Youve been framed.
A day spent filming 17 years ago raises a few smiles today.
Time off over Christmas and New Year gave me an opportunity to catch up on many jobs put off over the preceding year. One of these was to set up a small production line to transfer old VHS tapes to a digital format. The process required a VHS player, a digital camcorder, my laptop, an external hard drive and lots of cables. Having not seen many of these tapes for years the results gave great amusement! Not only were there the predictable kids' birthday parties and holidays, but there was one gem I had forgotten all about.
Back in 1994 I made a short film to present to Land Rover in the hope that they would lend me the new P38 Diesel Range Rover for a forthcoming trip to Turkey. My idea was to follow the route taken by Alexander the Great, from his birthplace in Macedonia right down to the Syrian border. Alexander had completed this, the first leg of his Persian conquest on a horse called Bucephalus and I reasoned that the new Range Rover would be the perfect modern equivalent - I just had to procure one!
My son Matt had a smart 3.5 Range Rover at the time and we hatched a plan to make the film in The Peak District using his Range Rover and my new Hi8 Camcorder. We enlisted my younger son, Will - then 12, as cameraman and his pal Geoff on sound. For added effect I hired a costume vaguely representing the period, though looking at it now, it is more Roman in style! The film has all the hallmarks of the keen bungling amateur; but a certain charm that gave us all a laugh after Christmas. I am presenting my plans from the driving seat with the blue plume of a Roman helmet sticking out of the sunshine roof, with cutaways to the Range Rover splashing through rivers and driving up tracks.
This was in the last months of Land Rover being run from Solihull by a friendly bunch of Brummies just before the BMW take-over. In charge of the Press Office was a true gent called Colin Walkey, aided and abetted by the exotically named Josephina Zacaroli-Walker, known to all as ‘Zac’. I’d borrowed a 300 Tdi Range Rover the year before for a trip to Italy and made the front cover of another magazine and I had also been a guest at the P38 Range Rover launch so had a little credibility and was starting to become ‘known’. I gave Colin a call and proposed my latest plan warning him that a video tape was in the post for their amusement.
It worked and I was relieved to get confirmation that I could have a new diesel Range Rover for my trip. The day spent up in Derbyshire, the time spent editing the end result with nothing more than a camera, domestic VHS unit and a stopwatch had been rewarded.
Crossing the Dardanelles in M210 CVC on a small ferry that just had room for one car.
When the metallic gold Range Rover DSE was delivered I was surprised to see it was exactly the same one I had driven at the press launch a few months earlier, M210 CVC. It was in standard trim, but rather pessimistically it had an A4 sheet detailing what to do in the event of the central locking failing to unlock the car. There was a certain procedure to follow holding one button down, whilst pressing the other three times, or something like that. I wondered if customers received the same info, or had to refer back to the dealer. I made a note to keep the sheet carefully folded up in my wallet, rather than leave it in the glove box. Sure enough, somewhere in the heart of rural Turkey three weeks later I found myself locked out of the Range Rover and was very pleased to have the paper on me to refer to. It worked and I was soon on my way again.
One of many sites on Toby’s Alexander the Great trip.
It was a great trip. Over 8000 miles in just over three weeks using motorways, main roads, minor roads and a few tracks through breathtaking Turkish scenery. The Range Rover performed admirably and I distinctly remember that on my return journey up through Bulgaria and into Hungary, as I pulled out of Budapest, I had the feeling of someone on the home straight. From memory there were only a couple of sets of traffic lights between there and home and with the cruise control set to 90 mph I was very soon back on the ferry and home. It was equally rewarding that all of this had been made possible by putting a couple of days effort into producing a rather tacky video that still raises a laugh now, 17 years later.
This film is available on Toby’s web site: www.tobysavage.co.uk/video.asp
There is also a full report of the trip elsewhere on the site.
Copyright Toby Savage.