How an air-conditioning mechanic in Sydney Australia became an award winning broadcaster in Britain Part 47.

11Mar14

I checked that the crash helmet chin strap was tight, put the car in gear and took off. That’s when thousands of television viewers saw things go horribly wrong.

In 1994, I presented a series of TV commercials for a car dealers in Mount Gambier South Australia. After filming one day I was having a beer with the Gazzard brothers who ran the place. One of them said, “I’ll show you the ads we used to run…” and popped a VHS into the machine on top of the TV. It turned out that one of the brothers, Peter Gazzard was a stunt driver. The commercials showed him driving a car on it’s side, through the dealership with two wheels in the air like that scene in the James Bond film ‘Diamonds Are Forever’. It was really quite something, he was weaving in between rows of cars that were for sale on the lot, narrowly missing them all.

Then they accidentally showed me an out-take where the car rolled over and is quickly surrounded by the safety crew. “Oh, you weren’t supposed to see that!” said the manager. I said, “Was that ever shown on TV? It’s amazing!”. They said hardly anybody had ever seen that footage. Peter didn’t want it to be shown because it could damage his reputation as one of Australia’s top stunt drivers. I asked if they still had the car and if Peter still had the same crash helmet. When the answer to both questions was “Yes”, I said, “Let’s do a commercial where we show Peter doing the stunt again and then I have a go myself. If we film me putting on the helmet, getting in the car and driving off, then cut to the bit where the stunt goes wrong, it’ll look like I made a mess of it, especially if we record some audio from inside the car of me going, “I think I’ve got it, oh no, I haven’t got it, help!!!” and dub that over the pictures”.

That’s exactly what we did and it looked very convincing. For weeks after it was shown, I was asked if I was badly hurt in the crash. Peter, who was actually in the roll-over got no sympathy at all. Which is exactly the way he wanted it to be.

Craic on!

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