Merlo telehandler lends a hand in Channel 4’s Scrapheap Challenge

Channel 4’s ever-popular TV engineering game show – Scrapheap Challenge – will hit UK screens in 2007 for its ninth series, this time with help from a Merlo telehandler. 

The programme’s format is pretty straightforward – two teams have just ten hours to build madcap machines using just the junk that they can scavenge from a scrapheap. 

Series nine promises to be the biggest to date with sixteen one hour shows that’ll include two roadshows and a special transatlantic challenge.

Some of the themes dreamt up for this series include Earth Movers, Monster Trikes, Skid Pan Sumo and Dozers. Such big challenges meant big lumps of metal needed to be shifted from the scrapheap – many of which were too large for the teams to move using the quad bikes that are provided as part of the standard kit for every build.

Merlo UK stepped into the breach, loaning the production team a 4t P40.14K high-lift telehandler to deal with the heftiest loads. 

Producer Dominic Bowles said that the Merlo had been used so frequently that they’d invented a new verb – to ‘Merlo!’

The production company clocked up some 250 hours on the machine and apparently singled out the hydrostatic transmission and side-shifting facility for particular praise.

It was certainly earning its keep on the last day of the three month shooting schedule – two giant paddle ships were ‘Merlo’d’ into Hawley Lake near Yateley in Hampshire. 

The Ships had been built for a programme inspired by Brunel’s legendary paddle boats, the Great Western and Great Eastern.
Scrapheap Challenge had set it’s very own Transatlantic Challenge and The NERDS (a team of computer scientists from Boston, USA) and the Clagsters (steam enthusiasts from Dorset) were challenged to build Paddle Steamers to cross the ‘Scrapheap Atlantic’ from Bristol to New York and back (actually a return trip from a wooden model of the Clifton Suspension Bridge to a plastic Statue of Liberty and back!)

You’ll catch glimpses of the Merlo doing its stuff on screen when series nine begins airing later this year.