Wakefield traffic officers and control room operators to feature in new documentary The Motorway

Traffic officers and control room operators from across Yorkshire are to feature in Channel 5’s latest documentary looking at the work of National Highways.

By Leanne Clarke
Thursday, 5th May 2022, 12:36 pm

The Motorway is the second series of the popular programme which goes behind the scenes at the company responsible for operating, maintaining and improving motorways and major A roads in England. 

Crews from production company Fearless Television spent three months filming with traffic officers, control room operators and maintenance crews across Yorkshire and the North West, focusing mainly on the M62 and adjoining motorways.

Among those filmed was Team manager Russ Asquith who can be seen helping to manage incidents during busy night shifts at the regional operations centre in Wakefield.  

Sign up to our daily Wakefield Express Today newsletter

Andy Binns (left) and Mark Meadows have been working together for more than five years. (Credit: Channel 5/Fearless Television)

Russ said: “The camera crew filmed us around the clock, dealing with everything from run-of-the-mill incidents such as breakdowns to more complex issues that needed all hands on deck to resolve them. 

“It was an exciting thing to be part of. There can be misconceptions about we do and this was a good chance to show the work traffic officers and control centre operators carry out.” 

Russ joined National Highways nine years ago, having already spent a lot of time on motorways in the long-distance coach driving industry.

He said: “I had been teaching driving regulations and hoped to get a job in tachograph enforcement. I had planned to step across from National Highways to what was then the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency.

Russ Asquith, Team Manager at National Highways’ regional operation centre in Wakefield. (Credit: National Highways)

"But after joining National Highways I didn’t want to move from my job.  No two days are ever the same. In a geographical area covering the borders of Scotland to South Yorkshire, you could be dealing with many different incidents in a day and you are always looking for the best ways to reach people on our motorways to help them.

"You never have time to be bored.” 

Also filmed were Traffic Officers Andy Binns and Mark Meadows who are based just off the A1(M) in South Yorkshire.

Andy, who has been a traffic officer for 15 years since leaving the haulage industry, said:  “It was a great experience to take part in the new series and to show how we respond when our customers need us.

Ally Maitland-Titterton can be seen in the new series in both his roles with National Highways, a Traffic Officer and Regional Operations Centre Operator . (Credit: National Highways)

"I hope it gives people watching at home a good understanding of the work we do, the challenges we face, the people we meet and how we go the extra mile to make sure they get home safe.”

One of National Highways’ youngest traffic officers, 24-year-old Ally Maitland-Titterton, who is also a regional operations centre operator, can be seen managing incidents and helping road users who have got into difficulty.

Ally, who was filmed alongside his colleague and friend Olly Langley, 23, said:

“It’s been fun. I really enjoyed the chance to work along with the camera crew. I got to work alongside one of my best friends as well.” 

Before joining National Highways aged 20, Ally had worked for BMW as well as working in a textile mill.  

He said: “I was interested in the job at National Highways as I loved working with vehicles. After joining I realised I genuinely enjoyed helping people.  

“I love my job. If somebody’s car has broken down on the motorway and they’re stuck, not knowing what to do, often all it takes is somebody coming along with a smile and support to get them home safely.” 

National Highways Customer Service Director Mel Clarke said:  “The new series of The Motorway shines a light on the sterling work that goes on around the clock to keep the strategic road network running. It shows the complexities of the incidents we deal with on an everyday basis and the challenges we face in keeping our customers on the move. 

“We hope people enjoy watching the eight new episodes and get an appreciation of just what goes into the day to day running of our motorways.” 

Executive Producer for Fearless Television Amanda Murray said: “It was great to get back on the road with National Highways and spend time with the brilliant staff that work such a busy bit of the network, across northern England.  

“The series is driven by great characters and great stories and we weren’t short of either. We hope the programmes offer a meaningful and insightful look at the vital work that goes into keeping our motorways moving.   

“We follow as patrol and control room staff deal with everything from high-speed collisions in treacherous weather and cars ablaze – to handling cows on the run and filling potholes in record time.    

“It’s the indefatigable efforts of this often-unseen workforce that take us into a world of the motorways that most of us know little about - and hopefully makes for an engaging, heart-warming and entertaining series.” 

The Motorway can be seen on Channel 5 every Monday from May 9 at 8pm and is also available on My5.