The Great Model Railway Challenge: BRM Meets…Kathy Millatt

09 September 2019
187-37088.jpg Great Model Railway Challenge
As the excitement for the new series builds, we catch up with returning judge, Kathy Millatt to find out more about what’s in store for the 2019 contestants.

As the excitement for the new series builds, we catch up with returning judge, Kathy Millatt to find out more about what’s in store for the 2019 contestants.

BRM: What's your favourite part of being on the show?

Kathy: I get to meet so many talented modellers.  I have learnt so much from watching and talking to the teams.  It’s been an amazing experience and has spurred me on to try a number of new techniques but also to improve in areas such as electrics and animations.  Each heat has a different theme and some of the interpretations are really inspirational.

BRM: Have you had a few 'wow' moments during this series?

Kathy: Yes, I can’t give anything away but there are some moments that literally make you jump!  The creativity is awe-inspiring and I have been so impressed with what the teams have achieved in such a short space of time.  They have gone out of their way to make eye-catching designs with a huge amount of great modelling and interesting animations that just draw you in.

BRM: Any disagreements with Steve on layouts you rated higher than he did?

Kathy: They have two judges to get two different viewpoints.  Steve and I have very different tastes in layouts but we both agree on what quality looks like.

BRM: What makes this year better than the first series?

Kathy: Channel 5 has listened to feedback and made the episodes longer and there are now 8 rather than 6.  This allows more time to show off the modelling. The teams themselves have looked at last year and learnt a lot of lessons about time management, animations and out of the box thinking.  It has resulted in so much more variety and I think you can see a step-change improvement over last year as the format is now known.  Teams also have an idea of what it takes to win and are going all out.

BRM: Do you think the longer shows will enable viewers to learn more about the contestants and showcase more modelling?

Kathy: Definitely, but I haven’t seen the final edit!  I know that there is always so much great footage of truly gifted modellers giving masterclasses in how they model and it will be great to see more of that on the show.  There are so many different ways to model the same thing, such as grass, and I think this show has a wealth of different techniques that will suit all skill levels.

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BRM: Are there any big surprises that you're looking forward to seeing on screen?

Kathy: I’m sworn to secrecy but any time James and Tim are on, their antics are worth watching.  Those guys are priceless.  The teams also have some surprises up their sleeves so well worth watching for those.  I can’t say anymore...

BRM: Do you think the show will help to drive more people to the hobby? Do you think it's important to help the hobby do this?

Kathy: We’ve already seen attendance up at shows and in shops following last year’s show so I hope that continues with this series.  It’s great to see the hobby I love getting such wide exposure and it really shows how much fun it can be.  There are so many hobbies available now that I think it’s important to put the hobby on mainstream TV.  The reason I got back into the hobby as I got older was remembering how much I enjoyed it as a child.  Even though it’s almost inevitable that children won’t stay in the hobby, if they remember the fun, they may come back to it later in life when they have a little spare time, space and money. 

As long as I’ve been modelling, people have been worrying that the hobby is dying off.  It’s certainly changing and we just need to introduce a new set of people to it.

BRM: Is there a good gender and age split among the contestants?

Kathy: There’s a great mix with a women’s team and a number of excellent younger modellers in there too.  Whilst the hobby is often portrayed as an older male hobby, it doesn’t have to be and I think the fun mix that we get on the GMRC shows that it can appeal to all ages regardless of gender.

The Great Model Railway Challenge, starts Friday 13th September, 8pm on Channel 5.

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