The Repair Shop: Owner emotional as he hears audio recording
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During Wednesday’s episode of The Repair Shop, Jay Blades welcomed guests and their family heirlooms into the workshop. On the BBC show, electronics expert Mark Stuckey was tasked with restoring a vintage recording machine back to its former glory. The machine had been silent for years and guest John Mears was pinning his hopes on Mark reviving it, so he could listen to his family’s voices.
Guest John Mears arrived at the workshop holding a reel-to-reel tape recording machine he was hoping Mark would be able to bring back to life.
John explained that when he was growing up, the now-silent recording machine was used to record his family’s joyful musical get-togethers.
John said he had wonderful memories of singing with his late father at family gatherings, and wanted the chance to hear those sounds once again.
However, as the machine he brought was malfunctioning, Mark was concerned there was a real risk of wiping the recordings completely from the reels.
It was a risk John was worried about taking, as the sounds would have been all he had left of his father’s voice, because he had no videos of him.
John explained: “It’s a reel-to-reel tape recorder. My dad used to sit in the corner of the room and record parties. We had this grand piano and all the family, they took turns in playing it.
“There were 14 or so brothers and sisters of my dad so there were big parties, but it wasn’t a big house. But it didn’t matter, they were good times.”
He went on to tell the experts there are three of four tapes with recordings of his dad on them.
After hearing how important the recorder was to John, the huge responsibility for reviving the machine and letting John hear his father’s voice fell on Mark and his repairing talents.
John explained: “There’s a fault with it, when you play it back it will wipe the tape out and there is a whistling sound to it. I’m afraid if I put it on, I would lose everything.
“I can’t hear my dad’s voice anymore, he passed away when I was quite young and I just wanted to hear his voice again.”
The emotional guest said if the team could fix the machine, he would love for his grandchildren to sit around it and listen to the recordings.
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Repair expert Mark soon took the machine into his workshop to assess what he needed to do to revive it – but it was no easy task.
He explained: “When you disassemble things you are not familiar with, it is like going into an unexploded bomb, as you are having to very tentatively move screws and see if it will start to shift and you know you’re going in the right direction, because if you don’t, then ‘boom!’ There are springs everywhere and mud over your face.”
Mark delicately continued working away to bring the machine back to its former glory and tested the sound was working correctly with a new tape.
Mark and Jay presented the refurbished recording machine to an anxious John later on in the episode.
They were able to play back the recordings of John’s family singing, which filled him with emotions.
A tearful John said: “That’s amazing, absolutely amazing. [It’s been] so long since I’ve heard that and I can remember that like it was yesterday. I’m so happy because I have nothing of dad, just what’s here.
“I’ve got no video recordings of him, nothing, but at least we can all hear his voice on here.”
The Repair Shop can be watched on BBC iPlayer now.
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