“Gear and Tears” Stockcar Documentary on BBC1

Official announcement from the BBC front desk publicity team, about the forthcoming documentary series.

Gears and Tears (6 x 30 minute episodes)

The programme will be going out each week on BBC One for 6 weeks starting 2nd August.

In the heart of England there’s a secret passion. It’s an obsession that’s divided two rival families for 40 years. Their battlefield is motorsport’s best kept secret – Formula One Stock Car racing – a world where hauliers, hairdressers and double glazing salesmen can be World Champions. Every weekend these racing dynasties fight fiery gladiatorial showdowns in thundering home-built chariots, intent not just on winning, but also destroying the opposition’s cars.

Gears and Tears, a six-part documentary series, is the story behind a single Stock Car season and follows a remarkably bitter battle between the two dominant clans in the sport. The Wainmans are from Yorkshire and the Smiths from Lancashire. This is a latter day War of the Roses where passion, pride and family are everything. Ultimately, all that matters will be victory at the end of a vicious campaign all the way to the World Final.

Frankie Wainman Jnr and Andy Smith are arch-enemies who have much in common. Their fathers, Frankie ‘Smiler’ Wainman Snr and Stuart ‘The Maestro’ Smith Snr, were the leading drivers in the 70s and 80s. This was the sport’s heyday when Stock Car racing was as much a part of popular culture as Wrestling, Curly Wurlys and the Rubik’s Cube – and the crowds flocked in their tens of thousands.

The glory days may be gone but racing is still a way of life that demands total family commitment. Drivers are championed by wives, girlfriends, mothers and grandmas who are even more passionate than their men folk. Women take a leading role in the series where brutal on-track battles mirror the heated rows off-track. Crashes and tears at the trackside are the order of the day, as the episodes progress through a season that takes the competition between the two dynasties to fever pitch. It’s neck and neck all the way. Deliberate smashes, accusations of cheating and even a real life ‘Romeo and Juliet’ love story all build to the most Shakespearean of series conclusions.

Gears and Tears celebrates values that are often forgotten in contemporary Britain. The country’s heavy industry and manufacturing may have all but disappeared, but here are people who can build cars with their bare hands and who drive them with astonishing skill and courage. It’s a world where amateurism, enthusiasm, improvisation – and a handy knack for home-grown engineering – are still king.

Over the nine-month season the film makers enjoyed unprecedented access to this world of everyday heroes, who come from all walks of life. We meet a most unlikely competitor in this macho sport, a ladies’ hairdresser from Nuneaton; and the 16 year old landowner’s daughter who swaps her show-jumper for 740 horse power, with calamitous results. We follow the lad who stands up to on-track bullying, and gets a ban for his pains; and we marvel at the eternal optimism of a window and conservatory salesman who, despite every setback, still dreams of Stock Car glory.

Gears and Tears – it’s the stuff of legends.

A preview video is available on the BBC website showing the opening few minutes from the forthcoming documentary – HERE

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