When the BBC does something big, it tends to do it really well. Building Cars Live, broadcast over the last two evenings, was one such example.
After the VW emissions scandal it was exactly the fillip that the industry needed in this country, both to instill an understanding of what goes into making our everyday runabouts and convey why people like us have a passion and pride for the industry.
There were cock-ups and complaints, but I’m minded to dismiss them all. For all its mechanisation, car making is a people business, and the fact that everything on the show didn’t run like clockwork was a reflection of real life.
The complaints were many and varied, but seemed to centre on the fact that some of the content was dumbed down. Well, given this was a huge chunk of primetime television on two consecutive days, it’d be foolish to expect otherwise.
For what it’s worth, I thought the team, led by Kate Humble, James May and Ant Anstead, did a remarkable job of weaving the live elements and pre-recorded bits together. The show captured the diverse nature of car making in the UK, and didn’t shy away from mixing some of the more fringe areas with more mainstream ones.
The thread that ran throughout was an enthusiasm for the subject, something that we like to embrace at Autocar, but which given diverse tastes isn’t always easy to maintain.
Such is the nature of television (and the web, where there was a truly brilliant running commentary on the live coverage, complete with catch-up films on each section), that the BBC will move on to something else next time around.
The show was a credit to all involved, and the UK car industry now has a wonderful platform on which to build and promote itself, not least to the potential apprentices and graduates that it needs to recruit to maintain its current rate of turbocharged growth.
If you missed to shows and can watch them on BBC's iPlayer, the links are below: