VEROBEACHNEWSWEEKLY.COM Reality TV from across the sea: BBC America visits Vero Beach to film a segment of ‘Almost Royal’ By Katherine Joline Tucker The Newsweekly
It was just another beautiful Saturday morning at Vero’s South Beach for visitors and locals alike – at least until a small British-American film crew showed up to shoot a segment for the BBC America series called “Almost Royal.”
According to BBC America’s website, “Almost Royal” is a tale of two young British aristocrats traveling around the United States, interacting with real-life Americans. “Georgie (Ed Gamble) and Poppy Carlton (Amy Hoggart) are heirs to Caunty Manor, a large country estate in Norfolk, England, where they have enjoyed privileged lives as distant descendants of the British Royal Family. They have agreed to have a camera crew follow them on an unofficial royal tour of the USA.”
For the second season, “Georgie and Poppy return to continue their examination of American culture, exploring subjects like beauty, holidays, sport and law and order. Leaving no stone unturned, they will dig deep to push the boundaries of documentary journalism to show the world what America looks like from a British – almost royal – point of view.”
The fictional siblings, who have never lifted a hand to help themselves throughout their semi-royal lives, are also on a quest to learn what it means to be self-reliant, and at each stop they learn from real-life working Americans about their jobs. The show is filmed in documentary style, completely unscripted, with only minimal direction from the producers or director on the shoot.
The production crew, which over the course of two weeks traveled throughout the state of Florida filming segments of the show for the upcoming season, chose Vero Beach as one of their stops primarily because of its proximity to Miami, where the crew is to wrap up their production. Through the internet they learned of Vero Beach Lifeguard Association and contacted Erik Toomsoo about having lifeguards from the group show Georgie and Poppy how they protect lives at the shore.
“Basically, they emailed us and asked if we could help them out,” Toomsoo said. “I don’t know how they chose us, other than seeing us on the internet.”
Toomsoo asked lifeguards Tim Capra and Vincent Valentino if they would be willing to represent the lifeguards, and they agreed to volunteer. The two were outfitted with microphones and given basic directions on what to expect before “Georgie and Poppy” arrived at the beach dressed in guest lifeguard outfits. Capra and Valentino explained various aspects of their jobs to the ducal duo, from patrolling the beach to rescuing a swimmer caught in an undertow. Because of heavier than normal surf, the segment was confined to the beach.
“The guest appearance ties in perfectly with our mission of beach safety,” said Toomsoo, who started VBLA to promote lifeguarding and water safety in Vero Beach and the surrounding communities. Toomsoo said the non-profit organization was not compensated for their participation in the shoot, “but even though in a comedic setting the exposure will still be good.”
Most beachgoers were completely unaware of the scheduled stop. As the crew set up equipment and tested cameras, they watched from a respectful distance or went about their normal beach activities of sunbathing and body surfing.
In general, onlookers were pleased that a local beach was chosen by the show, although a little confused as to why. Producers were tight-lipped as to their motivation in choosing the location. But the isolation and lack of heavy beach traffic probably factored into their choice as it allowed the crew more freedom to do their jobs without interference.
“It’s a beautiful beach,” said full-time resident Cindy Conroy when she learned why the crew was there. “This will be good for Vero.”
The second season of “Almost Royal” will premiere next June on BBC America, and Toomsoo has been informed the segment featuring South Beach and VBLA will air sometime over the summer. He hopes to have a premiere party, including a red carpet for Capra and Valentino – the ‘stars’ of the show.
Source: Vero Beach Newsweekly – verobeachnewsweekly.com