I was first captivated by Alton Towers as a nine-year-old boy, visiting with my father in the fifties. I stood at the top of Prospect Tower, looking through a telescope if I remember rightly, and just fell in love with this place. Today, my passion for the park and everything it stands for is no different.
Whenever I speak to guests or people in the local community, they too have their own personal memories of Alton Towers from their childhood or bringing their own family for the first time. It is these cherished memories that mean so much to all of my teams working at the resort and that’s what we are here for - to continue to rekindle those fond memories and to create exciting new ones for generations to come.
What happened in 2015 was the opposite of what we’re here for; the impossible had happened and on a business, as well as an emotional, level the whole resort felt the impact of the incident. Following this we believe the best way to reassure people is to reinvest in our products and for guests to come and have new and exciting experiences, and this year to ride our latest rollercoaster. So in 2017, we took a bold decision to let the cameras in for a behind-the-scenes documentary following the development and launch of our latest £16million attraction ‘Wicker Man’.
It’s the first time we have agreed to ‘access all areas’ filming at the park for over 20 years. The crew followed our every move over four months as we prepared for the 2018 season. It was an intense and action-packed time, yet we wanted people to be able to see the decisions we face and the lengths we go to when creating a new ride or attraction. At the core of the documentary is the profound importance of this latest development to the future of the business, the employees and the region.
The documentary also reflects that our guests continue to be at the heart of everything we do while recognising our employees who work incredibly hard to ensure we deliver the best possible experiences for families, thrill-seekers and future generations to enjoy and it is this passion and commitment that is helping to drive Alton Towers Resort forwards. I am very proud not only of the team who feature in the documentary, but also the tens if not hundreds of others behind the scenes who helped facilitate the filming and who have worked so hard to make the launch of Wicker Man such a success.
The documentary aired on Channel 4 on Thursday evening (August 23rd) and my hope is that it will reignite people’s passion for theme parks and conjure up fond childhood memories of Alton Towers, especially for those like me who have grown up with a love of the park. Since the cameras stopped rolling, ‘Wicker Man’ as a key investment has done its job and attracted more visitors back to the resort, boosting local and regional economy while providing new and exciting job opportunities.
Today, as I walk around the park and see ‘Wicker Man’ standing there rising out of the smoke, not only am I amazed but I can’t help think of the tremendous significance its arrival has already had on Alton Towers. At the heart of the ride is a giant six-storey ‘Wicker Man’ structure which presents itself not just physically but symbolically as a new beginning.
The laughter coming from the ride is the ultimate indicator for me that it’s done its job in fulfilling our brand promise of memorable days out, in addition to announcing its absolute innovative and creative product alignment to our great compendium of world class rollercoasters, underpinned by happy and delighted guests enjoying the adrenaline and fun of the theme park.
‘Inside Alton Towers’ was first shown on Channel 4 at 9pm on Thursday, 23rd August and is available to view on All 4 for a further four weeks https://www.channel4.com/programmes/inside-alton-towers