Rock Climbing and Plas y Brenin on the TVby Jack Geldard - UKC Chief Editor Apr/2012
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The show - Hidden Talent - is a new six-part series which discovers people with extraordinary hidden talents they never even dreamed they had. Over 900 people from all around the country undergo testing, and a number are found to have special physical, mental, sensory or creative talents - of which they were totally unaware.
The first episode focuses on two different skills, rock climbing and lie detection. After experts test the general public in both physical and mental capacities, they narrow their search down to find the individuals that they believe had the greatest potential to excel in each field.
"We gave over 300 people, who had never even considered the sport, the chance to try rock-climbing – with amazing success" said Martin Chester of Plas y Brenin, "it was a great opportunity to design tests that prove there is more to climbing than bravery and biceps!"
The 10 candidates in rock climbing are put through a series of tasks in a long weekend at Plas y Brenin by mountain guide Martin Chester, testing their agility, ease with heights, leadership qualities and communication skills. Maggie, a 45 year-old nurse and grandmother, is selected to take her new-found skill even further by receiving one-on-one training ahead of her final challenge after just 18 days of climbing: to climb the Old Man of Stoer, swinging leads up this stunning sea stack.
Maggie went on a regular introductory rock climbing course at Plas y Brenin, in order to mix with fellow climbers. She then received several sessions of 1:1 coaching with Martin Chester (the Director of Training at Plas y Brenin, and 'climbing expert' throughout the series). Throughout this time, she also climbed with professional climber Leo Houlding and mountain guide Libby Peter. What you see on film is all very real. There were no camera tricks, no top rope rehearsals, and not so much as a single pre-placed runner – what you see is what you get. (Perhaps a stark contrast to the recent Bear Grylls video?)