He won 66 grands prix and was runner-up for the world championship four times in his brief racing career. Sir Stirling Moss is a motor sport legend — so who better to narrate a British TV series on car racing?
Roary the Racing Car may not be the type of story Moss is used to telling, but the 78-year-old says he has had a lot of fun being the voice-over man for the new children’s show.
“My agent called me, about two years ago, I think it was, and asked if I wanted to narrate a kids’ show,” he says.
“At first I thought they (the kids) won’t even know who I am, they don’t know my name as the show is aimed at kids who are two to six years old. But he said their grandparents would hear (my) name and think, ‘Oh my gosh, I remember him’, and they would tell their grandkids who you are and you’ll get another batch of fans.”
The series is made in Britain by the creators of the hit series Bob the Builder and has already claimed the No. 1 spot on British TV. It follows the adventures of Roary (a cheeky little red racing car) who wants to prove himself as a serious racer. The series is set at the Silver Hatch racetrack (a take-off of Britain’s famous Brands Hatch circuit).
“It is the top-rating children’s show (in Britain) and we are hoping that they will have other series, which would be jolly good,” Moss says. “It’s made for the kids, but it’s quite fun for the adults too.”
Moss has been a racing commentator for many years and has also done a few narrating roles, but says this is special. “Making this was a complex thing. A tremendous amount of shots are taken. It is very clever. You have to spend many hours doing it.
“My great-grandniece and grandchildren watch it and they recognise my voice.”
The series combines stop-frame animation and CGI. Each 10-minute episode has a storyline, songs and humor.
The series was the brainchild of David Jennings, who worked at the Brands Hatch circuit. He got the idea in his living room while watching a GP with his then 18-month-old son Tom.
The show has 17 characters, but Roary, Maxi, Tin Top, Cici and Drifter are the main cars.
Maxi is an Italian formula one racing car and is the fastest, loudest and most expensive car on the circuit. He may have a lovely Italian accent, but his breeding means he is easily damaged and spends most of the time breaking down.
Tin Top is a sedan racer. As a big car, he is not the best suited to a tight racetrack like Silver Hatch and is a bit accident prone.
Cici is a little French stunt car who loves driving fast and taking it to the extreme, much to the surprise of the boys.
Then there is Drifter, who represents the latest craze sweeping the world and spends most of his time sideways around corners.
Big Chris is the gifted chief mechanic and a father figure to the cars. Often forgetful and disorganised, he is saved by his helper Marsha, who brings a female dimension to the blokey world of motor racing.
According to the show’s website, the series aims to teach children how to do the right thing, how to be positive and helpful to others, road safety, the environment, ways to share and communicate ideas, solving problems, being creative, the importance of doing exercise and healthy living.
Moss is not the only recognisable name in the show. Comedian Peter Kay is the voice of Big Chris.
Moss says since his retirement in 1962 he has maintained his connections to motor sport. He has done commentary on GPs and appeared, uncredited, in the original 1967 version of Casino Royale as a driver. He stopped racing after a near-fatal crash and says he suddenly found himself having to earn money elsewhere to support himself.
“I was 32 and a student. I had to start working for a living. With no specific skills, there are only two choices — one is a real-estate agent, the other is (a politician) — they are the only two options.” He built a career in real estate.
When Green Guide interviewed Moss he was in the US with his third wife Susan, undergoing a medical so the pair could gain their international racing licences to compete in coming rallies. Susan is Moss’ co-driver in these events. The couple will compete in various events this year, including the Tour de France in April and Targa Tasmania.
Moss says that he will continue to race historic GP cars and hopes to be part of a demonstration event at the Melbourne Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne next month.
Source: The Age