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Dick Seaman TV programme - UK Channel 4


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#1 Vitesse2

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Posted 03 January 2004 - 12:14

Copied from onthebox.com:

20:00 Mon 12th Channel 4
Nazi Grand Prix
Documentary about the birth of modern Grand Prix motor racing in the 1930s, its domination by Germany and the racing success of the young English aristocrat, Richard Seaman. Mercedes won the Berlin Grand Prix in 1938, but Seaman was the winning driver and his decision to race for Germany means he has been written out of the history books. Former racing drivers, race historians and archive footage combine to tell his story

I'm afraid that blurb doesn't fill me with confidence as regards the accuracy of this programme ..... :rolleyes:

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#2 D-Type

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Posted 03 January 2004 - 14:25

So we'll all watch it and thoroughly enjoy spotting and discussing the inaccuracies.;)

#3 Doug Nye

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Posted 03 January 2004 - 16:14

Errmmm - if this programme proves to be what I think it is, don't be put off by the idiot title forced upon the producers by the 11 year olds who control Channel 4 programming.

It might be a programme which has been crafted together with really serious intent by some pretty good people...

But on the other hand...it might not be, 'cos the one I am thinking of was not meant to be screened so soon. :confused:

DCN

#4 uechtel

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Posted 03 January 2004 - 18:09

Originally posted by Vitesse2
Copied from onthebox.com:

20:00 Mon 12th Channel 4
Nazi Grand Prix
Mercedes won the Berlin Grand Prix in 1938, but Seaman was the winning driver and his decision to race for Germany means he has been written out of the history books.


Interesting, as they did this so thoroughly, that they eliminated that whole race from the history books and also brain-washed every spectator! :

#5 hans stuck

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Posted 03 January 2004 - 19:37

Anyone feel like recording this for a Yank? Burn a DVD? Something? :blush:

#6 Eric McLoughlin

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Posted 04 January 2004 - 00:26

How come he was written out of the history books and we all know about it?

The omens aren't good, are they?

#7 Rob29

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Posted 04 January 2004 - 09:18

Originally posted by Eric McLoughlin
How come he was written out of the history books and we all know about it?

The omens aren't good, are they?

WE know about him,but I read somewhere that the British Media hardly mentioned his German GP win at the time. Thus the 'brainwashing' referred to was by Fleet Street,not the Nazis.

#8 Doug Nye

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Posted 04 January 2004 - 10:27

No - the 'brainwashing' was merely Fleet Street's assumption that motor racing was not a proper sport at all - it had no substantial public audience - and therefore only merited any coverage whatsoever in the national newspapers a) in the event of an accident involving a Brit or b) in the rare event of a Brit actually winning something in the face of Johnny Foreigner.

This mindset restricted national newspaper coverage of any Le Mans or (moreso) Grand Prix success - but importantly it did NOT totally ignore it.

In contrast the British specialist magazines provided often more extensive and better detailed coverage of such events than their counterparts in the host nations - most particularly Germany, where even the 'specialist' press in general seems to have provided pretty dreadfully inept and meagre racing coverage.

Think of - say - hockey or curling today and consider the press exposure accorded those sports.

That's just the way it used to be with 'our' game. Nothing so sinister - nor so blind - as brainwashing there... Seaman's German GP win did not receive meagre British national coverage just because he was driving a German car - though the coverage would have been better had he been driving a Rolls-Royce or an Austin - it received meagre British national coverage simply because motor racing was not at that time regarded as a majority-interest sport (or 'game').

DCN

#9 Vitesse2

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Posted 04 January 2004 - 12:29

Coincidentally, I'm reading Chula's biography of Seaman at the moment. Here's his assessment of the German GP victory, written in 1941:

"In England, I do not think it was ever appreciated, except among the comparatively close circle of motor racing enthusiasts. Yet it was as if a German had batted better than Bradman in Australia, a Frenchman had outplayed Babe Ruth at baseball in America or a Japanese had ridden the winning horse in a jumping competition in Italy."

I'd also like to reinforce what Doug says about the 1930s specialist press - anyone who's followed either of the European Championship threads will know that most of the best sources have turned out to be British or Swiss! The German press seems very inadequate in comparison, although the British are prone to a bit of jingoism: very often a British win in a supporting Voiturette race would merit bigger headlines in Motor, Autocar or Light Car than the main GP (and maybe even a longer report!)

#10 Gary C

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 08:45

thought the uk-based lads might like to know that there is a Dick Seaman programme scheduled for UK Channel 4 on the 12th of January at 8pm. I think there will be some interesting old footage in it!!

#11 David McKinney

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 09:37

Is that bnything like the one we were discussing earlier in the week?
http://forums.atlasf...&threadid=64896

#12 Rob29

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 16:52

Same one David.The same blurb,word for word,appears in next weeks 'Radio Times'
Aditional info;Director,Clive Maltby,Producer,Lucy Mc Dowell.

#13 Doug Nye

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 17:46

The producers of this programme had been advised by C4 that its transmission would be delayed for months so its sudden appearance in the schedules has come as a complete surprise to them. C4 is run by nitwits - evidence the lowest common denominator programme title - but some v. good stuff has gone into the making of this piece and McDowell and Maltby have both greatly impressed Weg and myself. One major caveat - C4 requires producers NOT to allow contributors any preview of the finished prog - in case they "cause trouble"....

It's like plunging a book into print without reading any proofs. This programme ought to be OK - and it ought to be thought provoking and to offer a new slant and new material - but you know - television... - :rolleyes: - keep your fingers crossed.

DCN

#14 Eric McLoughlin

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Posted 08 January 2004 - 08:41

As usual, Doug provides another interesting insight into the way the media (particularly C4) works.

They have recently been censured by Broadcasting Standards over alegations they made about the management of De Havilland in their documentary last year on the Comet disasters. Particularly, they were criticised for how they "duped" contributors (including John Cunningham, the test pilot) into giving interviews and then cut and edited these interviews to support their claims that De Havilland took part in a cover up to hide the shortcomings of the Comet' design. Poor Cunningham died before the programme was broadcast and never got the chance to lodge a complaint but other contributors did.

#15 Vitesse2

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Posted 08 January 2004 - 10:17

Murray Walker was treated in similar fashion in that hatchet job they did on James Hunt - selective quotes which implied that Murray hod no time for James at all, when in fact they were firm friends (admittedly after a sticky start!)

#16 Doug Nye

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Posted 08 January 2004 - 10:28

My experience with mainstream "television people" has been pretty similar to those cited above. It's been that one should don surgical gloves and a face mask before dealing with any of them - and always be prepared to scrape them off the soles of your shoes afterwards...

The people who founded SpeedVision in the US were very different - no contract, handshake agreement and then did absolutely everything they'd promised to do until it all exploded for other reasons after several years of great times. Likewise the people who have made this Seaman programme have seemed to be VERY different - highly academic, extremely bright, did absolutely everything they undertook to do in a most efficient, expeditious and friendly manner - despite my being very unfriendly and distant initially for reasons as above - so if this prog goes wrong I'd be very disappointed indeed if the responsibility is really theirs. But C4? As a Swiss friend of mine puts it - "in my experience ein bunch oph artz-herlzzz...". Oh well - fingers crossed... :p

DCN

#17 dolomite

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Posted 08 January 2004 - 18:01

Originally posted by Eric McLoughlin
As usual, Doug provides another interesting insight into the way the media (particularly C4) works.

They have recently been censured by Broadcasting Standards over alegations they made about the management of De Havilland in their documentary last year on the Comet disasters. Particularly, they were criticised for how they "duped" contributors (including John Cunningham, the test pilot) into giving interviews and then cut and edited these interviews to support their claims that De Havilland took part in a cover up to hide the shortcomings of the Comet' design. Poor Cunningham died before the programme was broadcast and never got the chance to lodge a complaint but other contributors did.


Indeed, much justified indignation about that particular sorry episode may be found here:
http://www.pprune.or...&threadid=56023

#18 James L. Kalie

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Posted 08 January 2004 - 19:57

Doug, why not give us a way to contact the producers of the show. Hans Stuck is right. Can't we buy a copy of the show from them?

#19 Ray Bell

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Posted 08 January 2004 - 21:58

Originally posted by dolomite
Indeed, much justified indignation about that particular sorry episode may be found here:
http://www.pprune.or...&threadid=56023


Indeed... and elsewhere, for this quote on that forum is from a letter published in a magazine...

I explained all this in filmed interviews with the Channel 4 programme makers, Steve Ruggi and David Coward. Too technical and boring, perhaps. They edited it all out. But to state as fact that de Havilland refused to fatigue-rest the Comet 1 is just wilful untruthfulness. It makes you wonder how much you can believe of any Channel 4 documentary.



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#20 RTH

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Posted 11 January 2004 - 10:53

Don't forget to set your video recorders for tomorrow night ( MONDAY ) CH 4 8.00 pm hopefully we will at least see some newly found footage .

#21 Gary C

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Posted 11 January 2004 - 14:14

I'm pretty sure we will!!!

#22 Doug Nye

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Posted 11 January 2004 - 15:48

:blush: ... oh dear ... having defended the programme's makers this could still turn out to be an embarassment...

DCN

#23 MrAerodynamicist

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Posted 11 January 2004 - 16:51

It got a critic's comment section in the Sunday Times today: (snip the factual blurb) " ...it is a good story and there is interesting archive footage, but so little of Seaman's character emerges in this documentary, it is like struggling uphill in the wrong gear."

#24 masterhit

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Posted 11 January 2004 - 17:54

This is an interesting discussion. I mean, it seems to me even to this day that the press seem to report on motor racing far less than football, how well was Seaman's victory reported? Indeed how often did anything other than the jewel in the crown races or the ones that fetaured a big crash get featured?

It certainly is the sort of thing that gets reported these days, as we Brits love to read of a British win, so it would make sense if there was no "conspiracy theory", but it would be interesting to ask you good people's opinions regarding in all honesty whether grands prix featured that highly on their list of newsworthy sports at the time. To this day newspapers still seem ball sports orientated.

#25 David J Jones

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Posted 11 January 2004 - 20:09

Indeed how often did anything other than the jewel in the crown races or the ones that fetaured a big crash get featured?

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Regretably it seems that only when a driver was killed did the press report motor racing.

It was so with R J B Seaman - his death in 1939 merited more lurid coverage than praise for his win in the 1938 German GP.
The Brits were none too interested in European Championship races because we had not got the technical knowhow to compete with M-B and A-U. The Bentley Boys and Brooklands were about our limit.

Wonder if they will reveal who made the arrangemnts for tending to his grave?

As for him being written out of history because he drove for M-B - what rot - Dick is known to true enthusiasts who study the history of the Sport. Only the peasants too concerned with balls have never heard of him.

Maybe someone could be persuaded to do a documentary on the whole of the 1939 season - now that might put the cat among the pigeons!

#26 RTH

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Posted 12 January 2004 - 08:19

8.00pm TONIGHT MONDAY UK Channel 4

#27 green-blood

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Posted 12 January 2004 - 14:40

bounce

sorry to bounce this, just a reminder for all those with Channel4 (uk) that its on tonight!!!

#28 dolomite

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Posted 12 January 2004 - 17:46

Spitfire prog on afterwards looks interesting too.

#29 condor

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Posted 12 January 2004 - 20:20

And our Doug Nye seems to be one of the main contributors :)


edited to add ....I really enjoyed it :)


#30 petefenelon

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Posted 12 January 2004 - 20:27

T'other half has just informed me that DCN reminds her of John Peel.

(possibly because I spend too much time and money chasing down obscure things they've introduced me to?;))

#31 JohnS

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Posted 12 January 2004 - 21:02

Well, I thought it was terrific. Loads of great footage. The commentary was a bit annoying at the start and finish when it kept emphasising that this was a story which had been hidden and written out of history, but in-between it was fine. And let's face it, how often do you get a treat like this on prime time television?

Well done to all involved.

John

#32 masterhit

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Posted 12 January 2004 - 21:03

That was a brilliant programme!

I really had no expectations going in (ok, I thought it would be a hatchet job) and it turned out to be a very thoughtful, seemingly well researched programme, with lots of interviews (including DCN and John Surtees), plenty of footage, and being humanistic rather than sensationalist, just explaining the enormous pressure of being an outsider, being a racer, wanting to race, finding himself caught up in a German national team preparing for war.

Great stuff.

And didn't the footage of the Mercedes leaping in the air at Donington look sensational.

#33 Hse289

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Posted 12 January 2004 - 21:14

I agree with masterhit, i thoroughly enjoyed it and so did my ten year old son. I just wish my damn video recorder worked.

#34 petefenelon

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Posted 12 January 2004 - 21:18

Started off terribly, but the more of Chris Nixon, Tom Wheatcroft and DCN the better it got - and some of the archive footage was pretty good. On the whole - a program that started terribly and became very watchable when it concerned itself with racing.

#35 petefenelon

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Posted 12 January 2004 - 21:20

I think I'm broadly in agreement with John - lousy start, terrible V/O turning into a good racing story.

#36 peebo

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Posted 12 January 2004 - 21:22

Originally posted by hans stuck
Anyone feel like recording this for a Yank? Burn a DVD? Something? :blush:


Hi hans,

got it on DVD-R. If this is of any interest, PM me and I'll do what I can to get it to you :wave:

#37 ensign14

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Posted 12 January 2004 - 21:42

It was very good - the obligatory sensationalist spin at the start to get the average punter involved, then ignoring it and concentrating on the footage and the expert contributions.

Obviously there are holes to pick - chiefly the 'writing out' of history of Seaman, which is more to do with the obsession with the World Championship than anything else, IMO - but thank the Lord people are still interested enough to commission and produce programmes such as this.

Oh, and yet again Ken Morse did the rostrum camera work. Is he the only person in Britain with a rostrum camera? :lol:

#38 Ian Stewart

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Posted 12 January 2004 - 22:16

Originally posted by condor
And our Doug Nye seems to be one of the main contributors.

For which I am very thankful. Good on you Doug.

It will be interesting to have your verdict on the 'finished article' now that we've seen it.

The first motor racing book I ever read and thoroughly absorbed was George Monkhouse's Motor Racing with Mercedes-Benz , and Richard Seaman's involvement naturally made a lasting impression. I have it beside me now, and comparison is inevitable after watching the program.

The title was unfortunate, and the political aspect slightly overdone, but it was far better than I had expected. As to Richard Seaman being 'forgotten' I beg to differ.

#39 David Beard

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Posted 12 January 2004 - 22:16

Originally posted by petefenelon
T'other half has just informed me that DCN reminds her of John Peel.


Interesting: every time I see John Peel I think of DCN. Neither should feel insulted....

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#40 VAR1016

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Posted 12 January 2004 - 22:35

My twopence-worth:

Too much made of what was a very half-hearted "Nazi" salute - I have seen that clip before, and to me it has always looked like a rather restrained English acknowledgement of a local custom. The English have traditionally always been much better at the "when in Rome etc." principle.

Second, I was delighted to see footage of R.J.B.S. driving his beautiful and very successful Delage. Unfortunately this appeared before the ERA part - and initially I said to myself: "Blimey! aren't they going to cover the ERA thing?" Later I thought "What a pity we didn't get to hear about Ramponi and the Delage!".

I would love to hear more about this famous row between R.M. and R.J.B.S.

However, most enjoyable.

And the Spitfire thing afterwards was very good too - excellent in fact.

PdeRL

#41 nigel red5

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Posted 12 January 2004 - 22:42

I thought it was a great personal insight into Dick Seaman`s life. His Grand Prix racing career i knew about, from having got both the Sieg Rekord Meisterschaft & Racing the silver Arrows some years ago.... so using clips from those progs was`nt so much a surprise.
What i did want to know, was about how he got into racing in the first place, his relationship with his parents etc, and for a one hour documentary i think we got the message pretty clearly.

For me it was nice to see Tom Wheatcoft on the television again, although i do wish they`ed have used his comments more than just a brief soundbyte here and there.

Overall i got what i wanted from the show. If i can watch a motor racing programme, and come away at the end feeling that i`ve learned something that i did`nt know previously, then for me that`s a job well done. On this occasion the elder statesmen in TNF got it wrong.

One quick question... I`ve heard so many times the story of the paint being scraped from the cars to get them down to the 750kg limit... but what colour were they painted in the first place before it became the silver? Somehow to this day i`ve never found out......

#42 Vitesse2

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Posted 12 January 2004 - 22:47

Originally posted by petefenelon
Started off terribly, but the more of Chris Nixon, Tom Wheatcroft and DCN the better it got - and some of the archive footage was pretty good. On the whole - a program that started terribly and became very watchable when it concerned itself with racing.

Pretty much my feeling, Pete. Crap at the start; good, then better in the middle, but tailed off a bit.

Sins more of omission than anything else, really, although there was an extraordinary claim that Ferdinand Porsche created Auto Union! It was also implied that Whitney Straight's team was disbanded because of the death of Hugh Hamilton: that might have been part of the reason Straight retired, but I don't think one can ascribe it as the primary.

As VAR1016 pointed out there was no mention of Dick's switch from ERA to the ex-Howe Delage in 1936, even though the car was clearly seen: the casual viewer was left with the impression he drove "English cars" until he joined Mercedes. As Howe was mentioned in the programme, I'd have thought it could have been incorporated.

And Doug - please tell me that you prefixed those remarks about the (allegedly white - nigel red 5) paint being scraped off the Mercs with a caveat that it might not be true ......

#43 Allen Brown

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Posted 12 January 2004 - 22:48

Excellent program. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Doug looked like he'd been trimmed specially for the program. I don't remember the beard looking that tidy last time I saw it!

Hey Doug, you seem to have been engaged all evening; I wanted to add my congratulations on your authorative contribution to something that even Susan said she enjoyed.

Allen

#44 JohnS

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Posted 12 January 2004 - 22:55

Originally posted by VAR1016
Too much made of what was a very half-hearted "Nazi" salute - I have seen that clip before, and to me it has always looked like a rather restrained English acknowledgement of a local custom. The English have traditionally always been much better at the "when in Rome etc." principle.


I agree. It was more of a wave than anything. Now the England football team in 1936 - they were real Nazi salutes!

John

#45 Ian McKean

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Posted 12 January 2004 - 23:00

Originally posted by VAR1016
My twopence-worth:

Too much made of what was a very half-hearted "Nazi" salute - I have seen that clip before, and to me it has always looked like a rather restrained English acknowledgement of a local custom. The English have traditionally always been much better at the "when in Rome etc." principle.

Second, I was delighted to see footage of R.J.B.S. driving his beautiful and very successful Delage. Unfortunately this appeared before the ERA part - and initially I said to myself: "Blimey! aren't they going to cover the ERA thing?" Later I thought "What a pity we didn't get to hear about Ramponi and the Delage!".

I would love to hear more about this famous row between R.M. and R.J.B.S.

However, most enjoyable.

And the Spitfire thing afterwards was very good too - excellent in fact.

PdeRL


Sorry, missed the prog, but who is RM? Raymond Mays? Did they have a row? Is that why he and Ramponi resuscitated the Delage (years ahead of it time of course...)

Thanks

Ian McKean

#46 Vitesse2

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Posted 12 January 2004 - 23:08

Originally posted by Ian McKean


Sorry, missed the prog, but who is RM? Raymond Mays? Did they have a row? Is that why he and Ramponi resuscitated the Delage (years ahead of it time of course...)

Thanks

Ian McKean

Yes - Mays. Seaman felt that, as a customer, he was getting second best to the works team, so took his car away from Bourne to set up his own garage with Ramponi and immediately improved his results. Ramponi persuaded Dick to buy the Delage and the rest is history ....

#47 VAR1016

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Posted 12 January 2004 - 23:21

Originally posted by ensign14
Oh, and yet again Ken Morse did the rostrum camera work. Is he the only person in Britain with a rostrum camera? :lol:


Ensign - you are a mind-reader!

[Edit: I think that after such lengthy service, he should become Ken Morse OBE - for services to rostrum cameras]

:smoking:

PdeRL

#48 VAR1016

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Posted 12 January 2004 - 23:28

Originally posted by Ian McKean


Sorry, missed the prog, but who is RM? Raymond Mays? Did they have a row? Is that why he and Ramponi resuscitated the Delage (years ahead of it time of course...)

Thanks

Ian McKean


My understanding (from DCN's BRM book I think) is that Mays had supplied an allegedly new engine to Seaman, that was actually not all that new.

I think that a fly-on-the-wall's position at that "interface" would have been an experience....

By complete coincidence, I was today looking at a pair of camshafts with a similar history (NOT supplied by us I hasten to add )

PdeRL

#49 Paul Taylor

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Posted 12 January 2004 - 23:35

Well, I'm offering the program to people if they desparately want to see it.

I can put the file online, but it's about 400MB or more... :|

As for the program itself, it was rather interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed it :)

#50 Dennis Hockenbury

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Posted 13 January 2004 - 01:16

Originally posted by Paul Taylor
Well, I'm offering the program to people if they desparately want to see it.

I can put the file online, but it's about 400MB or more

Paul, as I am in the U.S. and thus was unable to see the program, and with a passing knowledge of the Seaman story, I would sincerely appreciate your offer if you would kindly make it available. I'm sure that I'm not the only one who would download this documentary.

Many thanks. Sounds like a great production.