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Lady trucker as a guest on the TV show "Inka!": Successful presentation with the new Mercedes-Benz Actros
- Lady truck driver Bianca Dold appears in the TV show "Inka!" to promote truck-driving as a profession
- Environmentally friendly and economical transport with the new Actros 1845 in Euro VI
Actually the almost 600 kilometres of her impending tour are purely a matter of routine for truck driver Bianca Dold. Her journey will be from Ulm to Berlin. She has already been there a few times, so no problem. But this time she is pretty excited as she climbs into her white Actros. Because this trip is not a normal assignment by her employer Schenker Deutschland AG - the destination is the TV station ZDF. Bianca has been invited to appear on the new afternoon talk show "Inka!", which ZDF has aired daily with presenter Inka Bause since 5 September. An attractive and petite young woman whose profession is driving a 40-tonner. Not something you see every day. That is also what intrigued TV editor Janine Bleker: "We discovered Bianca and her group of lady drivers on Facebook, and thought the idea was great. So we invited her on the show." The fact that Bianca Dold would be arriving with a complete semitrailer combination consisting of an almost 3 months old Actros 1845 StreamSpace and a brand-new curtainsider by Schmitz Cargobull, and would as always be accompanied by her pet dog Sissi, was even more welcome to the TV station.
But before she makes her appearance there is a customer assignment to be completed, as making the journey with no load is definitely not good for the environment. In the near of Potsdam an agricultural supply business is waiting for 7.5 tonnes of packaging material. Having arrived at the delivery destination, it turns out that the actual offloading point is a few kilometres further on. The rather narrow cobblestone track bordered only by sand and meadowland on both sides takes her off into the wilds of Brandenburg. "Yes, on occasion the unloading point can be quite a challenge." Bianca winks knowingly.
The Actros confidently takes to the slippery track, the dampers, ASR and ABS do their work, and the truck turns out to have good off-road capabilities as well. The semitrailer obediently hobbles along behind. Arriving at the large dairy farm out in the country, right at the end of the bumpy track, the pristine 40-tonne combination might as well be a spaceship. At least judging by the curious looks it is given by the cows. But after all, they cannot know that they are looking at the Euro VI version, a highly environmentally friendly vehicle. The farmworkers, on the other hand, are less curious about the truck than about the person who hops down from the cab – at least at first. Until Bianca deftly opens the curtain and begins to remove the aluminium side rails. She is relaxed about it: "Most customers have meanwhile got used to seeing a female driver turning up from time to time. After all, more and more women are discovering this profession and taking it up with great enthusiasm."
Bianca tells us how she came to be a professional trucker rather than a ballerina: "As a child I practised ballet, then I took up riding and competed in showjumping tournaments as a professional. That's how I came by my commercial vehicle driving licence, as I drove my own horse-box as soon as I was old enough." After a period of commercial training which did not really capture her interest, she decided to give way to her passion for trucks and applied for a job as a driver. "I come from the Black Forest region, where my father had a clock-making business and delivered his Black Forest clocks himself. So I came into contact with trucks at a very early age, and soon developed a passion for them," she explains, "so why not turn it into a profession? I have not regretted it so far." Incidentally, Bianca has always driven trucks from Mercedes-Benz, starting with the delivery trucks in the family business and then the horse-box, followed by the trucks operated by her employers so far.
She lowers the lift axle to make the combination a little more manoeuvrable, then off she goes into the busy city traffic of Berlin. The "fernsehwerft" production studio where "Inka!" is recorded is located in the Osthafen area in Friedrichshain. On arrival the semitrailer combination is assigned a parking space in an excellent location, right on the Spree river. A houseboat bobs on the water nearby, the location for a documentary soap.
Recording is to start next morning at eight o'clock. But first the blonde lady trucker must pay a visit to the make-up department. Not that she needs it, but for technical reasons the camera requires an over-healthy face colour. After the application of extra eye-liner, Bianca's blue eyes sparkle in competition with the illuminated Mercedes star. The cameraman installs a small Go-Pro cam in the cab, above the co-driver's window, and editorial assistant Janine explains that Bianca should move about in the cab and "act out" typical procedures. Open the stowage compartment, retrieve a pullover and put it on. Sit on the bed, pull out the refrigerator underneath, take out a yoghurt and eat it, work on the laptop, feed the female terrier Sissi who is occupying the co-driver's seat, and so on. Finally a few shots are taken with the large camera, and the scenes showing life in the truck are in the can. Now Bianca starts the engine, reverses the combination for two hundred metres, turns the corner and U-turns. On the signal "Go!" she drives up, sounds the horn, comes to a precise stop in front of the camera after a hand-signal and climbs down. The editor will use this sequence and the other material to compose three action footages to be shown during the programme.
After a short break and a change from working clothes into something more attractive, Bianca and Sissi are collected for a tour of the studio. Here the studio manager explains the procedure for the show, and presenter Inka Bause also makes an appearance to give the dog a hug and welcome her talk-show guest: "So you're the Bianca who drives a truck, wow, I think that's great!" Then it's off to make-up again, as the outside shots have messed her hair up a little. Meanwhile the studio audience have taken their seats and the recording begins with celebrity guest Ross Anthony. The singer has recorded a new CD, German pop-songs. He says he simply likes them, irrespective of any negative clichés attached to this musical genre. The second guest is the British author Adam Fletcher. He lives in Berlin and has written a bestseller about his affection for the Germans. Despite their typical virtues and faults. Next the Swiss linguistics professor Roland Ris joins the talk and clears up the misconception that cursing is a negative form of expression. Fletcher and Ris make room on the sofa for Germany's strongest man, the power trainer Patrik Baboumian. He is a vegan, and is studying philosophy. A far cry from "Meat gives you strength" and "Musclemen have no brains". So when Bianca joins the group as the last guest, the scene is already well set for dispelling prejudices: are all truck drivers ill-mannered and unfriendly? No, quite obviously not. Moreover, her truck shown moving across the studio screen behind the sofa is an efficient, environmentally friendly high-tech working tool with a full range of safety features. Inka Bause expresses her great respect for Bianca's choice of profession, and asks her questions about her daily routine, while Ross Anthony is impressed by the interior spaciousness of the Actros cab. When the final "Cut!" is sounded and the show is in the can, there is a brief photoshoot with all the participants.
Bianca is due to make the return journey next day, but of course not without taking on a load first. At seven a.m. she is due to pick up some construction scaffolding that needs to be taken south. The loading point is an enormous construction site directly on Kurfürstendamm - the entrance culminates in a blind alley and the space has been laid out for highly manoeuvrable tippers and concrete mixers. Wonderful. But the vehicle and driver nonetheless perform an impeccable 180-degree U-turn with milimetric precision. Open the curtain, remove the side rails, then the forklift arrives to deposit the first frame sections and scaffolding pipes onto the trailer. While Bianca starts to secure the load with straps, the Actros sways slightly each time the forklift adds another load – just like the houseboat next to which it was parked that first morning. "Yes, it's back to real life now," Bianca laughs.
Transmission date for "Inka!" with Bianca Dold and her Actros: 16 September 2013; 3.05 p.m. on ZDF