In a new six part series third-generation lorry mechanic, motorcycle racer and engineering enthusiast Guy Martin celebrates the workers of the Industrial Revolution by getting stuck into six of the country’s biggest restoration projects, bringing some of the 19th Century’s most impressive engineering achievements back to life.
Each episode focuses on the jobs of the Industrial Revolution’s unsung heroes – the ordinary men, women and children who worked 14 hour days for little pay to create extraordinary things that changed the country forever. Guy will find out about their way of life, the dangers they faced and the skills they possessed which were the envy of the world.
In the opening programme, he’ll overhaul the machine that turned Britain into the first industrialised nation in the world – a steam locomotive. He will also renovate a Yorkshire saw mill powered by the world’s oldest surviving water turbine; rebuild one of the fastest ever Victorian fishing trawlers; design his own giant fountain and rockery at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens; help renovate the first ever coal mine steam pumping engine and brave crashing waves and sub-zero temperatures to help preserve the metalwork underneath Llandudno Pier. Guy Martin is a third generation lorry mechanic who works full time at a garage in Grimsby. He was mending lawn mower engines by the age of six and started working in his father’s business at the age of 12, cycling seven miles to work every day in the school holidays. He’s fascinated by all things mechanical (several tattoos of obscure engine parts adorn his legs) and his proudest achievement to date is being called out on a rescue to fix Morrisey’s tour bus.
Guy is also a motorcycle racer with an international reputation. His eccentric outlook on life, homespun turns of phrase and distinctive sideburns have resulted in a worldwide fan base of all ages. He models leathers for Italy’s top manufacturer but shuns the glamorous lifestyle many of his rivals embrace – Guy is more likely to sleep in the back of his beloved Transit van than a 5 star hotel, and is famous for preferring copious amounts of tea to lager or wine. He competes in notoriously dangerous road races like the Isle of Man TT, and in 2010 survived a horrific 170mph fireball in which he broke his back in three places. He made a full recovery and a critically-acclaimed documentary feature film was made about the event – TT 3D: Closer to the Edge – it was released around the world and Guy was the star.
How Britain Worked begins on 21st of October at 8pm on Channel 4