TV crew at yard when boat comes in

CAMERAS ROLL ... presenter Rob Bell, left and his film crew at A&P Tyne as the Pride of Bruges arrives in dry dock.
CAMERAS ROLL ... presenter Rob Bell, left and his film crew at A&P Tyne as the Pride of Bruges arrives in dry dock.

A SOUTH Tyneside yard will make waves when it stars in a TV documentary about a ferry contract.

The refit of the 180ft P&O ferry Pride of Bruges is being filmed at A&P Tyne, Hebburn.

A crew from Lion TV, which produces the television favourite Horrible Histories, was given access to the yard to film work on North Sea and Channel ferries.

Due to be screened on BBC2 later this year, the documentary will be called Inside The Machine.

Director Chris Mitchell, said: “It’s a series of three one-hour long programmes looking at machines and how they work, by getting inside and taking them apart.

“We’re featuring a British Airways jumbo, a P&O ferry and an oil and gas rig.

“Most people have been on a ferry, most have been on a plane, but they don’t know what makes them work. They take them for granted.

“We’re talking about engineering and technology in a way the public can understand.

“There’s some substantial work going on at A&P, involving propellors and the big end of the engine.

“We’ll be climbing inside the bowels of the ship, finding out how everything works and exploring parts in detail.”

The Hebburn yard has been busy since last month with a P&O contract to refit the cross-Channel ferry the Pride of Canterbury, plus North Sea ferries the Pride of York and the Pride of Bruges, which is the biggest project, involving a large amount of steel renewal work.

The contract also involves the overhaul of sea valves, propulsion machinery, general essential underwater maintenance work, preparation and painting.

The Pride of Bruges, which can carry 850 cars, is due to leave the borough yard on March 10.

Martin Robertson, sales and marketing manager at A&P Tyne, said: “It’s exciting to have the film crew here during the Pride of Bruges project.

“They’ll be looking at what it takes to keep the ferries in top condition, and they’ll see the dedication of the workforce here to make that happen.

“A&P Tyne has been welcoming P&O Ferries to the yard for many years, and as a result we have an intimate knowledge of them.

“It’s great to see the vessels coming in, they’re so familiar to people – especially those of us who are used to travelling on them.”

A&P Tyne has the biggest dry dock on England’s east coast, and filming included the ferry being secured with large blocks while the A&P workforce, dwarfed by the 6,748 deadweight tonne vessel, moved swiftly to repair the damage done by months out at sea.

P&O spokesman, Brian Rees, said: “The filming gives a great opportunity to show what it is easy to take for granted – the technical skill and experience that is vital for companies such as A&P and P&O.

“There isn’t much glamour in a shipyard or ship’s engine room, and it isn’t easy to convey the intricacies of what is going on to people with no technical background.

“Hopefully, this series will fly the flag for those people the customer doesn’t get to see – those who keep the show on the road.”

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