Let’s hear it for one of our presenters – Martin Muncaster. Seen here green-screen working with Andy Jones on a CHIRP news bulletin, he’s a delight to work with; product of a generation of national BBC broadcasters for whom celebrity was a small thing – clarity and concision were all. Martin also presented in the South from Southampton for many years, becoming a familiar figure to South Coast audiences. We came together through the annual Maritime Media Awards of our parent organization, the Maritime Foundation. He’s presented several keynote films with us for the Awards, and his distinctive voice and authoritative yet engaging style really make our movies. As does his skill in delivering the news bulletins for CHIRP, where accuracy and clarity of delivery are vital to the understanding of complex maritime events. We’re so lucky he’s on the team!
One of the partners in the Shipshape Heritage Training Partnership course is the Pioneer Sailing Trust, based at Brightlingsea in Essex. As well as teaching sail training the traditional way, they also revive traditional boat building methods (but they do allow themselves modern tools!) Here (picture) they’re working on a Colchester inshore oyster boat, which was an utter wreck when they took it on, but is now a thing of beauty, reflecting the painstaking work done to restore her. Accommodation will be in the former oyster hold (mind your head!) But Pioneer go well beyond all that – making it their mission to work with young people to bring term the skills – and the joy – of sailing. They also help young people troubled by difficult lives. The sea can be a great healer and Pioneer work to show just how…
Working with Copia Productions, video editor Andy Jones’ company, our film about the recovery of HMS Hood’s ship’s bell is online, available at http://www.maritimefilmsuk.tv/films/ – and on the website of the National Museum of the Royal Navy. Andy has done yet another brilliant job editing a gripping and inspiring documentary about the 20 years of commitment it took to bring the bell back to the surface – and to the iconic warship’s home port of Portsmouth, where it’s currently in the Museum’s Battle of Jutland exhibition. ‘For Years Unseen’ (the title comes from a moving poem by Bee Kenchington, who lost her brother in Hood) has a contemporary hero: the extraordinary undersea search expert David Mearns. Over the years, working with him has been a real privilege. Keep a look out for his autobiography, ‘’The Shipwreck Hunter’ – an extraordinary life-story.
A day trip to Dover to film Catherine Holt, alumna of the Shipshape Heritage Training Partnership course – now in a key heritage job; not on the sea, but certainly near it. She’s won the post of Assistant Curator at the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment and Queen’s Regiment Museum in Dover Castle. Spectacular location and name! Maritime Films UK first filmed Cat for our first Shipshape Heritage Training Partnership film. Then she was at Chatham Historic Dockyard working on some important artefacts in a deep cellar – now she’s well and truly well placed, looking after day-to-day operations in the ‘P W R R’ and Queen’s Regiment museum. It’s at the top of the castle complex, so spectacular views over the Channel literally go with the territory. As does a steep climb up a long road – car or taxi recommended.
OK, well the name Cutty Sark is down to Scotland’s national poet Robert Burns. One of his great creations was Tam O’Shanter. In the tale told by Burns in verse, Tam was on his way back home after a convivial evening, when he witnessed witches dancing in a graveyard (the way they did, y’know.) They were scantily clad, with their shirts barely covering what, ahem, should be covered. After watching this stimulating sight for a while, Tam’s “creamy ales” got the better of him, and he cried out “Weel done, Cutty-sark!” At which the witches stopped their dance and ran screeching towards him. Tam spurrred away his horse Maggie and made his escape, but not before one of the witches managed to tear the end off poor Maggie’s tail. Which is what (picture) the figurehead witch has in her hand!
We’ve just completed a series of films for National Historic Ships UK, on their course called the ‘Shipshape Heritage Training Partnership’. (Tip: Do not try to say this after a drink or two!) This excellent course trains its students how to preserve, restore, repair and above all sail historic ships in the way they were meant to be preserved, restored, repaired etc. Students graduate with a fully accredited qualification, after training at numerous partnership sites to win their spurs. We began by filming many of the partners on board the tea clipper Cutty Sark at Greenwich (picture.) A great day, and much enjoyed by Maritime Films UK’s stills photographer David Botwinik. Once he gets the scent of a vintage ship there’s just no stopping him! Oh, and ‘Short Shirt’…? That’s what Cutty Sark means. For more, see the next blog…
Rob is a TV producer, reporter and camera operator with 30 years’ experience at the BBC, Channel 4 and ITN, in news, factual and documentary production. He is a four times award winner, whose awards include a coveted Royal Television Society award for his work on Channel 4 News. His association with The Maritime Foundation goes back to 1995, when he won the first Desmond Wettern Maritime Media Award for a series of reports that led to a major documentary on the loss of the bulk carrier Derbyshire.
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