& Bullets

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Brize 2010 Reds 3

Channel 5 - The Battle of Britain

By psmiddy, Jul 10 2020 04:20AM

Last night Channel 5 finished a 3-part documentary on the Battle of Britain (which officially started 80 years ago today). It was hosted by Dan Snow and Kate Humble, and made excellent use of filming of the ‘Balbos’ at Duxford last year to give the impression of combat between throngs of Spitfires, Hurricanes and Me109s. The strength of the series was in unearthing some witnesses to, and participants in, the Battle, who have not been seen before.

The negatives? Tabloid-esque narration: Snow describing documents (such as combat reports and Operational Record Books) as “secret”, or “rarely seen” – no they are not, these are accessed multiple times a year in the National Archives. Humble had a rather shrieky “Oh my God” style of narration; for example when she took off from Duxford in a Spitfire “It’s so noisy”! No it isn’t. I have flown in the exact same airframe (PV202), and the only downside of flying in a Spitfire, is that you do not hear or enjoy the music of the Merlin’s exhausts. It is remarkably quiet – just a muffled roar of 1000hp at your command. Perhaps she forgot to turn on her noise cancelling headset? Or was just exaggerating for effect?

Kate Humble’s aviation pedigree was not mentioned. Her father, Bill Humble, was a notable test pilot at Hawker, and aided the development of the Typhoon and Fury.

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