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Experimental TX: 18 Oct 2015, Week 43

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The web is bursting with thousands of short videos showing amateur daredevils around the world achieving unbelievable, thrilling, funny or downright dangerous stunts. These clips show incredible feats of bravery, skill or plain old idiocy filmed by ordinary people and posted online for our entertainment.

Unruly engineer Tim Shaw wants to uncover the truth behind these clips. Partnering up with his daredevil friend and guinea pig Buddy Munro, the pair will travel the globe to remake some of the world’s most hair-raising virals and find out the science behind how on earth they are possible.

Far from stuffy lab conditions, Tim and Buddy will be taking their tests to the streets, abandoned buildings and the great outdoors, to unearth the mysteries of these clips. By unpicking the footage frame by frame, Tim uses his engineering insights to uncover the elegant scientific principals behind each of these seemingly fluky stunts.

The laws of science will be put to the test, but will Tim and Buddy’s adventures result in a triumphant win or an epic fail?

Production company: NERD TV

Executive Producers: John Farrar and Jago Lee
Series Producer/Director: Stephen Shearman

Publicity: Nick Walker and CC Clark, Channel 4 Press Office
Picture Publicity: Nathalie Mohoboob, Channel 4 Press Office

Episode 6 - Sunday 18 October, 10pm, Channel 4

Unruly engineer Tim Shaw and his daredevil sidekick Buddy Munro continue to put the laws of science to the test, as they attempt to recreate some of the world’s most hair-raising viral videos in the most-extreme stunts yet.

In 2012 Utah State University posted a YouTube video that showed students scaling a disused multistory industrial building using a homemade vacuum powered climbing kit. Determined to go one better than the undergrads Tim builds his own vacuum kit and tests Buddy’s nerve as he challenges him to scale the walls of a secret unfinished underground theatre in Central London.

Buddy and Tim take on one of the true viral legends of YouTube. In 2007 a young Norwegian Skier dared to ski down the longest escalator in the UK; a sixty metre drop into Angel Tube Station. As the boys prepare to take it on, one thing is troubling Tim: how did the Angel Skier do it and stay alive.

Tim and Buddy explore the sort of G-Forces that a fighter pilot goes through but on a kids’ roundabout, using a moped’s accelerating back wheel to rev it up.

Internet clips of young men clambering into tractor tyres and hurling themselves down big hills have inspired Tim; but he wants to refine the idea for maximum efficiency. Travelling to the beautiful and hilly South Downs, Tim comes up with an ingenious way to improve on tractor tyre rolling, but can roly-poly-phobic Buddy be induced to climb inside? The results are stomach-churning.

Episode 5 - Sunday 11 October, 10pm, Channel 4

Unruly engineer Tim Shaw and his daredevil sidekick Buddy Munro return to put the laws of science to the test, as they attempt to recreate some of the world’s most hair-raising viral videos in the most-extreme stunts yet.

Take a leaf blower and an office swivel chair, what have you got? A leaf-blower-powered swivel chair! Clips of people spinning inefficiently while they cradle petrol powered garden equipment get Tim thinking. He decides to refine the system, build a world-beating swivel chair, and put Buddy on it. The maverick engineer doubles the number of engines and creates a low-friction, fast rotating monster that will totally challenge Buddy.

Tim turns Buddy into a human arrow by building a giant catapult rig and putting Buddy in it. The chance to be the fastest accelerating human on the planet is worth the risk.

Inspired by an infamous Internet clip Tim and Buddy travel to Tbilisi, Georgia in search of a tower block suitable for their next escapade: a highly dangerous stunt that explores the science of acceleration. Tim constructs the holy grail of the adrenalin junkie: an elaborate rope-rig designed to give Buddy the longest possible free-fall using just rope and a harness. But the rig is not Tim’s only challenge. Buddy doesn’t want to jump.

Episode 4 - Sunday 16 August, 8pm, Channel 4

Tim and Buddy head to the Caucasus Mountains – which hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics – to try and set a shovel racing speed world record. Sit your bum on an unmodified shovel; head down the fall line and you are shovel racing. Incredibly competitors regularly hit speeds in excess of 100kph. Modifying the shovel is not allowed but Tim plans to use his knowledge of the properties of friction to give Buddy the edge.

Travelling to Tibsli, Georgia, Tim constructs a high-powered football-firing air-canon to find out if a German Soccer team Borussia-Dortmund executed a mind-boggling trick shot at motorway speeds, or if the players are part of an incredible conspiracy to perpetrate an elaborate Internet hoax. The challenge is to fire a football from a fast-moving coach; the ball has to re-bound off a wall and then be caught by someone on the same fast-moving coach. The complexities are many; the amount of time and air pressure is limited. Can Tim conquer the impossible angles and recreate the stunt? Can Buddy even catch a ball?

After seeing a viral video of an unusual helix firework in a Thai Religious Festival Tim decides to explore what it takes to build a 20-kilo bamboo rocket. Setting up camp in one of the only two factories in the UK licensed to make the highly explosive black powder that will send the thing into the sky, the pair collaborates on this extraordinary girondola firework. But is it possible to send 8 kilos of gunpowder into the sky without anything going dangerously wrong?

Episode 3 - Sunday 9 August, 8pm, Channel 4

After seeing a video of a daredevil water skier switch from being towed behind a speedboat boat to being towed by a 34,000-ton car ferry, Tim decides to explore the dangers involved and the science of aerated water. Tim and Buddy head to the Black Sea port of Batumi, Georgia and get hold of a high-speed Kometa ferry; a classic piece of 1950’s futuristic design. In the choppy open water, Buddy’s mission is to make the transfer from the support boat to the ferry, and stay out of the potentially lethal wake.

Racing the tube has become something of an internet phenomenon. It involves getting off an underground train and running to the next stop to catch the same train. Tim and Buddy realize they might have bitten off more than they can chew when they take on the might of the Munich U-Bahn, one of the most efficient transit systems in the world. Can Tim find a solution through science?

Inspired by a clip of a “Fire Hose Rodeo” shot in Lincoln Nebraska, Tim tracks down the Internet daredevil who held onto a high-pressure water hose as it whipped and bucked. He wants to know if the stunt is down to unique skill, or pure strength. Gathering fire engines, cranes and hoses on a windswept beach in Somerset, Tim constructs a jet powered rodeo ride and puts Buddy to the test. Is it possible to control the bucking beast, or is just a case of hold tight and hope?

Episode 2 - Sunday 2 August, 8pm, Channel 4

Unruly engineer Tim Shaw and his daredevil sidekick Buddy Munro continue their travels, as they attempt to recreate some of the world’s most hair-raising viral videos.

The perennial childhood favourite the Slip N’ Slide gets a muscly makeover when Tim employs a V8 powered glider winch and a 3 metre high ramp to send Buddy sky high. Inspired by an Internet clip of college kids in sunny California, Tim wants to demonstrate (in not-so-sunny Wales) the hidden dangers in upscaling this kids’ game.

The snowy Krkonse Mountains in the Czech Republic see Buddy attempt to ski uphill using jet power. Tim’s early tests indicate they don’t have enough thrust from their micro turbine. His solution? Strapping on a highly dangerous afterburner to bump up their power.

Inspired by internet clips paying homage to Jean Claude Van Damme’s ‘Epic Split’ made famous in a truck commercial, Tim wants to find out just what kind of stresses a stunt like this puts on the body. In an industrial estate outside Birmingham, Tim commandeers a pair of forklift trucks and puts Buddy’s balance and flexibility to the test as he challenges him to travel backwards, while doing full splits between the two machines.

Combining the fantasy of the Hover-boards in the Back to the Future films with the reality of Sir Christopher Cockerel’s hovercraft, Tim attempts to make a steerable Hover-Board. But will his leaf-blowers, tarpaulin and tape do the job? The dark and murky waters of an abandoned quarry see Buddy take the creation on its maiden voyage.

Episode 1 - Sunday 26 July, 8pm, Channel 4

Unruly engineer Tim Shaw and his daredevil sidekick Buddy Munro begin their travels, as they attempt to recreate some of the world’s most hair-raising viral videos.

Tim has seen a video with Grand Slam ace Novak Djokovic playing tennis on the wings of a flying plane. He takes Buddy to Germany to see if they can achieve the same on an Antonov AN-2 aircraft. Strapped to the wings, Buddy challenges a professional air acrobat/amateur tennis player to a rally hundreds of metres above the German countryside.

Multiple online clips show the explosive reaction when a popular chewy mint sweet meets cola. An ordinary two litre bottle can create an impressive geyser, but Tim wants to go even bigger. What will happen when Tim and Buddy drop 7000 mint sweets into a 1000 litres of cola?

Tim is convinced that a viral clip showing a man water-skiing on just a barstool and a table top is scientifically achievable, but Buddy thinks camera trickery is at play. They head to Georgia where Buddy takes to the waters to try it himself. His first challenge is to can climb the stool while simultaneously clinging to a ski rope.

Finally, Buddy tries an unusual ‘fireman’s lift’ – being elevated on a platform by just the force of fire engine water hoses in Whitehaven, Cumbria. It worked for Russian firefighters in one viral clip, but will Tim’s engineering get Buddy off the ground? Or, even more spectacularly, testing Newton’s Third Law with no floor beneath Buddy at all?

Past TX Information

EXPERIMENTAL 6/6
20 Oct 2015, 00:05
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