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Seven Short Films About Motorcycling

Routes: History Of The Isle of Man TT Race, 1999 (27 mins)

In 1998 and '99 I had the privilege of making 30 shows for the Discovery Channel under the remit of 'History Travel'. Although it took me to the edge of a nervous breakdown the upside was that my Discovery paymasters allowed me to make shows about literally anything that I pleased. For a lightweight nobody with no track record (apart from Mondo) this was an unheard of precedent. I gleefully submitted programme titles on the subjects dear to my heart: The Settle to Carlisle Railway, The Elan Aqueduct, Pill Boxes on Guernsey, Leicester's Sewers, a middle-aged man's industrial history nerd-out wet dream! Being allowed to do a show about the TT was a real treat and I was lucky enough to interview the achingly humble Geoff Duke.

One Man, One Van: Terra Circa, 2001 (16 mins)

During my brief affair with the television industry I made friends with a super talented presenter/director named Vince Rogers. He is one of the most imaginative people I ever worked with and deserves to be better known as such. In 2001 he, like me, had hit rock bottom and was having to grab at any TV work he could lay his hands on. He was forced to devise a show which played to the prurient voyeurism that was beginning to poison TV back then whereby he would carry out your light removals for free. The only condition being that he was allowed to delve into your tea chest and find out your 'story'. He asked me if I knew anybody that needed moving and I suggested the Terra Circa team. Vince 'moved' us down to South Wales for one of the training sessions with our off-road guru Paul Mules.

Hell For Leather, 2000 (27 mins)

A friend of a friend called one day and asked if I could meet some producers from a production company called Sunset and Vine. They wanted to pitch a proper terrestrial (high-ish budget) motorcycle show to the TV channels and needed help brain-storming to work up a proposal. They were going to approach Suzi Perry but after the first meeting I was offered the job of actually presenting it. Result! It was meant to be all about the joys of motorcycling and not really about tests on latest models etc. It was a great shame that Channel Five, who commissioned the idea, wouldn't go for a full series. I wonder if that was my fault?

Dirt Bike Trails: Andorra, 2004 (24 mins)

Terra Circa had just been commissioned by Granada Men & Motors and their boss lady hinted that she was happy with Terra and did we have anything else up our sleeves? The answer was yes, a series about trail riding. Negotiations continued and so we resolved to win M&M to our proposal with a nice little pilot. We were all set to shoot one on the trails of the Black Mountains in Wales when we realised that doing one in the Spanish Pyrenees would be substantially more exotic. The resulting pilot was made but never broadcast. It was presented by Raphi Goldberg who was a former pupil of mine at Mill Hill and had followed me into television whilst being filmed and directed by Chris Payne who had helmed two of the Terra Circa episodes (Europe and The Zilov Gap). Most of the music is by my old friends The Greenhornes, two of whom are now members of Jack White's new band The Raconteurs.

Lois On The Loose, 2006 (2 mins)

On New Year's Eve 2001, the day I flew back from the USA at the end of Terra Circa I met Lois Pryce at a pirate party in Camden Town. Five years later I had managed to get her to marry me, what a result! This little film is composed of shots from all round the world that I have filmed of her, set to the tune of: 'I love my little Yamaha' . I love it.

An A to Z of: Morocco!, 2006 (22 mins)

A film made by Lois, Charlie Benner (Terra Circa) and I for screening at the annual meeting of the Horizons Unlimited adventure motorcycling symposium. Lois had gone to Morocco to build her desert riding skills in preparation for her solo London to Cape Town expedition winter 2006/07. Charlie and I went along to keep her company and thought that as a bit of concurrent activity we would produce a fun film about our impressions of Morocco. I have shown this film to a few of my classes at school and they are very positive about it. The soundtrack is a piece I wrote whilst dispatch riding but the version used here was recorded in half term by the school's recorder club. I think it's fabulous and this show is frankly, the apogee of my DIY ethos.

It's a Pyreknees-Up!, 2007 (9 mins)

Lois and I organised a dirtbike orienteering event in the Spanish Pyrenees one weekend last summer. It was so successful that we went 'public' and now the event is being run as 'Horizons Unlimited Mountain Madness'. This is the promotional film that we, in conjunction with Angie Boothroyd and Tim Purkess made to encourage people to come along. I think it looks like a lot of fun. If you like the sound of it already just check out www.horizonsunlimited.com/HUMM and you can read all about it and indeed sign yourself up!

Intoxication due to excessive overall wearing
Intoxication due to excessive overall wearing

Video from Youtube