A League of Their Own: Case Study
For the past 5 years, and 7 series, Aquatic Impact has provided all tanks & pools for A League of Their Own games. Several each series in fact!
We have worked alongside the production team and studio management to build a long lasting relationship based upon our ability to deliver, and keep talent and studio space safe.
From Series 3 onwards (most recently finished recording for Series 9) we have provided our Giant Mobile Film Tank to form the basis for a number of water games. Several variants of the games are conceived, tested and produced in a typical series.
Following the repeat success of the tank, and water games in general, we added to our offering by designing a new Temporary Modular Pool system, allowing for pool based water games in addition to the tank.
Over the years countless celebrities (including the show host James Corden) have been soaked whilst appearing on the show. The response to the games is always positive and we're extremely proud to have worked for the show for so long, and to have played our part in always pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved each year.
A 30 tonne water tank and a giant pool in an historic TV Studio
It all takes place in Studio D, BBC Elstree. An 80 year old studio that is incredibly precious to the Corporation. A large part of our effort therefore is to cover off risks and work alongside studio management to demonstrate safe solutions and develop ideas that can work well both on screen and within the confines of the studio space.
Following the success of the tank, we looked to develop a modular pool system, allowing alternative water games. There were two chief requirements of the design, the pool had to be incredibly strong, as it would surely be abused during the frantic action of the show, and it would need to be puncture proof. Our design answered both concerns and has proved incredibly flexible, and has gone on to be used for numerous other productions.
It's not just the tanks & pools that need to be water tight either. For each game we line and tank the area beneath and around the water game, and use our state of the art fully bunded mobile filter stations to ensure that at every stage water is fully contained. Double containment is a requirement for water in the studio, and this philosophy runs through everything we design and build for the show.
Taking the tank for a walk
Our giant tank is actually surprisingly mobile, which is a good thing when working at BBC Elstree. The complex is old and access is very tight, there is no possibility of bringing our truck directly to the studio door, and the studio itself is off limits to heavy vehicles. This means we have to park up and off load the tank approximately 150 metres away from the studio door! The solution is to transfer the tank to machine skates, and push it (by hand) through the roadways and into it's final position in the studio. In spite of the tank weighing 3.5 tonnes when empty, it was designed to be moved in this fashion and the system works very well. One of the key design consideration when we built the tank was maneuverability, and there is more to it than just a set of wheels. The tank itself, due to it's size, is actually flexible. This is vital as it will flex when being wheeled around and the truck bed it is transported on will also flex during transit.
Over the years working at locations such as Elstree has pushed us to develop and improve upon the portability of much of our equipment. Now, even our fully functional swimming pool filter systems travel as a single self contained unit.
How have the tank and pools been used?
A League of Their Own water tank games are quite varied. The tank is often used as a pool to catch falling celebrities, but also as space for underwater games, contained within the tank. Several high profile celebrities have found themselves either dunked into, or swimming through the tank during the course of various games. Some particularly memorable moments are Jimmy Carr attempting to 'escape' a dunking (and naturally failing), Harry Styles was repeatedly dropped into the tank via a giant trapdoor above, and John Bishop once swam nose first into the side of the tank whilst impersonating a dolphin! Even the shows presenter, James Corden, found himself in the tank for one series.
Our mobile pools opened up an entirely new form of water game. The shallower, larger pools made swimming possible, which formed part of a 'School Sports Day' game. We later collaborated with Canning Conveyors for a series of games in which hapless celebrities would run, skip & hop along on a conveyor belt, ultimatley to slip up and be shot backwards (inelegantly) into our pool.
A special thanks here should go to Jack Whitehall. Jack has been soaked more times on a League of their Own than anyone else. Despite his protestations "Why is it always a water game"?