Walking Through History is a British television documentary history programme that ran for four series on Channel 4. It featured presenter Tony Robinson. We were asked to offer support for a section where Tony visited Caudwell’s Mill in the Peak District National Park village of Rowsley.
The mill is powered by water and the segment involved Tony climbing into the turbine room below the mill. The entrance into the room is very precarious and our involvement was to provide a backup system to safeguard Tony as he climbed up and down the narrow ladder. We made several pre-shoot site visits and eventually worked out a way to run a bottom rope system. Logistically, this was very challenging and involved temporarily dismantling some of the floor of the mill.
As Tony was descending into a space that filled with water, we also had to ensure there was no way the water flow could accidentally be turned on during filming. This involved discussing the method to safely disable the water flow with an engineer.
Film Crew Safety
It was particularly important that the film crew could gain suitable vantage points and we also took responsibility for the film team and some of the mill staff. We completed risk assessments and co-ordinated with the contractors making modifications to the building.
Fully Qualified Instructors
We provided two fully qualified and insured Mountaineering Instructors. They were fully involved in the whole project to ensure continuity. They are also part of of our core team of instructors and full members of the Association of Mountaineering Instructors.
On the day of the Walking Through History shoot we provided pre-shoot briefings for all participants. We then managed all aspects of the safety during the shoot and co-ordinated with the contractors after the shoot finished. Everything went well with the shoot and the finished footage is excellent. The programme can be viewed below (our section starts at about 12.00).