes cake all the girls were happy. In no time at all it was after 6.00 at night and we were left to say our goodbyes to our hosts as the production team and celebrities had all slipped away.
Fish suppers in Stonehaven with old friends from the oil industry saw us fed and on our way home.
All very surreal but quite an experience.
So look out for Touring Toolshed on BBC 2. Hopefully they’ll mention the club. BBC2 from Monday 22nd January daily at 6.30 pm. I’m episode 8 on Wednesday 31st January. 6.30 pm.