Elle thought her first filming trip was great, until the rain came down, followed by the lightening and thunder claps – great. Being the newbie in the team, she thought it was a bit of joke to send her – a production PA – out with the crew. Then she remembers she was working for W. Chump & Sons, a dream job in her eyes, working with the 3 men she watched as a teenager back in 2002 – she never thought she would work for them.
It was the start of the filming for season 3 of the Grand Tour. Jeremy was sent to the sunny French Alps, James was doing work back at the office and Richard was sent to Scotland. Seeing I was a PA, it wasn't cracked up to what it was supposed to be - it was a fancier name for a personal runner, alongside other roles in the team too. It had been only one week in when she was told she would be going with the film crew to Scotland for one of Richard's reviews of the new Porsche 911 coming out in early 2019.
The cold Autumn air was sharp in Elle's nose as she looked out the window of the crew Land Rover. The sweeping hills of the Scottish highlands stood proudly before them, she felt the Celtic connection in her blood, but only knowing that she had a distant grandfather and uncle from around these parts. She turned to look at the rest of the crew, only just remembering their names, but it was easier as 2 of them were called Jack and another 2 named Chris. The crew was only 9 strong, if you included Richard, Mr Wilman always does so she followed suit with the boss.
“Elle, we will set up if you can go find Hammond, then we can start.” Gavin poked her, he was the director and she got along with him after a day, which was a surprise to everyone – he was a hard act to follow.
“Ah, yes, we got here quicker than I thought. Hopefully, he will know his script. He normally does, right?” Elle shuffled the papers in her journal to the right day, looking at them as she was so nervous to speak to Richard for the first time. “I haven't spoken to him yet.”
“Oh, Okay. Richard is...well, a diva.... In a good way, I mean. He knows what he is doing, so just go with what he does, if he goes wrong, he knows. Apart from that, he's really nice. Fun guy for a drink too, especially after... Erm.” Gavin stopped there, but Elle knew what he was on about.
After the crash, Mindy swore that if he crashed again, that was it. Then he knocked himself out in Mozambique... A month later, the divorce was settled. Now he lived alone in his mock castle with his motors. It was a news story overnight as the paparazzi shot photos of removal vans leaving the house. He begged and pleaded, but it was no good...
Elle never would say anything, not even to ask if he was okay, it wasn't her place – it was her job and that is what she would be told. She pushed back her hair, the long fringe tickled her nose, but it would sit behind her ear to meet the shortcut at the back. She was never that feminine, she loved cars since she was a kid and having pretty nails and long blond hair never took on. She carried walking on in her boots till she met the 911 – sitting against the dark background of the grass hill.
“Lovely car, isn't it?” A voice made her jump, she turned to see a man the same height as her, large brown eyes and floppy chestnut hair to match the beard. Richard.
“Oh, sorry Mr Hammond, you scared me.. Yes, she is lovely.” Elle stood sharply, holding her papers in check, waiting for her orders. “Do you need any help with the script or ordering of today?”
“Oh no, I think I got all of it, got a copy of the script anyway in case. Sorry, I didn't catch your name?” Richard held out his hand, waiting for a shake, he came closer, she didn't notice as she zoned out – his eyes were something else.
“Erm, Elle Roberts. I saw you in passing as I left from my interview, but you were busy.” She shook his hand, it was soft yet you could feel the years of work in them, strong and nimble. No wonder the camera crew took so many close-ups of them. He smiled, that bright grin that could burn out a star.
“Nice to meet you Elle... Now, shall we crack on?”