How the Chamber helps keep Tern TV on the road

RUNNING a TV production involves a huge amount of travel.

We make shows for BBC World News, Discovery and National Geographic as well as locally for BBC, ITV and Channel 4.

Our teams are expert at planning down to the minutest detail.

Last year we filmed in Congo, Nigeria, Mongolia, Thailand, France, Spain, Italy, India, Pakistan, Ecuador, Canada and all over the US.

Visas, carnets to get filming equipment in and out of the country, calculating time required to get from one place to the next are all part of the stock in trade.

It sounds very glamorous – but not always.

I remember sitting on the pier at Leverburgh in Harris for the best part of a day, peering into the fog to see if it was lifting so we could get across to film several hundred people who were waiting for us in Benbecula.

And that was in the days before mobiles….

We do tens of thousands of miles a year in Scotland alone, mostly for the Beechgrove Garden which films in gardens from Shetland to Dumfries, and on today’s constrained budgets travel has to be 100% reliable.

Our AA membership is an important safety net.

We particularly appreciate the priority they give to fast response for women – who are most of the production team.

I’ve called them out three times.

Once when I was driving back from Wales and all sorts of warning lights came on.

The garage in Aberdeen which had recently serviced it had replaced a cylinder head gasket with one which did not fit.

I was towed to a garage in Chester to be sorted, and borrowed my father-in-law’s car to get home.

The second call was at the end of a party conference in Perth.

It was a Sunday afternoon, and I was driving to the BBC with tapes for a programme to be screened that night.

It was April, so snow was unexpected.

It was not lying, and I was overtaking a lorry when I hit a patch of slush in the outside lane.

The car, a 4 x 4 Volvo, drifted slowly to the side of the lorry and bounced off into the central reservation.

The policeman who attended managed to manoeuvre it back to the nearside verge for safety.

Good job it was a four wheel drive, I said when recounting the tale.

Well – three wheel drive by then, said my ever-cheery colleague when he came to collect me, and more importantly, the tapes.

My last encounter was my most embarrassing.

Late at night I was shopping in Asda and left my mother-in-law in the car listening to a CD.

By the time I got back, the battery had run down and none of the electrics would function.

The AA turned up in half an hour, disconnected the battery, discharged the system and reconnected the battery.

Home in no time.

For that alone, at the bargain price we pay for AA through the Chamber, it was worth it.

On average, our members have saved £542 on AA Roadside Assistance

On average, our members have saved £542 on AA Roadside Assistance