If, like Free Car Mag, you are rather bemused by most hyperactive motoring programmes and yearn for something more down to earth and funny, and grumpy, then here’s the pilot for something we would like to put on series record asap.
Actor Tim Bentinck, best known as David Archer in Radio 4’s The Archers, has co-presented a pilot item for The Grumpy Driver’s Club, a car programme featuring humour rather than tyre-shredding machismo.
For The Grumpy Drivers’ Club Bentinck worked with ex-ITV Pulling Power director Richard Hetherington and motoring journalist Martin Gurdon as co-presenter.
Recently seen in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Tim was also in hit comedies Twenty Twenty and Amrando Ianucci’s often improvised The Thick of It, and put his improv skills to good use in the largely unscripted The Grumpy Drivers’ Club.
“I love the invention of working without a script. Looking back on the improv stuff I’ve done with Armando Iannucci (The Thick of It, The Armando Iannucci Shows), there’s a subtle difference between lines learned and lines made up on the spot. I’m always trying to make my Archers lines sound as though I’ve just thought of them!” said Bentinck.
“With the Grumpy shoot none of us had worked together before. We had some bullet points for each scene, but otherwise Martin and I were flying blind. It could have been a disaster, but something clicked. If one of us had an idea we’d run with it and see where it took us,” said Bentinck. “The results were often very funny.”
The Grumpy Drivers’ Club is conceived as a magazine-style show, but not scripting everything “avoids the clunky delivery you sometimes see with car TV and videos,” said Richard Hetherington. “We didn’t want to create a clone of stuff that’s already out there. We want people who don’t care about cars to enjoy it too.”
The pilot is now being considered by a number of commissioning editors, “but we’re still open to offers,” said Richard Hetheringon.