Last week Channel 4 released the new ‘Superhumans’ advert promoting the 2016 Paralympics. Guy Llewellyn, a horn player and Virgin Media employee, starred in the ad as part of the big band. Here, he tells us the impact music has had on his life and the best bits of taking part in the filming. #YesICan
I originally trained as a professional horn player at the Royal College of Music but, after a brief freelance career, I joined one of the pioneering cable companies based in Cambridge, and have been working as an access network planner for the best part of 23 years! Although I decided that a full-time career in music wasn’t for me, I still kept playing at a professional level.
Unfortunately, in 2010, I had a bad fall at home and broke my back. The fall left me paralysed from the waist down and meant I would use a wheelchair for the rest of my life.
It was important to remain positive
At the time, it seemed like both my career in music and at Virgin Media might be over. But, with the help of friends, family and Virgin Media, I was able to find my feet again and continue to work and play.
I cannot stress enough how important it was for me to remain positive and to motivate myself to keep going and beat the doubters.
This was a key message in the Channel 4 “We’re the Superhumans” advert in which I took part.
Being one of the ‘Superhumans’
I was absolutely astounded to be asked to take part in the film, and at one stage doubted whether I was going to be able to juggle all my commitments. I also have a wife and 4 daughters to think about! However, with support from Virgin Media and my family I was able to join the band.
I knew that this was going to be once in a lifetime opportunity, and one that that I will now never forget.
Nothing had prepared me for the complexity of this project and the sheer amount of tireless work by the dedicated crew. Not only was it a huge logistical challenge, (some of my fellow musicians had come from America and New Zealand), but the project also demanded meticulous attention to detail. This meant that the shoot days were pretty long with a fair bit of waiting around. Yet, despite the long hours, I found the whole process fascinating.
The ‘best bits’ from filming
Undoubtedly one of the highlights of doing the project for me, as a musician, was the opportunity to record the soundtrack at Abbey Road Studios. Not only that, we also got to record in Studio Two, where the Beatles recorded Sgt. Pepper and Pink Floyd recorded ‘Dark Side of the Moon’.
Of course, there was a lot of waiting around, but just to sit in the Abbey Road canteen and soak up the atmosphere was a truly awesome experience.
Most importantly, the team work I saw unfolding in front of me on the other side of the lens was nothing more than astonishing. We were also very well looked after and, despite some of the crew sometimes working 20 hour days, everyone kept smiling, and shared a real belief in what we were trying to achieve.
The release of the advert also came at an important time. For instance, it coincided nicely with the recent Charity Week and Virgin Media’s renewed commitment to recognising and improving the workplace for all of its employees.
“Watch the advert and let it speak for itself!”
Unfortunately, time and space constraints mean I cannot possibly describe all the amazing things that happened and all the amazing heroes I met. But if you watch the advert I am sure you will see just how important the work of Virgin Media and Scope is in making positive changes to people’s lives.
We would love to hear your thoughts on Channel 4’s Superhumans ad. What were your impressions or reactions? Tweet your response using the hashtag #Superhumans.