Making the most of a load of junk.

There are many uses for Scrapyards, namely finding bits of car such as a wing mirror or bonnet or perhaps a Garage Door that you might be able to use, but two very talented television executives (Eve Kay and Cathy Rodgers) came up with a use for one Scrapheap and that was to provide joyful wet Sunday afternoon teatime viewing on Channel Four for about eleven years. The items found in the scrapyard are all beyond repair and find their way there after Garage Door Repair companies like have finished with the bits.

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The shows premise was actually very simple. Two teams of expert builders were given a task to make a device out anything they could find in a Scrapheap. This could be a windmill, a catapult, a rocket or even a boat to race on water or perform a task. They teams were aided by having an expert in the field to advise them on what the design should entail from their experience of working with a non-scrap version. They then had ten hours to get out into the Scrapyard, find the bits that wanted and drag them back to the making area via quad bikes. It didn’t matter what the weather was doing they just had to get on with it.

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Duly equipped with the things they needed the teams then set about welding and riveting the whole mass of metal and cobbled parts together until the great Scrappy clock ran down and the air hooter was sounded by the host  Robert Llewellyn (Kryten of Red Dwarf fame) to signal the end of the building time. Before the final task the next day the teams did get the chance to tinker with their machines. The final task could be destructive i.e. knock a house down, about speed by building a dragster (The teams were both given an identical V8 engine to create a vehicle around it) a boat capable of transporting and item across a lake or one of distance where they had to build a trebuchet capable of flinging a Mini as far as possible.

The idea for the show came about when Kay watched the film Apollo 13. In one part of the film the engineers in NASA have to figure out a way to make a Carbon dioxide filter out of the few things they can scavenge together on the Lunar Module. Whilst the Scrapheap Challengers never faced a life or death situation it did show that scrap still has its uses especially when it is combined with human ingenuity.

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