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Proposition: The Brit Show Great Model Railway Challenge would be a US TV hit

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Proposition: The Brit Show Great Model Railway Challenge would be a US TV hit
Posted by BigDaddy on Thursday, December 06, 2018 9:31 PM

First you have to know that the Great Model Railway Challenge is a British TV series this year.  Kathy Millatt was one of the judges.  It is a reality TV show where groups compete to build a model railroad in 3 day based on a theme: TV shows, movies, travel, fire and ice.  There is supposed to be animation, and they throw in a curve ball of giving the contestants odd ball things like plungers, sponges and lipstick to freelance with.

Some of the competitors are model railroad clubs, some only know each other from online, some are special effects people but not necessarily model railroaders.

It follows a forumla liked Chopped, a cooking contest, where the judges ask the contestants what they are doing as they work.  Then the judges kibitz among themselves about the success of failings of what they are seeing.

Some of what they create is very clever and some is just shoddy workmanship.  If you search youtube for Great Model Railway Challenge you should find a link to the videos.

The Proposition in the title of this thread is not mine, but Ken Patterson's comments when he interviewed Kathy.  If such a show was on US TV, I am sure it would be good for the hobby. I don't think it would last more than a couple of shows.  Some of the contestants are a little bit weird and not in the usual MR sense.

Take a look at the videos and tell us what you think.

Henry

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Posted by tstage on Thursday, December 06, 2018 9:54 PM

Yet another "reality" TV show...Indifferent...Ho, boy!...

http://www.newyorkcentralmodeling.com

Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

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Posted by mlehman on Thursday, December 06, 2018 11:52 PM

tstage

Yet another "reality" TV show...Indifferent...Ho, boy!...

 

Oddly enough, this is one reality TV show I might finally tune in to.

Mike Lehman

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Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Friday, December 07, 2018 3:22 AM

Henry,

Railway modelling (the British term for model railroading) is regarded as an odd and quirky hobby in Great Britain, just as it is in the US or Germany. But unlike in the US or Germany, people in Great Britain love the odd and quirky and don´t look down on us "grown men playing with toy trains".

I doubt that a TV show like this one would generate sufficient interest with possible sponsors outside of the industry.

In Germany, a regional TV station (broadcasted nationwide) ran a series of shows called "On Little Tracks", in which a host preesented exceptional layouts and news of the trade. While quite popular among former East German people, interest declined steadily after the re-unification in 1990 and the program will be killed in 2019.

Happy times!

Ulrich (aka The Tin Man)

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Posted by kasskaboose on Friday, December 07, 2018 6:44 AM

Henry,

Thanks for the detailed report about this British reality show.  Having it replicate in the US won't go far.  It seems that many Europeans enjoy model trains because the real thing is often an integral part of their transportation system.   Anyone who has visited most large European citiies can attest.

Popular reality TV shows (e.g., The Voice, Survivor, America's Got Talent, Dancing with the Stars, etc.) generates more American interest because of star value.  What A-list celeb would even host a train show?  Are they willing to put their name and reputation behind such an endeavor?

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Posted by BigDaddy on Friday, December 07, 2018 6:54 AM

In the US we have "Public TV" located in all states, I think, funded by the government and donations.  Without going into the justification for that, they have produced some train shows: 

  • Tracks Ahead (about model railroads)
  • Bill Connolly Tracks Across America
  • Best of Trains around North America
  • Great Scenic Railway Journeys

The Wild Wild West and Petticoat Junction also featured trains.  Who cannot like a town called Hooterville?

AFAIK Oh Dr. Beeching never made it over to this side of the Atlantic.

Henry

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Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Friday, December 07, 2018 7:09 AM

BigDaddy
AFAIK Oh Dr. Beeching never made it over to this side of the Atlantic.

Oh Dr. Beeching is simply hilarious, but you need to have a good dose of British humor in your blood to fully appreciate it.

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Ulrich (aka The Tin Man)

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, December 07, 2018 8:30 AM

Tinplate Toddler
But unlike in the US or Germany, people in Great Britain love the odd and quirky and don´t look down on us "grown men playing with toy trains".

.

Nobody has ever "looked down" on me for being a model railroader.

.

This is something I have not ever experienced. Everybody has a pasttime interest, and I have never been socially shunned for mine.

.

My other pasttimes are Wargaming and Cosplay, and again, no wierd social looking down on me.

.

If the model railroad challenge was produced properly, it could be a hit for a season or two. HGTV seems like the likely home, but Discovery makes sense also.

.

-Kevin

.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Friday, December 07, 2018 10:07 AM

I don't think so.  Not enough drama, and that's what TV watchers like in a reality show, drama, the more the better. 

I used to tape the Tracks Ahead series, and I liked the show about real railroads, I think it was called Mega-Trains?  That didn't last long.

Mike.

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Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Friday, December 07, 2018 10:15 AM

Well Kevin - lucky you! But if you go back in this forum there are quite a few threads dealing with the subject of people outside of our hobby belittling the hobbyists. Folks may do not do it right into your face, but you never know what they do behind your back. In countries, where trains are much more a pat of the every day life, the situation looks different.

Happy times!

Ulrich (aka The Tin Man)

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Posted by NWP SWP on Friday, December 07, 2018 10:17 AM

If Discovery does it they could get either of the old Mythbusters hosts.

I haven't been judged outright for being a model railroader, I will admit theres a certain "nerd" factor that saying "I play with trains" has, I definitely would not say it in front of a group of people I'm trying to impress. So I guess a series like this "could" do ok then again maybe not.

Steven

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Posted by selector on Friday, December 07, 2018 12:19 PM

I only offer my own impression:

I did watch one episode on youtube about four weeks ago and elected to forego watching any others.  This hobby is fun for me, just as gardening is.  I use them for relaxation, even if I do get frustrated and disappointed at times, usually in the outcomes compared to my planning and visualizations...my expectations.  Watching others compete frenetically, making and taking shortcuts, falling short simply because of a time constraint...that doesn't sound fun or interesting to me.  I left the video most of the way through and haven't looked back.

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Posted by Lone Wolf and Santa Fe on Friday, December 07, 2018 12:29 PM

    There also was a public television show called Trackside which featured both model railroads and real ones. It was a good show but had limited interest.
    The game show sounds interesting but there wouldn’t be enough interest in it to get it on the air. A more interesting idea that people might watch is a show about model train wrecks.

P.S. Only people between the ages of 16 and 30 are considered nerdy for playing with trains, mostly by themselves, not by others. Most people don't care about your hobby unless they also have the same hobby then, they like it. Nobody ever made me feel bad about it other than myself.

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Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Friday, December 07, 2018 12:29 PM

I can relate to that!

I have watched  - or should I say endured through 4 episodes - and my verdict stands at "This has nothing to do with model railroading". It´s a rather cheaply made show with the quality of workmanship displayed miles below what you see at train shows in Great Britain.

I find

The Biggest Little Railway in the World

much more entertaining!

Happy times!

Ulrich (aka The Tin Man)

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Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Friday, December 07, 2018 12:56 PM

Tinplate Toddler

. . . but you never know what they do behind your back.

I think this is pretty much Kevin's point. No sense losing sleep over what people do behind your back. 

Robert 

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Posted by BigDaddy on Friday, December 07, 2018 9:19 PM

Tinplate Toddler
I have watched - or should I say endured through 4 episodes - and my verdict stands at "This has nothing to do with model railroading". It´s a rather cheaply made show with the quality of workmanship displayed miles below what you see at train shows in Great Britain.

Well, I watched the whole series.  I have not been to a British train show, but I'm sure there is better stuff there, there is better stuff here in the weekend picture threads and the show me something threads. 

However, they did not have sufficient time.  3 day isn't much time even if you have 5 or 6 people to help.  If it was 5 days, the drama of not enough time would still be there, but we would have seen more complete models.

The extras to "freelance" was nonsense.  Supposedly it added drama but who's going to scratch build with a plunger?

Some of the animation was garbage, like a cell phone standing in for a giant video screen or a truck pulling a plexiglas sheet of joggers. edit Garbage may be too strong a word, but it was like that fire department Christmas garden rather than quality model railroading. 

There was some really good animation with moving vehicles and working signals.  As a model railroader, I would like to know how they did that.

I would have chosen better quality and more time, rather than cute gimmicks. 

 

Henry

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Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Saturday, December 08, 2018 2:39 AM

I still think this show has the wrong message for the audience. It´s not a hobby for the "fast & furious", bodging together a "complete layout" in only 3 days, but a hobby for the "patient & persistent", who develops an understanding for how railroads operate, develops a myriad of different skills and is not hunting for cheap thrills.

Happy times!

Ulrich (aka The Tin Man)

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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, December 10, 2018 2:25 PM

Tinplate Toddler
I find The Biggest Little Railway in the World much more entertaining!

That was a worthwhile show.  I think the guy with the mutton chops was on both shows.  They built a OO live steam railway 70 miles long in 2 weeks.   At one point they tried switching to a battery powered loco, but it was not as fast as steam and was uninspiring to the "navies"  pronounced, navees, not navys, as the men who built the canals, then built the railways.

He got 56 volunteers to live in tents and work 2 weeks, sometimes at night to lay these huge pieces of sectional track (8 ' ?) and build bridges, viaducts, an inclined railway, and truss bridges and a helix to solve the elevation problem or cross water. 

A totally impractical premise, but worth watching.

 

Henry

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Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Monday, December 10, 2018 2:39 PM

BigDaddy
They built a OO live steam railway 70 miles long in 2 weeks.

The line ran from Fort William to Inverness in Scotland, but it was 1/19 scale, not OO scale. No OO scale live steamer would have made that trip.

Happy times!

Ulrich (aka The Tin Man)

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Posted by vsmith on Monday, December 10, 2018 4:55 PM
Who would have thought a British show about baking cakes would be so bloody popular... Bring it on! Pitch it to PBS.

   Have fun with your trains

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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, December 10, 2018 5:07 PM

He said OO scale comes to the rescue, but that was all I caught.  I wouldn't know OO from 1/19 if it fell on my foot.

 

Henry

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Posted by cuyama on Monday, December 10, 2018 6:15 PM

BigDaddy
Women, walnut trees and dogs, the more you beat them, the better they be" would set the pink hat people on fire.

The concept of beating women and dogs is funny to you? Really?

Dunno about the "pink hat people", but dude, that's messed up. Keep your misogyny and cruelty fantasies off a model railroad forum.

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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, December 10, 2018 6:45 PM

cuyama
The concept of beating women and dogs is funny to you? Really?

Cuyama you are being unfair. 

I did not say it was funny nor encouraged people to beat women or dogs. Who gave you the power to read other people's minds?     I quoted the 500 year old saying as the 2 Fat Ladies did. 

While I can't read their minds either, I believe it was said for the shock that such a saying could be remembered and known into the end of 20th century. 

I am involved in animal rescue and beating is the least of it.  Dogs and cats are set on fire for fun or chained to a tree until their neck grows into the chain.  You only have to google Kareem Hunt to see how woman are treated in 2018.  Like Ray Rice, it's only taken seriously if there is a video.

 

 

 

 

Henry

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Posted by cuyama on Monday, December 10, 2018 6:54 PM

BigDaddy
it's only taken seriously if there is a video.

All the more reason not to joke about it.

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