A new ITV documentary series featuring everyday life on the Tyne and Wear Metro is set to air on national television from tomorrow, January 14, offering millions of viewers a chance to go behind the scenes at one Britain’s busiest transport networks.
Metro: A Rail Life Story is a four-part documentary series which gives a unique insight into day to day operations on the Metro system as it gears up to celebrate its 40th anniversary. Watch the trailer.
Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, gave unprecedented access to film crews over the busy summer of 2019.
The first episode, which features thousands of people using Metro to get the Spice Girls concert at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light, will be broadcast on ITV at 7.30pm on Tuesday14 January.
Managing Director of Nexus, Tobyn Hughes, said: “We’re all really looking forward to seeing the Tyne and Wear Metro showcased on national television.
“Our story is our passengers and our staff, so we were keen to share this through a documentary series as Metro gets ready to mark its 40th year.
“When we were approached about allowing TV crews unprecedented behind the scenes access, despite the challenges we face with a 40 year old fleet of trains, I had no hesitation in breaking with tradition and giving it the green light.
“This ITV series will show viewers some of the amazing people who work around the clock to deliver the Metro service to the people of Tyne and Wear over one of our busiest ever summers, culminating with the Great North Run.
“Metro is firmly part of everyday life and it has become an iconic regional brand over the years. It is part of the unique fabric of the North East that sets it apart from the rest of the country: friendly, hardworking, and with a unique cultural identity.
“This all comes over so well in all four episodes which have been made for ITV and I think people will really enjoy watching the programme.”
The series follows the highs and lows of the summer and provides a vivid insight into the daily trials and tribulations for staff.
Cameras will show some of Metro’s 1,100 staff dealing with the biggest events of the year – including the Great North Run and the Spice Girls re-union concert in Sunderland.
ITV have revealed that the first episode focuses on the start of the Summer, and the Metro staff brace themselves for one of the busiest days of the year. The Spice Girls are in town as part of their comeback world tour, meaning 50,000 fans from far and wide will be descending on Sunderland, putting additional pressure on the Metro’s already stretched resources.
For staff, all the chat is about the Girl Power megastars. Carrie Hall, from the Metro’s depot team, says: “Very young at the time, but I was a huge Spice Girls fan, I saw them the first time around. Yeah, that was one of the best nights of my life.”
Every one of the Metro’s ageing fleet of trains will be needed to cope with the higher than usual number of passengers – meaning that planning has to be spot on so the system doesn’t grind to a halt.
The drama unfolds across the day as head of operations Wayne Dixon spots a potential problem with an overhead line. Meanwhile, there’s an anxious call to the Metro control room - two Spice Girl fans have lost their tickets and it looks like they won’t be getting to the concert of a lifetime.
Executive Producer Mark Robinson said: “We were delighted to be the first production team allowed to film in depth behind the scenes on the Metro. We know it’s become an iconic part of North East life over the last 40 years but now viewers all across the UK will be finding out about it.
“We’d like to thank all the Metro staff who allowed us to film a wide range of operations across last Summer. From huge, all-consuming events like the Spice Girls re-union to day-to-day issues like fare dodging, anti-social behaviour and dealing with an ageing fleet of trains, it was fascinating to see what it takes to keep the network running”.
The series for ITV is the first commission for Leeds based production company Wise Owl Films, a Lime Pictures company that launched in 2018.