Now we have had no shortage of good programmes about the railways on TV such as Michael Portillo's and Paul Merton's programmes about travelling around the country but few on the actual trains themselves and the enthusiasts or "train spotters" (that much maligned and derided group) who love them. Trainspotting Live! was a series of BBC live shows trying to cover the phenomenon of rail enthusiasm but did it work?
The shows were rather chaotic but had a good mix of live features and pre-recorded features covering areas like signalling and the preservation movement. The live features often went a bit wrong and probably did little to dispel many people's opinion of "trainspotters" as a bit odd as it all frequently went a little too frenetic. But it did portray the excitement and enthusiasm that they (we i should say) have for trains quite well. The world of railways and rail enthusiasm is a mad world after all!
However the programmes were full of errors and incorrect information though a lot of this could be just down to the pressures of live TV (but then again quite a lot of specialist publications are the same). Some of the main presenters like Peter Snow did struggle a bit with the live nature of the show and were much better on the pre-recorded items (however i did get my name read out live on the BBC by Peter Snow as he read one of my tweets so that was naturally totally awesome!) Maybe my main problem with the show was the name. Not all rail enthusiasts are spotters and write down the numbers, i stopped doing that in about 1989... maybe i am being a bit too sniffy?
But despite these problems (and a few moments which made me cringe) the programmes were very enjoyable, especially watched alongside the twitter hashtag of course (including posting the pics below - among many). I hope it returns in future.