Joys and perils of being an extreme sport TV producer

19 Jul 2012 @ 6.26 am
| News

York TV producer Louis Bamber has travelled the world making films about sport. But he was delighted to return to his home turf for a profile of an extreme biker. Spectacular though the sport and scenery were, it didn’t go without a hitch, as he explains…

Trans World Sport is the world’s longest running weekly international sports programme. We celebrated our 25th anniversary this year and in that time have visited over 180 countries, covering just about every sport on Earth.

This year I’ve been lucky enough to film with kitesurfers in the Sahara desert and urban skiers in Iceland. But nothing gives me more pleasure than finding a shoot which shows off my home county.

We managed to achieve this with a piece on Graham Jarvis, the world’s number one Extreme Enduro motorcyclist, which centres around the Dales, and takes in the Pickering steam railway in the moors.

Graham Jarvis takes his bike for a spin in the Yorkshire countryside

When we were planning the piece, we wanted to take Graham – and his bike – out of their training environment and put them somewhere where machine and landscape would be at odds, and would test Graham’s creativity on board. The scene at the manicured Parcevall Hall Gardens in Wharfedale really nailed that.

The wonderful thing about North Yorkshire is that on a two-day shoot I was able to film in four or five totally contrasting locations, all visually stunning, and all showing a different element of Graham’s sport and life. On board the steam engine at Pickering he was like a kid at Christmas; we saw a side to him we might not have captured anywhere else.

Shooting was a test of bravery for my fantastic cameraman, JP Bassin. He loves getting as close to the action as possible. On more than one occasion he was a couple of inches from being KO’d by a rear wheel pirouetting above him.

While Graham knew exactly where he was putting the bike, all I could see was a trail of torn-up risk assessments strewn across North Yorkshire!

Don’t try this at home. Or anywhere

In truth, the worst damage was sustained by one of our lenses, after taking a hit from dirt kicked up by the bike as it passed by. Oh, and a fat lip for me, when I foolishly leant out of the train window, not realising it was spring loaded, and was promptly dealt an uppercut David Haye would have been proud of.

Working with someone who’s the best in the world at their job is always a joy, and when that happens to be on my doorstep it’s even better.

Making a splash: Extreme Enduro biker Graham