As reported on TOS last Friday, Chris Barrie has got a brand new documentary series starting this week. Britain’s Greatest Machines starts this Thursday, 4th June at 9pm on the National Geographic Channel (that’s Sky 526 and Virgin 230). The show is made by the lovely people at The Gamma Project, who have been excellent enough to send us lots of pictures of Chris Barrie’s face, presumably under the misapprehension that we’re some kind of respectable news outlet.
This should be well worth a watch – Gamma are the same company behind Chris previous Massive Engines and Machines series, which were most entertaining. It’s always a joy to watch someone speak passionately and authoritatively about something they obviously care about, especially when it’s someone as brilliant as Chris Barrie. And if nothing else, it’ll provide ample opportunity to glimpse Chris’s hilarious face, as evidenced below. Click for bigger.
The DeLorean one is the best, obviously. We’ve also been provided with some slightly different episode synopses to the ones TOS had, so we’ll provide them in order to feel smug:
Episode 1 – 1930s “The Road to War”
Chris Barrie drives an A4 Gresley the world’s fastest steam locomotive and takes a flight in a Dragon Rapide, one of the first airliners, as he seeks out the greatest British machines of the 1930’s. This was the dawn of mass production in Britain and an era of fantastic speed machines and in this episode Chris investigates how the great engineering feats of the decade helped Britain prepare for war.
Starring: A4 Gresley, De Havilland Dragon Rapide, Crusader III Tank, Sentinel Steam Lorry, Morris 8, Schneider Supermarine S6-B, and Spitfire.
Episode 2 – 1950s “A New World Order”
Chris Barrie takes a Routemaster bus down to his local skidpan and fires up a Vulcan bomber as he investigates the stories behind the greatest British machines of the 1950’s. This was an era in which Britain was determined to remain a world leader in engineering and a military power in a new world order dominated by the Cold War superpowers.
Starring: Routemaster Bus, Avro Vulcan Bomber B.2, Class 55 Deltic Diesel Locomotive, Lovell Telescope, De Havilland Comet, and Land Rover Mk 1.
Episode 3 – 1960s “Revolution by Design”
Chris Barrie relives the Monte Carlo rally at the wheel of a Mini Cooper and recreates Sir Ranulph Fiennes exploration of the Nile by hovercraft as he enjoys the greatest British machines of the 1960’s. This was a decade of revolutions and Britain’s best designers and engineers weren’t going to be left out.
Starring: Mini Minor Mk 1, Mini Cooper S, Post Office Tower, Leyland Super Comet, Transit Van Mk1, SR.N6 and Hoverhawk Hovercraft, and Jaguar E-Type Mk 1.
Episode 4 – 1980s “The Future has Landed”
Chris Barrie takes a ride in a “Back to the Future” DeLorean DMC and revisits the critical battles of the Falklands War as he seeks out the greatest British Machines of the 1980’s. This was the decade in which Britain bounced back from a decade of oil crises, strikes and the decline of traditional manufacturing industries, embracing computerisation, electronics and new materials.
Starring: DeLorean DMC-12, Westland Lynx HAS.3 Helicopter, Scimitar Tank, Sierra RS Cosworth, Sinclair C-5, ZX Spectrum, Lotus F1 and Lotus Esprit Turbo.
With a bit of luck, we should be hosting a few more lovely bits of BGM-related goodies in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned for that – as well as watching the show on Thursday evenings obviously.